The hearing on the proposed resolution to remove Ed Burnette has been cancelled. Upon information and belief, attorneys representing Ed Burnette have reached an agreement with attorneys for President Todd Stroger to resolve their differences in court through the pending litigation in Burnette v. Stroger.NO HEARING ON THE RESOLUTION WILL BE HEARD ON 5/20/08 SO DO NOT ATTEND THE COUNTY BOARD MEETING
As printed in the May 17, 2008 edition of the Daily Herald:
Let public in on public defender hearing
Few people, even the most ardent advocates of open government, would argue that personnel evaluations ought generally to be conducted in open public meetings. But there are times …Take the case of Cook County Public Defender Ed Burnette. Here we have a civil servant whose job is specifically designed to be independent of politics facing the possibility of being fired for purely political reasons.It won’t surprise you to learn who is trying to fire him in such circumstances. That would be Cook County Board President Todd Stroger. Nor, sadly, will the specifics of Burnette’s case surprise anyone remotely familiar with the brazen cynicism of Cook County government. Burnette’s job is on the line because he challenged Stroger at least twice. First by filing suit to assert his independence when the Cook County board president ordered him to trim the size of his staff, then by objecting when Stroger placed on Burnette’s payroll an employee who did no work for the public defender and was answerable only to the county board president.For such determination, Burnette was labeled insubordinate and Stroger set a hearing for his firing. The hearing is required because state law pointedly distinguishes the public defender position from every other administrative role in the county. The public defender’s office exists to ensure justice for some of society’s most vulnerable individuals — the indigent accused of crimes but lacking the means to defend themselves. Such a function, the law wisely realizes, must be protected against the whims of fickle politics, and the person leading it cannot be constantly answering to political rather than legal demands.Thus, the job is established as a fixed six-year appointment, and any attempt to remove the public defender requires a formal hearing. If a political powerbroker aiming to find a new department in which to stash patronage workers wants to remove an impediment, he at least has to show a legitimate job-based cause.Does Stroger have job-based justification here? Well, Burnette certainly has defied his authority. But the question, as Burnette’s suit seeks to clarify, is what authority the public defender has defied.The answer to that question ought to be left to the courts. Curiously, Stroger seems unable to wait that long. Burnette has only a year remaining on his appointment, so the county board president will be able to name whatever puppet he likes soon enough, as long as the person isn’t so clearly incompetent that even the board members in Stroger’s pocket can’t vote to confirm.Why then is Burnette’s dismissal so urgent? What offense has he committed that justifies challenging the critical independence built into the nature of his office? Burnette himself has asked these questions and wants the county board to let them be presented on the public stage. We do, too.This is not a case of violating an employee’s privacy. It’s a case either of the county board president’s simple assertion of power or of the public defender’s inability to accomplish the job he’s been doing for five years. The public should get a free and open opportunity to watch the proceeding and judge for itself.
After arresting the driver of a car the police may search that car….or maybe not. In Arizona v Grant, 2007 Ariz. LEXIS 73 the usually pro state Arizona Supreme Court said the following.”This case requires us to determine whether the search incident to arrest exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement permits the warrantless search of an arrestee’s car when the scene is secure and the arrestee is handcuffed, seated in the back of a patrol car, and under the supervision of a police officer. We hold that in such circumstances, a warrantless search is not justified.”Not surprisingly, the U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiori at 2008 U. S. LEXIS 2022. Until such time as the U.S. Supreme Court explains how the Arizona court’s clear reasoning is in error, members should raise this issue in car search cases.
The First District Appellate Court reversed last week’s TRO entered by Judge Riley. The County has indicated it will have a hearing on the Removal Resolution on the 20th of May. The story, as reported in the Sun Times by Steve Patterson can be read by clicking here. On a related note, the County Board defeated a proposal by Claypool, Quigley and Suffredin to have a hearing which accords due process. Take a look yourself at item 8.
FIRST DEFENSE LEGAL AID
Cordially invites you to join us
in honoring our
2008 First Defender
Clinical Associate Professor of Law
Northwestern University School of Law
Director, MacArthur Justice Center
Thursday, May 29, 2008
generously hosted by
Jenner & Block LLC
330 North Wabash Avenue
40 South Lounge
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be served
$5,000 • Platinum
$3,000 • Gold
$1,000 • Silver
$ 500 • Bronze
$ 250 • Supporter
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: email@example.com
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.
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
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.