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Stakeholder Trip and Continuing Meetings on Bond Court Reform Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court issued a release describing the recent two-day trip, arranged by the Illinois Supreme Court, for the heads of the relevant Cook County agencies to review and glean the benefits of Washington D.C.’s and Montgomery County, Maryland’s pretrial systems. This trip follows the… Continue Reading

Like other courts across the nation, Cook County is seeing increasing numbers of self-represented parties in the courts. At the same time that litigants are finding it harder to pay for legal services, Cook County has a projected budget deficit of $152 million for 2014, which has resulted in a reduction in the number of… Continue Reading

The Domestic Relations Division of the Cook County Court is carefully examining ways to make some significant changes which will improve the level of service for everyone needing to establish parentage of a child, get child support for a child or come to a shared agreement for parenting.  Chicago Appleseed has been involved in the… Continue Reading

“Judge Sullivan, Take Note”, an editorial in the Chicago Tribune Monday, June 9th, reminds us that the courtrooms do not belong to the judges, they belong to the people. The editorial references two recent steps by courts administrators to make Illinois’ courts more open and transparent: the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision to allow cameras in… Continue Reading

Submitted by Aswan Taylor, Chicago Appleseed Intern Last year, a Chicago Appleseed investigation found that Cook County courts were routinely denying defendants a public defense, or ordering reimbursement for public defenders’ services, simply because the defendant had posted bond. As noted in May, 2013, the practice essentially forces defendants to choose between pre-trial release and… Continue Reading

  HB 2897, which establishes a pilot drug field-testing program for Cook County in order to shorten the length of time drug defendants are held in jail before their preliminary hearings, has just passed the Illinois Senate unanimously, 55-0, and is heading to the House for concurrence. The bill was developed based off of a… Continue Reading

Chicago Appleseed advocates for research-driven solutions to systemic dysfunction and supports evidence-based reforms in Illinois’ courts, government and communities. Our staff and teams of pro bono professionals rely on meaningful data about Cook County’s courts in order to identify inefficiencies, as well as injustices, and in order to discover reasonable improvements.  Adequate data about how… Continue Reading

The Clerk of the Court of Cook County has considered—and apparently rejected—a policy change that would have charged all parties to receive the first copy of any order issued in their case. At Chicago Appleseed and the Chicago Council of Lawyers, we are glad to learn that this policy won’t be adopted because it is… Continue Reading

Effective July 1, 2016, the Massachusetts bar exam will include essay questions related to access to justice issues. The questions will cover practice areas typically handled by legal aid services, self help services and pro se parties, such as Landlord-Tenant, child support, custody and divorce, as well as practice areas like consumer protection, personal care… Continue Reading

By Aswan Taylor, Intern for Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice A wave of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, culminating in last week’s McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission ruling, have diverged from the formidable pull of public sentiment and mounting research to reassert the role of financial contributions in federal elections. The McCutcheon ruling, which strikes… Continue Reading

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