Cook County Circuit Judge Timothy C. Evans on Thursday won election to a seventh term as the court’s chief judge.
Evans received 143 votes in a closed-door meeting of circuit judges at the Daley Center, defeating his challenger, Circuit Judge Lorna E. Propes.
“I look forward to working with our colleagues for another three years to try and implement some of the plans that we have for restorative justice and for making certain that our systems embrace healing more than punishment,” Evans told reporters gathered at the courthouse after the vote.
Evans has previously said he plans to expand Restorative Justice Community Court to more neighborhoods, get better courthouse technology and provide cognitive behavioral therapy in Juvenile Court.
Propes, who serves in the Law Division, received 102 votes in support of her bid.
She said she was disappointed in the result but respected her colleagues’ decisions.
“Our positions could not have been more different — it was very clear what each of us stood for, and our colleagues made a choice,” she said. “I respect that choice. I look forward to returning to the job I love, which is being a judge in a courtroom.”
Thursday marked Evans’ 18th anniversary in the position. He’s the longest-serving chief judge since the court system was unified in 1964.
Evans joined the bench in 1992 following a 17-year stint in the Chicago City Council.
Propes announced her candidacy in May, highlighting the need for change in the court’s leadership and criticizing the judiciary’s exposure to special interest groups during the 2018 election cycle.
She stressed the importance of term limits and proposed a new court rule that would limit any future chief judge to no more than two three-year terms.
While Evans said he planned to meet with Propes, listen to her suggestions and work alongside her going forward, there were still issues they differed on.
He said he did not believe term limits were necessary and his fellow circuit judge colleagues shared their thoughts on that position by the way they voted.
“I’ve always thought that term limits are already present with elections, that’s what elections are all about,” Evans said. “My view of term limits in general is that you remove from the public or whoever is casting the vote an opportunity for a candidate that they are interested in to be heard.”
Evans pointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which does not have term limits, and said that’s because “they value experience, tenacity and capability.”
“Why would anyone want to see that opportunity removed by an artificial prospect like term limits,” Evans said, recognizing term limits can be valuable in some instances.