Embattled Cook County Public Defender Edwin Burnette – whom Todd Stroger is trying to fire – is getting support from other high-profile county officeholders. Cook County State’s Attorney Richard Devine wrote a letter to the editor (fourth item) published in the Sun-Times today calling Burnette “a thoughtful attorney, a forceful advocate and a hardworking public servant.” Devine’s letter follows a similar missive published in the paper from Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, who wrote that “The removal of Burnette would be a travesty.” (fourth item)
The Sun-Times editorial board has also weighed in, saying that “after reviewing the allegations against Burnette, we believe he should be allowed to keep his job.The accusations against Burnette amount to policy differences at best, trumped-up charges at worst.”
And Burnette is getting support in legal quarters as well. “The research of the Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice and the professional experience of the Chicago Council of Lawyers make it clear that Mr. Burnette is committed to bringing about constructive reform in our courts,” a statement on the lawyers council’s website says. “This resolution [to fire Burnette] is a clear political intrusion into what should be the independent administration of criminal justice in Cook County.”
A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday.
UPDATE 4:34 P.M: Tribune: “Stroger Drops Effort To Fire Public Defender.”