Buffalo Grove business representatives got an insider’s perspective on Lake County’s judicial system this month when Judge Daniel Shanes spoke at a luncheon.
Lake County employs 13 circuit court judges and 24 associate judges, Shanes said. In addition to the main courthouse in Waukegan, the system includes a juvenile court and jail and three traffic court branches.
Lake County includes specialized courts for drug offenders and mental health cases, and the economy also has created a demand in another area.
“We have three judges hearing mortgage foreclosures now. We didn’t need to do that three years ago,” Shanes said.
Shanes noted that television portrayals of courts don’t show the behind-the-scenes considerations of the judicial system. In Lake County, those include cooks and nutritionists dedicated to the needs of juvenile offenders, a veterans’ program for offenders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, language interpreters and child care for youths whose parents have court obligations.
Shanes also fielded questions from the audience. One person asked why gangs are permitted to exist.
“I am sometimes reminded that it is not illegal to belong to a gang. It is illegal to commit gang activity,” Shanes said.
Another person wondered what can be done to cut costs in the judicial system. Taxpayers fund the majority of the county’s $22 million annual budget, Shanes said.
“Technology will reduce the cost of doing business,” he said.
“We can move things along,” he added. “I ask lawyers all the time, ‘When will we have a meaningful hearing on this case?’ Instead of hearing endless status dates, I want to know, ‘When will it be fruitful to have them back?’ ”
Shanes, a third-generation lawyer, is by Buffalo Grove Village President Jeff Braiman, who is seeking election to the . The district includes parts of Buffalo Grove, Long Grove, Vernon Hills, Libertyville, Mundelein, Grayslake, Hawthorne Woods Deer Park and Kildeer.