Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans signed an order Tuesday that grants suspects in Chicago police custody to have 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
Judge Wants Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel To Testify About Police Code Of Silence
Happy Birthday, Barack Obama: Photos That Will Make You Miss Your Favorite President
1. Barack Gives Daughter Malia a KissSource:Getty 1 of 29
2. Michelle and Barack tell the kids a storySource:Getty 2 of 29
3. Michelle and Barack KissSource:Getty 3 of 29
4. Michelle and BarackSource:Getty 4 of 29
5. First Family PortraitSource:Getty 5 of 29
6. Two TermsSource:Getty 6 of 29
7. Michelle and Barack host a State DinnerSource:Getty 7 of 29
8. Barack Obama and Michelle ObamaSource:Getty 8 of 29
9. Sunday ChurchSource:Getty 9 of 29
10. Barack Obama and his daughter Malia ObamaSource:Getty 10 of 29
11. A Family AffairSource:Getty 11 of 29
12. Flashback To The Old DaysSource:Pete Souza 12 of 29
13. Happy Birthday!Source:Getty 13 of 29
14. Candidly AwesomeSource:Pete Souza 14 of 29
15. Historic First FamilySource:Getty 15 of 29
16. Ice Cream TreatSource:Getty 16 of 29
17. TV TimeSource:Pete Souza 17 of 29
18. Hawaii Trip!Source:Getty 18 of 29
19. Obama Loves Team USA & His WifeSource:Getty 19 of 29
20. Reading TimeSource:Pete Souza 20 of 29
21. Family SupportSource:Getty 21 of 29
22. Supporting MomSource:Pete Souza 22 of 29
23. Giving Back On MLK DaySource:Getty 23 of 29
24. Obamas Give Back To The CommunitySource:Getty 24 of 29
25. Always Supporting Small BusinessesSource:Getty 25 of 29
26. Obama SwaggerSource:Getty 26 of 29
27. Laughs & TurkeysSource:Getty 27 of 29
28. Christmas With The ObamasSource:Getty 28 of 29
29. 50th Anniversary Of March On SelmaSource:Pete Souza 29 of 29
Chicago Chief Judge Orders Free Access To Lawyers Early In Criminal Justice Process was originally published on newsone.com