Mitigation Specialists play a key role in public defense, advocating for a fair sentence by putting together a thorough report on the person’s life story. This is important because when a person comes before a judge for sentencing, the court is often aware of only a sliver of their circumstances.

The Chicago Tribune published this commentary on Feb. 8, 2023.

Children who are in juvenile jail because DCFS can’t find them a home are being harmed

By Andrea Lubelfeld

The Cook County Public Defender’s Office mourns the tragic death of Tyre Nichols. Tyre deserved to live a full and beautiful life. Instead, another young Black person’s family is coping with the reality that the individuals entrusted to serve and protect us all took their loved one’s life in a savage fashion.

We recognize the traumatic impact that Tyre’s murder has on our public defender family, our clients and our wider communities. We support the need to share grief and address this impact.

For Immediate Release

January 26, 2023



Fiona Ortiz | (312) 603-0720


Chicago, IL - The Illinois Supreme Court today issued an order suspending implementation of the Pretrial Fairness Act while it reviews a lower court opinion that found the law unconstitutional.

The Cook County Public Defender’s Office is disappointed that this historic and transformative law will not take effect as planned tomorrow, Jan. 1.

COOK COUNTY, IL, Dec. 29, 2022Last night, a judge in Kankakee County issued an opinion that part of the SAFE-T Act is unconstitutional. The judge’s ruling impacts the Pretrial Fairness Act, the portion of the SAFE-T Act that reforms pretrial release conditions and ends money bond.

CHICAGO, IL, Dec. 28, 2022 – There are few practices in the criminal legal system more abhorrent than using access to wealth to determine whether someone is jailed while awaiting trial.

The use of money bond has always been an affront to several basic Constitutional principles, making a mockery of the presumption of innocence and reducing critical decisions to mere guesswork about what may or may not be in someone’s pocketbook.

Today, Illinois lawmakers passed technical amendments to the state’s SAFE-T Act, a historic reform that takes the next step in creating a more fair and equitable criminal legal system. The SAFE-T Act, which includes the Pretrial Fairness Act, puts our state in the national vanguard on one of the most important issues of our day – ending wealth-based pretrial jailing that weakens communities and is fundamentally unfair. On Jan. 1, 2023, Illinois will become the...

The Cook County Public Defender’s Office announced the swearing in of 25 new attorneys who are now Assistant Public Defenders in our office. This group of attorneys joins our professional family and our mission to protect the fundamental rights, liberties and dignity of each person whose case has been entrusted to us by providing the finest legal representation.

The Office of the Cook County Public Defender was represented at the MacArthur Foundation biannual Safety and Justice Challenge Network meeting by Public Defender Sharone Mitchell, Director of Community Engagement Alexandria Santistevan and Director of Legislative and External Affairs Sav Felix.