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Divisions of the Public Defender's Office

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Capital Case Coordinator

2650 S. California, Chicago, IL

The Capital Case Coordinator (CCC ) monitors all capital cases handled by the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender and acts as a resource for attorneys assigned to those cases. The CCC assists Assistant Public Defenders by discussing with them issues and strategies related to the handling of capital cases. The CCC obtains the services of a mitigation specialist when necessary and interviews candidates who seek to do mitigation work for the Office. The CCC also provides input regarding how resources from the Capital Litigation Trust Fund (CLTF) should be used in the litigation of capital cases, and is involved in the budgetary process related to the CLTF. The CCC’s responsibilities also include appearing before the General Assembly in defense of the indigent in capital cases and helping lawmakers assess the impact of proposed laws on indigent people who are endangered by the death penalty. The CCC also assists in the development and implementation of training programs related to capital issues.

Civil Division

2245 West Ogden Avenue, Chicago, IL
Phone: 312-433-7046

The Civil Division of the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defenders consists of the following units:

  • Child Protection: Assistant Public Defenders represent parents when the State files allegations of abuse, neglect or dependency. The Office advocates for the parents in their efforts to reunite with their children.
  • Mental Health: The Court may appoint the Office in limited situations where the State seeks to involuntarily commit individuals to a mental health facility.
  • Paternity: When the State is attempting to establish a child’s parentage, Assistant Public Defenders may be appointed by the Court to represent an alleged parent, but only for the purpose of hearings to establish parentage and, if necessary, the first order of child-support.

Felony Trial Division

2650 S. California, Chicago, IL
Phone: 773-869-3217

Attorneys assigned to the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender’s Felony Trial Division represent indigent defendants in 34 courtrooms that take in cases from the City of Chicago. These cases range in severity from drug possession to first degree murder.

Forensic Science Division

69 W. Washington - 17th Floor, Chicago, IL
Phone: 312-603-8300

The Forensic Science Division (FSD) of the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender litigates cases involving any forensic evidence, including, but not limited to, forensic DNA analysis. It also provides training, case reviews, and litigation assistance for other Assistant Public Defenders in cases involving forensic science.

Homicide Task Force

2650 S. California, Chicago, IL

The Homicide Task Force is a specialized division of the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender, consisting not only of lawyers deemed to have sufficient experience to represent indigent people who are accused of first degree murder, but of attorneys whose experience, skill, education and training have earned them admission to the Capital Litigation Trial Bar. By rule of the Illinois Supreme Court, only lawyers who belong to the Capital Litigation Trial Bar can try a case in which the client faces the possibility of the death penalty. Assistant Public Defenders assigned to the Homicide Task Force have the resources of experienced investigators and support staff, and are able to enlist the help of capital-qualified lawyers from throughout the Office to assist them at trial. Each member of the Homicide Task Force represents his or her client from the beginning of the case at the indictment stage through any sentencing that may take place after trial.

Investigations Division

2650 S. California, Chicago, IL
Phone: 773-869-6300

The Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender includes an Investigation Division that handles a wide variety of tasks in support of the lawyers who are Assistant Public Defenders. Together, they endeavor to provide clients with the best possible defense. Investigators conduct preliminary searches, locate witnesses, serve court documents, make reports, interview clients entering the system and take photos of injuries and scenes of alleged crimes. Investigators testify before the Circuit Court, as required, and relate the results of any investigative task back to the attorneys. Investigators also transport and physically assist clients and/or witnesses who need that service.

Juvenile Justice Division

2245 West Ogden, Chicago IL
Phone: 312-433-7046

The Juvenile Justice Division represents youths accused of crimes ranging from first-degree murder to graffiti. By law, these clients are younger than 17 years old when their cases begin. Our lawyers also represent children in situations in which the State is seeking to have the case transferred to adult court. This division also assigns attorneys to three suburban locations where juvenile cases are heard once a week. Those suburbs are Skokie, Rolling Meadows and Bridgeview.

Click here for more information on the Juvenile Court System.

Legal Resources Division

69 W. Washington - 15th Floor, Chicago IL

The primary responsibility of the Legal Resources Division is to represent the indigent in post conviction matters and appellate cases. Attorneys assigned to Legal Resources also work to enhance the performance of lawyers in the various trial divisions of the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender by providing legal research, training and litigation assistance.


Multiple Defendant Division

69 W. Washington - 16th Floor, Chicago IL

Attorneys assigned to the Multiple Defendant Division (MDD) of the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender represent clients in felony and first degree murder cases where more than one person is accused. These attorneys represent indigent accused throughout the county and act independently of other divisions in the office.

Professional Development

69 W. Washington - 16th Floor, Chicago IL
Phone: 312-603-0724

The Division of Professional Development is responsible for the professional development of management, attorneys, investigators, and support staff, who comprise the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender. This is accomplished by combining the use of in-house training events with external training sources. The in-house events include week long workshops, day and half-day seminars, orientations, brown bag lunches and informal sessions. The division has a video and manual library available for training. They also have media equipment that can be used by members of the office.


Click here for more information about the Court Divisions from the Clerk of the Circuit Court.


Agency Contact Information Portlet  
Contact Information
Contact Information

Bureau Name:

Public Defender, Law Office of

Main Office:

69 W. Washington Suite 1600
Chicago, Illinois 60602

Telephone: (312) 603-0600
Fax: (312) 603-9860

Abishi C. Cunningham, Jr., Public Defender

M-F: 9AM-5PM; Sat-Sun: Closed