Skip to main content

WBEZ News

New Lawsuit Says Cook County Is Violating Juveniles’ Due Process

A new federal lawsuit claims Cook County is violating kids’ rights by keeping them locked up over the weekend without seeing a judge. 

Attorney Adele Nicholas says juveniles arrested on a Friday night spend more than 48 hours locked up waiting for a Monday hearing. 

“We saw that play out with one of our clients in this case … who was released without any charges,” Nicholas said. “So he actually sat in custody for close to three days and there wasn’t any reason to detain him.”

The lawsuit, brought by three parents, claims it violates the Constitution to hold someone for that long without a probable cause hearing. 

Cook County’s adult courts have bond hearings seven days a week.

But under Illinois law, juvenile courthouses don’t have to hold hearings on weekends or holidays.

Nicholas says that doesn’t matter, because the county still has to comply with federal law.

“And by federal law I mean the United States Constitution, the Fourth Amendment,” she said. 

A spokesman for the chief judge said he is not legally allowed to comment on the lawsuit.

Patrick Smith is a WBEZ producer and reporter. Follow him @pksmid.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.

CLOSE X