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Devine Backs Embattled Defender

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Cook County Public Defender Ed Burnett’s job might be on the line. A majority of county commissioners signed a resolution moving to fire him, but he’s found a seemingly unusual ally.

Last week, a bipartisan majority of the Cook County Board agreed that Edwin Burnette should be fired from his job as public defender . The commissioners say he’s been too slow handling cases, and he lacks leadership in the office.

But the defender’s traditional opponent – State’s Attorney Richard Devine – disagrees. The county’s top prosecutor says Burnett is a first rate professional – who represents his clients extremely well.

DEVINE: I called Ed the last couple of days and told him of my views regarding him and his work, and I told him I’d be ready to state them publicly in any forum he saw appropriate. He thanked me and told me he’d be in touch.

Burnette says he’s being targeted by commissioners because he sued President Todd Stroger over recent budget cuts.

The Board was widely expected to decide on Burnette’s ouster tomorrow, but sources say that timing is being reconsidered.

I’m Ammad Omar, Chicago Public Radio.

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