TRO Enjoins President of Cook County Board From Removing Public Defender

Judge Riley entered an order enjoining the President of the Cook County Board from proceeding with a hearing to remove the Public Defender.  The TRO was granted after Ed Burnette was allowed to intervene in the pending litigation in the Chancery Division where the litigation seeks declaratory relief as to the office’s independence from political influences in staffing by virtue of the public defender statute.  As a consequence, please do not attend the previously scheduled hearing before the County Board which was going to be held on Wednesday, May 7, 2008.  A hearing on whether the TRO will become a permanent injunction is set for 2 pm on May 9th, 2008 before Judge Riley.


************TRO was reversed on appeal.  Please see story in the In the News Section **********

Posted in In The News, President's Message | Comments closed

First Defense Legal Aid Fundraiser


Cordially invites you to join us
in honoring our
2008 First Defender

Clinical Associate Professor of Law
Northwestern University School of Law
MacArthur Justice Center

Thursday, May 29, 2008
generously hosted by
Jenner & Block LLC
330 North Wabash Avenue
40 South Lounge
Chicago, Illinois
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be served

Sponsorship Levels
$5,000 • Platinum
$3,000 • Gold
$1,000 • Silver
$ 500 • Bronze
$ 250 • Supporter
Individual Donation
Student / Public Interest Donation

Do not hesitate to pass along this invitation to other supporters!

Please make checks payable to “First Defense Legal Aid” and send to:

First Defense Legal Aid | 6400 South Kedzie Ave.| Chicago, IL 60629 (773) 434-4162 | Email:

Or go to our website and donate using your credit/debit card:

About First Defense Legal Aid

First Defense Legal Aid (“FDLA”) is an innovative program that protects civil rights by offering free 24-hour legal representation and advice to any individual taken into Chicago Police Department custody. The Program’s services cover the initial and most critical stage of police detention: immediately after arrest until the time when a public defender has been assigned by the court system. Volunteers are trained to handle emergency calls by determining the nature of the call and whether a station visit is necessary to represent the individual in police custody. If a station visit is necessary, FDLA volunteers will interview the arrestee, inform the arrestee of his/her constitutional rights, provide the arrestee with bond information, and serve as a link between the arrestee and his/her family.

Our History

First Defense Legal Aid began in 1995, as a program of the Chicago Commons Association. It was originally named the “Police Custody Hotline Program”, but the name was quickly changed to First Defense Legal Aid at the request of community residents. FDLA became an independent corporation in 2002, and a 501(c)(3) organization in 2003.

Board of Directors                  Advisory Board                      Honorary Board

Sulaiman M. Qazi                       Jeff Brown                                Locke Bowman

Chairman                                  Patricia Smith                            Carol A. Brook

Michael Wilson              Richard Dvorak              Edwin A. Brunette

Treasurer                                   Craig Futterman             Kenneth L. Cunniff

Carolyn Gold Aberman    Scott Levy                                 John Fitzgerald

Secretary                                   John Lyke                                 Richard S. Kling

                                                Dev Parikh                                Andrea D. Lyon

Harriet McCullough                    Zenaida Alonzo               Terence F. MacCarthy

Sean P. MacCarthy                     Shaena Fazal                              R. Eugene Pincham

Scott T. Kamin              Theodore Woerthwein    Randolph N. Stone

Jonathan Peck                Wayne Novak                            Scott Turow

Kristine Neal                              Michael Finn

Jessica Hunter                Tony Hill

Nikol M. Miller                           Elfreda Dockery


John Hayes

Executive Director

Julia Sportolari

Development Director

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Burnette Asks Court to Stay May 7th Hearing

Cook County Public Defender Ed Burnette is going to court on Friday to get a TRO against the County Board.  Here is a story from the Daily Herald.  Or read the story from the Daily Law Bulletin.  Or the story in the Sun Times by Steve Patterson.

Posted in In The News | Comments closed

May 7th County Board Meeting

To those who attended our general membership meeting this evening, this will provide a recap.  To those who missed it, stop reading unless you are a local member.  At the meeting, your entire executive board and staff representative from Council 31 were on hand to provide you with updates on the litigation in Burnette v. Stroger,  our position on the pending resolution and a presentation from our People chair Joe Gump (RM) on the MVP program.  Thanks to Arlene Floren and Jenny Nilsson for arranging the refreshments.After an engaging discussion ( I only wished Pragmatist and Justice Cardozo were in attendance), members wanted immediate access to information on contacting their commissioners so they can call, write or talk to them on the 7th or before.  We’re talking about commissioners Tony Periaca, Pete Silvestri, Gregg Gosslin, William Beavers, Elizabeth Ann Doody Gorman,  Joan Murphy, Robert Steele and Deborah Sims who introduced the proposed resolution.  (Some of whom may have second thoughts by now).  So for those who asked and those of you who don’ t know which district you live in,  click map to find out. Need the number for your commissioner? Click here.  Don’t forget to fill out a time off request form so you can attend the hearing which is scheduled to begin at 10a.m. Forgot what this was all about?  Click this. Thanks for coming out to the general membership meeting and see you on the 7th.

Posted in President's Message | Comments closed


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Union Golf Outing Rescheduled 7/24/08

Local 3315 will be having its annual golf outing on July 24, 2008 at Eaglewood in Itasca.   This was the place where we held our outing last year and were having an excellent time — until of course the tornado laden weather hit the area. This year we will be hoping for better weather.  The outing includes 18 holes of golf with a cart, dinner, drinks and a myriad of door prizes.  Our annual chair is Brother George Grezeca of the Homicide Task Force.   More details about tee times and costs for guests as these details become available.  Please mark your calendars (or correct them) for this annual gathering of members on the links.

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Hearing on Resolution to be Held May 7, 2008

The County Board will address the proposed resolution to remove the Public Defender on Wednesday, May 7, 2008.   All members are encouraged to take time off to attend the hearing, which will probably be scheduled for 10 am, but when it will actually be heard is another matter.  The official agenda for the meeting is not yet out but can be found a few days before the hearing on the County website.  Please do not confuse the County Board’s hearing with the hearing that will take place two days earlier.  That is the hearing before Judge Riley of the Chancery Division in the case of Burnette v. Stroger.  Please come out and show your support for fairness.

Posted in President's Message | Comments closed

Theodore Thomas wins Summer 2008 Jack Carey Scholarship

The Jack Carey Memorial Scholarship committee voted on April 8th to award the Summer 2008 Jack Carey Memorial Scholarship to Theodore Thomas.  Theodore is currently a second year student at DePaul Law School and has been clerking for Gina Pimonte and Julie Koehler of the Murder Task Force.Theodore has participated in several jury trials, numerous investigations, and has helped work on the briefs in the Degorski case.  Theodore plans on continuing his work with the attorneys from the Task Force this summer.The $2000 scholarship is awarded three times a year to law students who clerk at our office and Theodore is the 17th scholarship winner.  The deadline for the Fall/Winter scholarship is July 1, 2008 and the application is available on this website under the Scholarship tab. 

Posted in In The News | Comments closed

Center Console of a Vehicle Qualifies as a Case for Aggravated UUW Statute Exception

Per People v Diggins, 2008 Ill App. LEXIS 195, the Third District Appellate Court ruled on March 11, 2008, that  the center console of a vehicle constitutes a case for the “enclosed in a case exception” to the Aggravated UUW statute. “ Allowing drivers to hide weapons anywhere in the vehicle, so long as the case is portable, while prohibiting the storage of such weapon in a glove box or center console {is} absurd, illogical and unjust.” In Diggins there was a factual dispute as to whether the console was locked or open and the court thus remanded for a new trial rather than reversing the conviction outright.  


Posted in Hot Legal Topics | Comments closed

Constitutionality of Consecutive Sentences at Issue Again

As a result of the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in People v. Wagener, 196 Ill.2d 269, 752 N.E.2d 430 (2001) we thought the attempt to apply Apprendi v New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000) to consecutive sentences was dead. But maybe not!!!  On March 17, 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Oregon v. Ice,  2008 U.S. LEXIS 2387 to decide the issue of whether the Sixth Amendment requires that facts (other than prior convictions) necessary to imposing consecutive sentences be found by the jury or admitted by the defendant. Members involved in cases involving consecutive sentencing situations should raise the issue and check out the Oregon Supreme Court’s decision on which cert was granted at State v Ice, 2007 Ore. LEXIS 815 (2007).





Posted in Hot Legal Topics | Comments closed
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