JACK CAREY SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE APPROACHES

Brothers and Sisters, do you know a hard working law student who would be interested in winning a $2000 scholarship?  If you do, please direct them to our website and the Scholarship tab on the left hand side.  There, they can find information about the scholarship available to law students who clerk in our office.  The application is online and can be sent via email.   The deadline for the summer scholarship is April 1, 2008.

And don’t forget to mark 9/3/08 in your calenders for the next fundraiser for the scholarship – a Cubs night game with special pre-party!

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SAVE THE DATE: 9/3/08

The Jack Carey Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce the next fundraiser.  Cubs v. Houston, September 3, 2008, Wrigley Field.  More information on tickets and exclusive pre-game festivities when they become available.  Mark your calenders!

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DNA Database Evidence at Trial

As a reminder, it is reversible error in a DNA case for the judge to permit the prosecution, over the objection of the defense, to introduce any evidence that the defendant’s DNA profile was in a DNA database. People v. Jackson, 865 N.E.2d 195 (1st Dist. 2007).  This situation comes up mostly in cold-hit cases, where the prosecution seeks to inform the jury that a database hit to the defendant’s profile occurred.  According to the First District Appellate Court, it is error to admit reference to the database.

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Management’s Seniority List – Please Check for Accuracy

Recently, we posted the seniority list as known by AFSCME Council 31 in Springfield.  Many of you reviewed it and then sent correspondence indicating any errors you noticed.  Management responded by saying that they have their own list and we have now uploaded it for your review.  Please take a look at it and as we said before, send a memo to personnel if there is a mistake.  Then we will send the corrections to Springfield and hopefully arrive at a more accurate list.

Click Management’s Seniority List 022508 to see a pdf version of this list.

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Cook County Board Finally Gets it Done

I think we can all relax now that the budget passed.  Thanks to all the members and their phone calls to their commissioners, the Cook Count Board voted 9-8 to increase the sales tax by 1% and to also give the Bureau of Health Services to an independent board for management for the next three years.  The vote on the actual budget was 10-7. The compromise which led to the deal on the final day was months in the making and appears to have been spearheaded by former public defender and commissioner Larry Suffredin.  Commissioner Suffredin advocated for an independent body to manage the hospital system but many felt  that was an issue that could be put off into the future.  His insistence on this change and the President’s need for another vote for the tax increase is what led to the compromise.  Now we have revenue and reform. 

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Union Sponsored Reception Follows MCLE on 3/7/08

As the Local did for members with last names from A-M in September of 2007, it will host a two hour cocktail reception following the second day of the mandatory MCLE at McCormick Place for members with last names N-Z.

All members at the seminar will receive two drink tickets which can be redeemed for the drink of their choice: beer, wine, pop , water and mixed drinks.    The bartenders will also accept cash if you run out of tickets.

*  Room E450 (one floor up from where the main seminar room.)

*  March 7, 2008 5pm-7pm

Please drink responsibly.

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UPDATED SENIORITY LIST ONLINE

The local has uploaded a new seniority list that it received from Council 31 in Springfield last month.  Please take a look at it.  If you believe there is an error, please send an explanatory memo to Nik-ki Whitingham, who is now the personnel director, and don’t forget to forward a copy to the union.

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Only A Week Left To Solve the County’s Budget Mess

By law, the county needs to pass its budget ordinance by the 29th of February and as we have seen in recent days, they are still a vote shy of getting additonal revenue through a tax increase.Efforts were made by your local leadership to get a meeting with the Editorial Board of the Chicago Tribune so we could explain to them the dire straits our office is in — but the requests apparently fell on deaf ears at the ivory tower on Michigan Avenue.Brothers and sisters, you know that things today are more expensive then they were a few years ago whether it be your mortgage payment, the cost of a gallon of gasoline, or a gallon of milk in your fridge.  In a Sun Times article by Cheryl Jackson today, it was reported that from 12/06 to 12/07 the cost of milk went up 22% and eggs 32.6%. Yet some people (like the folks at the civic federation) just don’t understand why a county that ran just fine in 1998 dollars can’t do so ten years later.True, there is some waste in County government.  When a  hospital system fails to pursue federal reimbursement for care and treatment of patients, the system begins to fail itself.   Everyone knows of the tens of millions of dollars the hospital system has lost because of incompetence in billing.  We lost anywhere between $40 million and $120 mililon from inept billing practices, according to a report issued last September by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.  That report went on to predict that cuts in Medicare funding will total more than $500 million over the next five years.So what do we need?  We need two things.  First, we need a modest tax increase.  If 1.25% is too much maybe it’s a good idea to try something a bit less.  But commissioners who are categorically opposed to any new taxes need to face the reality that more revenue is not just a want, but a need.  Secondly, we need to take the Cook County Bureau of Health Services away from the politicians and into the hands of a competent and professional Board of Trustees.  This was exactly what was recommended in another report commissioned by the County. Those two things. increasing revenue and reforming the hospital system, are what you should ask your commissioner to do.  Who is your commissioner? And which district do you live in?  Just click and find out.  And then make the phone call.  Leave a message if they aren’t in.  Real revenue and real reform.  By law, it’s what this county needs.

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A Warm Welcome To Our New Brothers and Sisters

The following attorneys recently began employment with our office as assistant public defenders.  Each has signed a card to become a full member of the union.  Please give them a warm welcome. They are:

CHRISTOPHER J. NOLAN

JENNY E.M. NILSSON

WALTER JOSEPH PAZERA

JENNIFER LYN VAUGHN

JONATHAN SINGH BEDI

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Budget Battle Still Unclear

Here is the latest talk on the county budget as reported in the Tribune.

There is still no clear answer on whether revenue increases or budget cuts will win out.  So we continue to press the Public Defender message with elected officials and others.  The Union has spoken with key County Commissioners and others in an attempt to get our message out that any further cuts to this Office cannot be absorbed. 

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