Cook County Lawyers

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With approximately 5.3 million residents, Cook County is the second most densely populated county in the country, after Los Angeles County. Cook County houses upwards of 130 incorporated municipalities, the largest being Chicago, which also serves as the county seat.

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Cook County is notable for its extensive justice and criminal law system. The Circuit Court of Cook County is the largest unified court system worldwide, and handles over 1.2 million cases each year. Additionally, Cook County has the second-largest county law library in the U.S. Cook County is also home to the largest single jail site in the U.S., the Cook County Department of Corrections. Further, Cook County built the first juvenile detention center in the U.S., which remains one of the largest in the nation today.

In 1999, the American Civil Liberties Union brought a class action in U.S. District Court against the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, claiming that inmates were denied medical, dental, and mental health resources, and were subjected to abuse and neglect. In 2002, a federal judge approved a settlement agreement, under which the Center promised to furnish clean, safe living conditions. However, allegations of mistreatment have continued to surface in years since, and the ACLU is still monitoring the situation closely. The Chicago Bar Association has also gotten involved in recent years, for example by meeting with authorities from other juvenile facilities for advice on how to improve conditions.

Cook County has also tried and convicted one of the notorious serial killers in U.S. history. In People v. John Wayne Gacy, Gacy (often called the “killer clown” for the costume he wore at neighborhood block parties) was found guilty for the rapes and murders of 33 boys and young men. Gacy first pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity; later, he claimed that the murders were mere accidents arising during erotic asphyxia play. However, Gacy was unable to suppress his earlier confession to police, and his conviction was affirmed by Illinois’ highest court in 1985. Gacy was executed by lethal injection in 1994, although his death was delayed after the chemicals injected into his arm solidified and the tube needed to be reinserted; this accident prompted Illinois to institute a new method of lethal injection.

There are over 31,000 Cook County lawyers in Illinois. By using a free lawyer search tool such as LegalMatch.com, you can find the perfect lawyer for your case confidentially and efficiently.

For more information on Cook County’s legal history and current practices, please visit:

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Last Modified: 08-12-2014 03:33 PM PDT


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