Room 702 at the courthouse at 26th and California has a panoramic view of Cook County jail facilities: block brick buildings, guard posts, barbed wire in circles. On the wet, grey morning of September 16, lawyers mill about casually, occasionally joking, flipping through papers. A couple of Derrion Albert’s family members sit on the west end of the third bench from the front, with lawyers coming and going before them, giving them updates on the day’s wrangling.
But for them, the courtroom is quiet and spare, with less than a score of spectators. Inevitably, they walk out to the hallway, look out the windows at the end of hall to the broad expanse of white clouds and penitentiary, then idle back inside.
After almost two hours of whispers and lolling, the judge appears and five teenage boys are brought before him. They wear Department of Correction uniforms, hold their hands in front of their bodies, fingers laced in submission.
One of them, Silvonus Shannon, cranes his neck to look at out at the courtroom, perhaps hoping for recognition or connection. He walks standing straight and without pause.