CHICAGO, Sept. 18, 2023 - Cook County Public Defender Sharone R. Mitchell, Jr., joined advocates, legislators, criminal legal system stakeholders and impacted people at a news conference on Monday morning marking the end of money bond in Illinois and the beginning of a more just pretrial system.

While celebrating a historic moment for a more equitable criminal legal system, Mitchell also pledged vigilance in making sure the Pretrial Fairness Act (PFA) is properly implemented.

CHICAGO, Sept. 14, 2023 -- On Sept. 18, the Pretrial Fairness Act will take full effect in Illinois, eliminating the use of money bond and redesigning pretrial processes to increase transparency in release and detention decisions. Cook County stands ready to implement all aspects of the Act, including the new initial appearance and detention hearing processes.

Block Club Chicago reporter Maxwell Evans wrote about our work to take take traditional criminal legal defense out of the courthouse and into the community to provide more collaborative representation and services. We will be launching our first community defense center, the Freedom Defense Center of Roseland, in 2024.

Click on the headline below to read the Block Club story:


Fiona Ortiz, Deputy of Communications

Cook County Public Defender's Office thrilled that SB424 and SB1886 are signed into law

The Cook County Public Defender’s Office is pleased that the Illinois Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Pretrial Fairness Act. Illinois can now end a great injustice that distorted the criminal legal system and move forward with removing the price tag from the presumption of innocence. 

The Cook County Public Defender's Office is featured in a short film about violence interruption.

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.