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Letter to Reilly

 Oct 2004

James M. Reilly

Department of Administrative Hearings * 6th Floor
740 North Sedgwick Street
Chicago, IL 60610

Dear Sir,

I was given your name as the person in charge of policy relating to  the administrative hearings. If this information is incorrect then  please forward this letter to the appropriate party who is in charge of policy.

The reason I write is to offer a suggestion in the proceedings of  these administrative hearings.

It was interesting to see that over 40% of the people in attendance  at these hearings were of Hispanic origin. What did surprise me is  that many of these hard working individuals who came to the hearing  did not have fluent use of the English language and the hearing  officer (HO) could not provide a translator. Telling someone they  are in violation of such and such number of city ordinance meant  nothing to these people - nor to people who are fluent in the  English language. Then asking if someone from the audience could  translate meant that the HO had to rely on someone who is perhaps  only a little versed in the English language. This does not address  the issue of comprehension of what is being said, but only  translation. The translator was given no time to talk with the  individual being charged to get her/his side of the story. This type of proceeding I consider abominable.

The fact of the matter is that the largest minority group in the  United States as of today is the Hispanic population. Yet, judging  from what I saw in these proceedings, they are not given due process  under the assurance of "reasonable doubt." They couldn't even  present their side of the story. Of course one can dismiss this  claim and say that it is not really a trial but my contention is  that people are charged, found guilty and told to pay a fine. Is  this not juris prudence at its lowest  level?

The rational that a person is allowed a continuance to bring a  translator does not work either because that means the person must  take two days off from work at a minimum or even more if a trial is  requested.

Yet, another interesting thing at these hearings was a case  involving animal abuse. Animal Control gave a Caucasian  woman a ticket. The fine was $500.00. The "Let's Make a Deal" people  wanted to go with a $100.00 fine and then after  talking with the woman, the fine w as reduced to nothing and the  case w as dismissed. Do you think an alleged involvement of the 20th District State Representative played a role? Such alleged use of  power did not go unnoticed. It's  a shame that justice was allegedly bought, not earned. Yet, the  other Hispanics and African Americans listened to the preverbal  mallet hit the desk, received their computer generated bill, and  then paid.

My recommendation is twofold: first, either hire more bilingual  speaking individuals who are qualified as the counselors already  employed in the "Let's Make A Deal" room (off to the side in Room  101) or second, minimally provide a person that can translate on the  defendants behalf. A comparable amount of time should be allotted so  that the translator can get the defendant's side of the story and  present an adequate defense. Failure to do so provides no more than  a scam of justice in this city and a ramrod to the pocketbooks of  hard working people. It is unjust at best.

Wayne A. Strnad

 cc:  Alderman Rey Colon (773-365-3535), Alderman Manuel Flores  (773-278-0101), Alderman Ricardo  Munoz (773-762-1771), Alderman Billy Ocasio (773-276-4269),Alderman Ariel E. Reboyras  (773-794-3095), Alderman Daniel S. Solis (773-843-1200), Alderman  Suarez (773-486-6488), Alderman Emma Mitts (773-745-2894), Alderman  Isaac Carothers (773-261-4646), Mayor Daley


 Wayne A. Strnad says, "Call every representative mentioned above!  Put them to work - it's their job to fight for and protect your  rights!"

Update:  Not a single alderman came forward on the  communities behalf.



As a result of our picket outside these Kangaroo Court  proceedings, Reilly promised to place signs in an obvious place that  read in effect that if a person needed a translator one would be  provided.

As a side note, the Circuit Court of Cook County, which runs  another phony show, has such a sign.


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