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Chicago Police Denying Arrestees’ Right to an Attorney?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

police, Elgin criminal defense attorneyAccording to the Chicago Police Department’s own statistics, obtained by CNN under the Freedom of Information Act, in the past three years, less than one percent of the suspects who are arrested by Chicago police actually see an attorney during the time they are in police custody.

Mayor’s Task Force

In response to the disturbing numbers, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel assigned a task force to look into the practices of the Chicago Police Department. The Police Accountability Task Force (PATF) recently issued a report that contained alarming and potentially damning information. According to the report, the Chicago Police Department "generally provides phone access (to arrestees) only at the end of processing, after interrogation and charging." The task force blasted the police department for this practice, citing evidence of arrestees who attempted to invoke their right to legal counsel, then face hostility from the police. The practice may be a violation of the individuals’ constitutional rights.

The PATF expressed concern over potential violations of detainees’ constitutional rights. Based on its findings, the task force recommends requiring that every person arrested to be allowed to make phone calls within an hour of being taken into custody. The time would be reduced to 30 minutes when the arrestee is a juvenile.

Police Response

The department defended its practices, claiming that most people who are arrested are released within a few hours, and most are never even questioned by the police. They also claim that most suspects do not ask for an attorney because they do not want to prolong the amount of time they are held in custody and do not want to delay their release. The department also maintains that each person who is arrested and held is read their Miranda rights, which includes the right to have an attorney present during questioning.

Rights of an Arrestee

Miranda rights, also referred to as Miranda warning, is from the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Miranda v. Arizona, and is based on the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. This amendment provides protection against self-incrimination. When a person is "Mirandized," he or she is advised that:

  • He or she has the right to remain silent;
  • Anything he or she says can and will be used against them in a court of law;
  • He or she has the right to have an attorney present during questioning; and
  • If he or she cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for them.

If you have been arrested and believe that the police compromised your constitutional rights, seek legal help immediately. Contact an experienced Elgin criminal defense attorney at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola. Call 847-488-0889 for a free, confidential consultation today.


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