June 02, 2015

ACLU of Illinois Announces Milestone in Colby Kingsbury's 16-Year-Old Pro Bono Case

On May 18, the ACLU of Illinois announced the issuance of a concluding order by U.S. District Judge John Holderman in a 1983 civil rights action brought nearly sixteen years ago in on behalf of juveniles held the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC). Colby Kingsbury, a partner in FaegreBD’s Chicago office, served as co-counsel to the ACLU-IL and has been a constant and critical participant in the case since its inception in 1999.

The original action challenged the unendurable conditions and gross mismanagement of the JTDC, which on any day may hold more than 350 juveniles. The juveniles were found to be living in crowded, unsafe, violent and unsanitary conditions, supervised by inadequate and untrained staff, and often being denied essential health care and adequate educational services. The parties reached a court-approved memorandum of understanding to improve the facility in 2003, but little progress was made and in 2007 the ACLU-IL, with Colby’s assistance, successfully persuaded the Court to appoint a Transitional Administrator to run the facility and bring it up to constitutionally-appropriate standards.

Colby first started working on the complaint in 1999 as a summer associate, and as a young associate, she took her first deposition in the case. Throughout the course of the litigation, Colby assisted and took numerous other depositions, worked with various medical and mental health experts, regularly met with County officials and the Union, toured and met directly with the detained youth, orchestrated programs through her firm to train summer associates and associates to regularly interview the detained youth to track progress at the JTDC, participated in status hearings and settlement conferences led by the Court, assisted with a Seventh Circuit appeal brought by the Union and worked closely with the Transitional Administrator and his team to finally transition the governance of the facility to the Chief Judge of the Juvenile Courts and the newly appointed Superintendent.

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