I got stopped by my house and invoked my rights. I said I do not consent to searches. They searched me anyways and found a mountain of First Defense cards. They let me go.
Level the playing field
Prevent Wrongful Convictions
First Defense Legal Aid connects people to free, 24-hour legal representation for people in Chicago Police custody and educates Chicagoans about how to protect their constitutional rights. We undertake these activities to promote fairness and accountability in the justice system.
What the community has to say…
I’m a social worker and this Hotline has been crucial for myself and my mentees. First Defense lawyers taught me that the only way to out think police, because you can’t out talk them, is to say “I want my lawyer” and wait until First Defense gets there.
Max CerdaSocial Worker
Hotline lawyers, and law students in some instances, are willing to get up in the middle of the night and go to police stations to help people assert their rights. It’s really about equality for People of Color and poor people.
Randolph StoneFounder and Clinical Professor, University of Chicago Law School
I think any attorney, anyone who’s been through law school would know how important early access to counsel in a criminal case is. That only 302 people had a lawyer go to the police station in a year is pretty shocking.
Gregory A. McConnellProbono Counsel, Winston & Strawn LLP
FDLA is the only way people in Chicago Police custody can access free legal representation and we are reachable 24/7! You can contact FDLA at anytime.
* Actual reported number of arrestees who had a lawyer present while in Chicago police custody in 2018 is 1.67%.
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