In yet another example of justice run amok, a suit has been filed with the Circuit Court alleging that African Americans are being disproportionately affected by the setting of high bail bonds by certain judges.

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Presiding Judge Leroy Martin Jr., Cook County Criminal Division

The suit which seeks class action certification is brought on behalf of Plaintiffs Zachary Robinson and Michael Lewis, and a “class” and “subclass of similarly situated persons” alleging that “Judicial Defendants” namely: Cook County Judges Leroy Martin Jr., E. Kenneth Wright Jr., Peggy Chiampas, Sandra G. Ramos and Adam D. Bourgeois Jr., and similarly situated persons and Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart violated the Plaintiff’s U.S. and Illinois Constitutional as well as their Illinois Civil Rights.

In doing so, the Plaintffs seek a declaration in their favor of the unconstitutionality of the Defendant’s practice of applying Illinois’ bail statute, 725 ILCS 5/110-1, to set a monetary bail for pretrial arrestees without a meaningful inquiry into the person’s ability to pay and in amounts in excess of what the person is able to pay, the suit claims.

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(L) Judge E. Kenneth Wright Jr., Cook County 2nd Subcircuit

“Plaintiffs and Plaintiff classes complain that this practice violates their rights under the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the United States and Illinois Constitutions, and under the Excessive Bail and Sufficient Sureties Clauses of the United States and Illinois Constitutions respectively,” the suit further states.

Zachary Robinson sits incarcerated since December 2015, unable to afford his $1,000 bond for the theft of a laptop. According to the lawsuit, Michael Lewis suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and has been held since Oct. 3 on felony charges of retail theft, unable to post his $5,000 bond.

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Associate Judge Peggy Chiampas, District 1, Criminal Court

Based on Cook County data, the average detainee spends close to 60 days in jail before being released – the national average is 27 days.

The lawsuit is brought on their behalf by Civil Rights Corps, the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and the Chicago-based law firm of Hughes, Socol, Piers, Resnick, and Dym LTD.

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