Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans signed an order Tuesday that grants suspects in Chicago police custody free access to an attorney before their bail hearing, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The U.S. Constitution and Illinois law already grant suspects the right to an attorney before being charged. But the Cook County public defender said that principal is rarely enforced.
Criminal justice advocates say many arrested by the Chicago police don’t receive legal assistance until after their bail hearing in court. In many cases, they’ve already made incriminating statements to investigators at that point.
Evans’ order would allow suspects to speak with a lawyer much earlier.
“I want to ensure that constitutional rights are protected from the earliest point of contact with the criminal justice system,” Evans said in a statement. “The concept of ‘justice’ demands that we take this step to strengthen an individual’s rights and the public’s confidence in the system.”
First Defense Legal Aid, a nonprofit advocacy organization, discovered through a public records request that less than 1 percent of people arrested by the Chicago police were able to consult with an attorney at the police station. And only two out of 1,000 juveniles had an attorney during questioning.
Chicago’s criminal justice system has a history of wrongful convictions. Advocates hope that Evans’ order will prevent future cases.
In response to the order, the Chicago Police Department agreed to post signs for free legal services but did not comment on granting suspects the opportunity to call and meet with an attorney, the Tribune said.
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune
Good 'Ol Days: Barack Obama Was Nominated For President By The DNC 11 Years Ago
1. Barack Gives Daughter Malia a KissSource:Getty 1 of 14
2. Michelle and Barack tell the kids a storySource:Getty 2 of 14
3. Michelle and Barack KissSource:Getty 3 of 14
4. Michelle and BarackSource:Getty 4 of 14
5. Two TermsSource:Getty 5 of 14
6. Michelle and Barack Host a State DinnerSource:Getty 6 of 14
7. Barack Obama and Michelle ObamaSource:Getty 7 of 14
8. Flashback To The Old DaysSource:Pete Souza 8 of 14
9. Candidly AwesomeSource:Pete Souza 9 of 14
10. TV TimeSource:Pete Souza 10 of 14
11. Reading TimeSource:Pete Souza 11 of 14
12. Supporting MomSource:Pete Souza 12 of 14
13. 50th Anniversary Of March On SelmaSource:Pete Souza 13 of 14
14 of 14
"The future rewards those who press on. I don't have time to feel sorry for myself. I don't have time to complain. I'm going to press on."— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) February 18, 2019
-- President Barack Obama
Happy #PresidentsDay, Mr. President! We ❤️ you!@BarackObama pic.twitter.com/xhQEb4OG1U
Chicago Chief Judge Orders Free Access To Lawyers Early In Criminal Justice Process was originally published on newsone.com