On January 7, 2016, a Federal Judge in Chicago ruled that a class action lawsuit alleging that the Sheriff of Cook County unlawfully detains free men after they are acquitted may proceed to trial. The lawsuit alleges that the Sheriff’s Office does not have any procedures in place to differentiate between detainees who were found not-guilty or otherwise acquitted and all other detainees over whom the Sheriff’s Office has a continued right to detain. As a result, according to the suit, the Plaintiff and other class members were treated just like every other inmate returning from court and, ultimately, despite being free men, transported back to and detained within the general jail population. In denying Defendant’s motion to have the suit dismissed, the Court noted that “Plaintiff has presented … expert opinion that Defendant is and was on notice that the [Cook County Jail] is a dangerous place and that placing acquitted detainees among other detainees increases their risk of harm based on the pervasive pattern of assaults when detainees of different classifications are commingled. This evidence creates a triable issue of fact that the Sheriff’s Office was aware of a substantial risk of harm to Plaintiff, yet did not take steps to protect him from this danger.”
Two lawyers from Myron M. Cherry & Associates, LLC, Myron Cherry and Jacie Zolna, are class counsel in the case.