CCBF Rallies Outside Court Date for EM Lawsuit

CCBF and our partners in the Coalition to End Money Bond rallied this morning before a federal lawsuit was heard demanding Sheriff Tom Dart stop his unconstitutional “review” program and follow bond court judges’ orders to release individuals. Judge Harry D. Leinenweber, refused to grant the Plaintiff’s request for a hearing on the their motions for class certification and a preliminary injunction until May 24, 2018. Instead, Judge Leinenweber is giving Dart a chance to respond to the complaint first.

“Despite Dart’s ongoing unconstitutional detention of over 55 individuals in the county jail, today the Court again delayed providing relief. The refusal of the court to see this as an emergency issue in need of federal intervention is disappointing. The fight continues as lawyers for the Plaintiffs remain committed to obtaining immediate injunctive relief and stopping this unconstitutional policy,” said attorney Sara Garber of Thedford Garber Law, the lead attorney on the lawsuit.

The class action lawsuit was filed in February 2018 on behalf of people being unconstitutionally detained by Sheriff Dart under an arbitrary new “review” program. Taphia Williams, a plaintiff on the lawsuit, was detained for more than 80 hours after the non-profit Chicago Community Bond Fund (CCBF) posted her bond. Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit were ordered released with electronic monitoring by a bond court judge but were instead detained for an additional period of time by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, some even after their bonds were posted. Today’s new filing in the lawsuit reveals that as of February 28, 2018, Sheriff Dart had denied 55 people release based on his office’s review of judicial orders to release them.

“Sheriff Dart is abusing his authority by disregarding the decisions of judges. One man with no oversight should not be able to determine the fate of thousands of legally innocent people. We are hopeful that this lawsuit will prevent Sheriff Dart from continuing to incarcerate people that were ordered to be released by the court,” stated Devoureaux Wolfe, a member of CCBF who spent three and a half months on electronic monitoring.

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