University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Robinson v. Martin CJ-IL-0012
Docket / Court 2016-CH-13587 ( State Court )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Special Collection Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of poverty)
Attorney Organization Civil Rights Corps
Case Summary
Two men incarcerated in Cook County, Illinois, filed this class action lawsuit on October 14, 2016, in the Circuit Court of Cook County ... read more >
Two men incarcerated in Cook County, Illinois, filed this class action lawsuit on October 14, 2016, in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Plaintiffs were eligible for release from jail but were detained because they could not afford the required bail. They brought their claims against a group of judges in the Circuit Court of Cook County who had routinely applied Illinois's bail statute to set monetary bail in amounts higher than individuals were able to pay. They also included the Sheriff of Cook County as a defendant. Plaintiffs alleged that the judicial defendants engaged in this practice without inquiring into arrestees' ability to pay and provided no alternative for those who were indigent. As a result, thousands of people awaiting trial were held in Cook County jails simply because they were poor. Consequently, many lost their jobs, homes, custody of their children, and suffered other adverse consequences, including a higher likelihood of conviction. Plaintiffs also alleged that a disproportionate number of detained individuals were African American.

Represented by the MacArthur Justice Center, the Civil Rights Corps, and private counsel, plaintiffs brought claims under 42 U.S.C. ยง1983, alleging violations of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Illinois Constitution (Article One, Section Two), the Excessive Bail Clause of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Bailable by Sufficient Sureties Clause of the Illinois Constitution (Article One, Section 9), and the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief to enjoin defendants from unlawfully incarcerating those detained only because of inability to pay bail.

Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint on March 17, 2017. On April 14, defendants filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiffs' Amended Complaint was moot because a General Order issued by the Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge adequately addressed their complaint. Based on plaintiffs' response to the motion to dismiss, it appears the General Order was issued in response to plaintiffs' Complaint and directed all Circuit Judges to follow certain procedures with respect to setting bail. It was set to go into effect in September of 2017 for felony cases and January of 2018 for all other cases. In their response motion to defendants' motion to dismiss, plaintiffs argued that the General Order did not have the force of law necessary to adequately address plaintiffs' claims. As of January 15, 2018, it appears that defendants' motion to dismiss is still pending.

Lauren Latterell Powell - 01/11/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Bail/Bond
Courts
Disparate Impact
Over/Unlawful Detention
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Cook County, Illinois
Plaintiff Description Individuals detained in Cook County, Illinois, jails solely because of inability to pay bail.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Civil Rights Corps
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2016
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
2016-CH-13587 (State Trial Court)
CJ-IL-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/22/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint
CJ-IL-0012-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 10/14/2016
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-IL-0012-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 10/14/2016
Plaintiffs' Response in Opposition to Defendants' Supplemental 2-619 Motion to Dismiss for Mootness
CJ-IL-0012-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 08/14/2017
Plaintiff's Lawyers Badlani, Chirag (Illinois)
CJ-IL-0012-0001 | CJ-IL-0012-0002 | CJ-IL-0012-0003
Bowman, Locke E. III (Illinois)
CJ-IL-0012-0001 | CJ-IL-0012-0002 | CJ-IL-0012-0003
Karakatsanis, Alec (District of Columbia)
CJ-IL-0012-0001 | CJ-IL-0012-0002 | CJ-IL-0012-0003
Piers, Matthew J. (Illinois)
CJ-IL-0012-0001 | CJ-IL-0012-0002 | CJ-IL-0012-0003
Robinson, Zachary (Illinois)
CJ-IL-0012-9000
Schwartz, Kate E. (Illinois)
CJ-IL-0012-0001 | CJ-IL-0012-0002 | CJ-IL-0012-0003
VanBrunt, Alexa (Illinois)
CJ-IL-0012-0001 | CJ-IL-0012-0002 | CJ-IL-0012-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Martin, Leroy Jr. (Illinois)
CJ-IL-0012-9000

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