Letter to Reilly
James M. Reilly
Department of Administrative Hearings * 6th Floor
740 North Sedgwick Street
Chicago, IL 60610
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.