This could be the begining of a major change. As few outside the criminal justice system know, in the US most people without resources do not get to talk to a lawyer until shortly before they see a judge.
That means that opportunities for early investigation, for getting the family in for the bail hearing, for preparing arguments for ail are all lost, with immeasurable negative impacts on poor defendants.
But now, as reported by the Hufffington Post:
Chief Judge Timothy Evans of the Circuit Court of Cook County signed an order Tuesday that would make a county public defender or a designated private attorney available to anyone who is in custody at one of the Chicago Police Department’s 22 stations with lockup facilities.
It is not clear from the article if the prosecutors or police have any objection or how the assistance is going to structured and coordinated, but the overall feeling is that the ducks are in a row for this important change. I suspect a lot of behind the scenes negotiation.
I hope it will be properly researched, and the savings in jail time documented. If so this could be the beginning of a very major change,finally bringing the US more in line with the rest of the higher income countries.