Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Judge Removes Public Defenders From Death Penalty Case

In a move that this author has never before heard of, a Cook County Judge removed the Public Defender from a case involving a Defendant facing the Death Penalty for murdering a Chicago police officer. The Defendant, Lamar Cooper, refused to disclose his assets to prove he was indigent. The Cook County Circuit Court Judge, Nicholas Ford, was seeking information regarding whether Cooper was truly indigent. Cooper asserted his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to fill out an Affidavit of Assets and Liabilities as usually required of indigent defendants as a condition of having a Public Defender appointed to represent them. It is virtually unheard of to have a defendant fill out an Affidavit of Assets and Liabilities in a Death Penalty case. However, after Cooper was arrested, investigators found $260,000 in cash in 2 safe-deposit boxes, a time-share condominium and an expensive SUV. Judge Ford apparently suspects that Cooper is hiding substantial assets. Prosecutors believe that Cooper is a drug dealer. The case is certain to go before the Illinois Supreme Court since it involves numerous tricky and novel issues of law. In the past few years, the Illinois Supreme Court has issued new rules and reforms designed to deal with the state's highly publicized troubles with it's Death Penalty system.

Judge Ford has been the subject a previous posting on our blog. On December 20, 2008 we posted a blog about how Judge Ford was able to nab a criminal that was tampering with his wife's car.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

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