Cook County Public Defender Blasts CPD’s Gun Offender Dashboard as Misleading

Cook County Chief Public Defender Amy P. Campanelli
Cook County Chief Public Defender Amy P. Campanelli. (Photo: SUPPLIED)

Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli took issue with the Chicago Police Department’s “Gun Offender Dashboard,” a site launched this week which shows the bond status of alleged offenders, men, and women who have yet to face trial.

The Chief Public Defender took issue with the site “which purports to show data from various sources regarding the bond status of hundreds of my clients, all of whom are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

“This website uses the vague term ‘gun offenders’ to create a false narrative of what’s truly occurring,” Ms. Campanelli continued. “Let’s set the record straight – the term “gun offender” also includes anyone who illegally possesses – and doesn’t shoot – a gun for his or her own protection. This is the unfortunate reality for too many residents who live in a city that continues to be plagued by gun violence.”

Chief Public Defender Campanelli’s Complete Statement on the “Gun Offender Dashboard”

I am deeply troubled by the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) launch this week of a new “Gun Offender Dashboard” which purports to show data from various sources regarding the bond status of hundreds of my clients, all of whom are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

This website uses the vague term “gun offenders” to create a false narrative of what’s truly occurring. Let’s set the record straight – the term “gun offender” also includes anyone who illegally possesses – and doesn’t shoot – a gun for his or her own protection. This is the unfortunate reality for too many residents who live in a city that continues to be plagued by gun violence.

“Gun offender” can also be placed on someone who doesn’t possess a gun at all but may, for example, be sitting in a car where a gun is found – regardless of who the gun actually belongs to. Additionally, someone arrested without a gun, but a gun was found in his or her vicinity, can also be labeled a “gun offender.”

For numerous reasons, this website should be taken down – immediately.

First, the data listed on the website is inaccurate. The CPD misstates the various types of bonds available – treating C bonds and D bonds the same. They are not the same.

A person who receives a C bond is responsible for paying 100% of the bond amount given by a judge while a D Bond only require a person to pay 10% of the total bond. The website does not distinguish between the two.

Further, the website indicates that several people received “B bonds.” In my 27 years as a public defender, I have never heard of such a thing. That’s because B bonds do not exist.

But the most troubling and legally questionable aspect of this website is the blatant intrusion into my clients’ privacy. The people on this list have not been convicted of the crimes for which they were charged. Yet, CPD is flaunting bond court stats as if they have already been convicted.

This is another example of police using a list of people who are presumed innocent as a red herring to distract from the real issue of the day: the CPD’s failure to arrest the individuals who are shooters and who continue to wreak havoc in Chicago. This website skews the facts, invades the privacy rights of my clients and must be taken down.

In reality, the jail population has been right-sized so individuals who are alleged to be dangerous to the community are much more likely to be held in the jail on a “no bond.”

Judges are basing their decision to hold or not hold someone on the results of a risk assessment tool and analysis of the individual facts of the case. Individuals who are deemed not to be a significant threat to the community are given bonds – which they are legally entitled to – and are released, with safeguards in place to protect the community.

The data released by the Office of the Chief Judge of Cook County demonstrates that bond court has been done in an effective but safe manner – only 0.6% of individuals released pretrial were subsequently arrested for a violent offense. These are the facts and we didn’t need to violate my clients’ rights in sharing them.