Brief filed: 02/01/2017
People v. Cole
Supreme Court of Illinois; Case No. 120997
Case below Illinois Appellate Court, First Judicial District, No. 1-16-1587 on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 16 CR 05089 (05), the Honorable Michele M. Pitman, Judge Presiding.
The Circuit Court's application of the Illinois rules deprives indigent clients of their fundamental right to conflict-free counsel solely on the basis of financial status in violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the federal and state Constitutions. The right to conflict-free counsel is a fundamental constitutional right. Fundamental constitutional rights may not be denied bases on an inability to pay. The failure to apply similar conflict of interest standards to clients of privately retained attorneys and clients of the Cook County Public Defender's office deprives the Public Defender's clients of their fundamental right to conflict-free counsel. African-American and Latino individuals are likely to bear the brunt of the constitutional violation at issue here.
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Martin V. Sinclair, Jr., Chicago, IL; Sarah L. Rosenbluth & Natalie Feigenbaum, Boston, MA; Carol A. Brook, NACDL, Chicago, IL.