Ending Incommunicado Detention with an Attorney for Every Arrestee

On Malcolm X’s birthday, Saturday, May 19th, 2018, First Defense Legal Aid will lead a citywide Day of Action from 12pm-4pm to challenge police detention practices and bolster the constitutional rights of people in detention or under arrest. Although every person arrested has a right to legal representation at the police station, according to the most recent statistics, fewer than 2% of people in detention in Chicago actually access to an attorney at the station.

A March 2017 General Order issued by Chief Judge Evans appointed the Public Defender and its designee–FDLA–as counsel for any person in police custody who asks for an attorney, and on May 19th from 12pm-4pm, FDLA will dispatch trained attorneys and 711 law students at each of Chicago’s 23 police districts to press for implementation of this order and defend arrestees’ right to counsel under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. Meanwhile, community members will canvass outside of police stations with know your rights materials to inform Chicagoans why and how to send counsel to loved ones under arrest at any time through our 24/7/365 Hotline.

Following the action, volunteers will come together for a night of reflection, drinks, and reverie at the West Side Center for Justice (601 S California Ave) from 5pm-7pm.

Our Day of Action will be a novel, direct, and revolutionary way to spotlight a persistent flaw in the criminal justice system in Chicago.

You can get involved by filling out our attorney and 711 sign-up form, filling out our community volunteer sign-up form, completing our community partner organization sign-up form, or by emailing volunteer [at] first-defense.org for more information. T-shirts are also available here, and here. Join us 5/19 to safeguard justice in Chicago!

Additionally, here you can find a copy of all of the documents an attorney or 711 will need for the Day of Action, including, Judge Evans’s Order, the Memorandum of Understanding with the Public Defender’s Office, our Day of Action Note Taking Form, our Deescalation Tips, our Call Sheet, and our Injury Log. Also, here are our Volunteer Attorney Manual, and Hotline Volunteer Orientation Powerpoint.