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Homan Square: A Report Back

First Defense Legal Aid (FDLA, First Defense) will report back on its recent experience with Homan Square and other Chicago police facilities where youth and adults are held incommunicado on Thursday.

Chicago has made international news for Homan Square, record numbers of false confessions, police shootings, torture, and a department-wide code of silence on police crimes and misconduct, all disproportionately affecting African Americans.

Chicago can be known for a unique solution! FDLA will make specific calls to action for getting volunteer attorneys into police stations.


The nonprofit charitable organization First Defense Legal Aid is the only way people in Chicago police custody can access their right to an attorney free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, when someone calls 1(800) LAW-REP-4 to alert our volunteer attorneys.

The Chicago Police Department reported that only .3% of their arrestees had a lawyer at any police station last year. The other 99.7% had the right to a lawyer too, but the public defender can't be appointed until much later, and police do not allow arrestees to use the phones until the end of the process, or provide the legal aid number. So, First Defense relies on third parties to deploy their free services.

"I was told personally that no one can make phone calls from Homan Square," says panelist Charles Jones. "It's a problem department-wide that means no one gets a lawyer when it matters most. Providing real access to our rights is part of creating a peaceful city."

"Jurisdictions that ensure real access to legal aid for all arrestees see a reduction in violent crime," says moderator Eliza Solowiej. "Miranda rights are not real if there's no way to contact a lawyer."

Flint Taylor, Charles Jones, April Kentala, Jarrett Adams, and Eliza Solowiej will speak. Taylor is a renowned attorney who recently represented people tortured by Chicago police under the direction of former Commander Jon Burge.

Jones is a Know Your Rights Organizer for FDLA who has specific policy solutions to present.

Kentala is an FDLA attorney with many experiences representing clients held at Homan Square.

Adams is a recent law school graduate and a Public Interest Fellow at the U.S. Court of Appeals who was wrongfully convicted at the age of 17 and exonerated after serving for nearly 10 years in prison.

Solowiej is the Executive Director of FDLA.

The program will be held at the Westside Justice Center, 601 S. California Ave., from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.


Solowiej on Fox News Chicago:


* The [Monday] Papers: Suddenly, the CPD is a fine upstanding trustworthy institution.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #46: Explaining Chicago's Black Site.

* The [Wednesday] Papers: Another day, another Guardian story.

* The [Thursday] Papers: John Conroy vs. the Chicago media. Again.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #47: What Chicagoans Aren't Being Told.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #48: Carol Marin's Blinders & What Tom Durkin Really Said.

* The [Monday] Papers: Homan Squared.

* Chicago Politicians Push DOJ To investigate 'CIA Or Gestapo Tactics' At Secret Police Site.

* Chicago's Homan Square: Torture By Any Other Name . . .

* Amnesty International Calls For Federal Investigation Of Homan Square.


Comments welcome.


Posted on November 12, 2015

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