* Center Square…
The Illinois Department of Human Services is restrained from relying on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 executive orders limiting transfers from county jails inmates deemed unfit for trial.
When a court orders a criminal defendant unfit for trial, state law requires the detainees to be transferred to state custody for a fitness evaluation within 20 days. That has not been done on time, in part because of monthly executive orders the governor first issued and modified in April 2020.
Six sheriffs from Sangamon, Knox, Madison, Rock Island, Macon and McLean counties sued DHS over the delays. A Sangamon County judge Thursday issued a Temporary Restraining Order, putting the sheriffs and DHS in the same position they were before the pandemic, which requires the state to follow the law. […]
Kaitschuk said despite the court’s temporary restraining order blocking the governor’s executive order, sheriffs will still have to file local petitions with the court to transfer inmates if the state doesn’t act.
“It clearly was a win as it relates to the executive order, it’s a win overall that they are not allowed to violate the law because of the executive order and that they need to try to find ways to get these people moving,” Kaitschuk said. “But, in order to finally get them to move it may still be an unresolved issue at this point in time.”
Tharp agreed with Campbell and the sheriffs, saying that the state did not have discretion to go beyond the limits of the 20-day policy in terms of determining where the inmates should go. She said that if the state had unlimited power over where an inmate is placed, DHS could refuse to allow anyone unfit into their facilities.
“The Court finds that DHS has a mandatory duty to place unfit defendants in a DHS treatment facility within 20 days of a court order for treatment,” Tharp said. […]
IDHS, being represented in court by Assistant Attorneys General Laura Bautista and Maria Gray, asked Tharp for a stay of the order pending appeal; however, it was not granted, as it was possible for the Fourth District Appellate Court to provide such an order in the future. The agency plans to appeal the decision to the higher court.
The plaintiffs intend to file a motion for expedited discovery in the case, stating that the matter of inmates remaining in the county jails was an urgent one. The sides will meet at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 25 for a status hearing on the matter.
* Meanwhile, here’s the Sun-Times…
Dr. Sameer Vohra, who officially took his post as director of the Illinois Department of Public Health on Monday after Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced his appointment last month, said the agency will face those challenges with “one overarching and all-encompassing goal: to prevent and protect the public from disease and injury.”
“We are living in a moment where it is just hard to feel protected,” Vohra said during his first public appearance at a South Side news conference alongside the governor. “We are two and a half years since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic, and although we are learning to live with the virus, my heart continues to mourn and grieve for the families of the 34,388 Illinoisans we have lost to this terrible disease.
“Beyond other emerging illnesses like monkeypox, we are challenged with an epidemic of gun violence, a mental health crisis and a growing national threat to the protection of reproductive rights,” said Vohra, who’s the founding chair of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine’s Department of Population Science and Policy. “It’s impossible not to feel the weight of these challenges.” […]
Vohra takes over as COVID hospitalizations have risen across Illinois to the highest levels seen in more than five months
The paper keeps hyping allegedly rising hospitalizations without quoting any experts who say that it’s a serious problem. In reality, hospitalizations have barely budged for weeks and might now be showing possible signs of decline…
For context, Illinois hit a high of 7,380 hospitalizations in early January. The numbers is the numbers.