Byman Successfully Represents David Dowaliby in High-Profile Case
“Call Bob Byman,” Cindi Dowaliby, played by actress Shannen Doherty, tells her husband, David. In this scene from the 1996 TV movie Gone in the Night, Cindi talks to her husband in prison, where he’s being held after his conviction on charges of killing their young daughter. She urges him to get Bob to handle the appeal. The movie was based on the award-winning book about the high-profile Dowaliby case. In 1988, 7-year-old Jaclyn Dowaliby was kidnapped from her Chicago-area home in the middle of the night. Cindi and David were eventually charged with the girl’s murder. Cindi would be acquitted on grounds of insufficient evidence, but David was convicted. David did indeed “hire” Bob Byman, and on this day in 1991, Bob and his pro bono team won a reversal of David’s conviction. The Illinois Appellate Court ruled that prosecutors failed to prove that no one else killed Jaclyn and that the evidence against him was not sufficient. "I'm ecstatic," Bob told the Chicago Tribune. "This shows the system works."
Chicago Pacific Makes Offer for Hoover
Partner Dan Murray was serving as secretary to the board of directors of Chicago Pacific Corporation when, on this day in 1985, the company made a tender offer to acquire “any and all” shares outstanding of Hoover Co., the vacuum-cleaner manufacturer, for $40 a share cash. By November of that year, Chicago Pacific completed the $519.5 million acquisition of Hoover. “Chicago Pacific emerged last year from the reorganization of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Co. with no operating businesses, nearly $300 million in cash from the liquidation of most of its rail lines and on the hunt for acquisitions,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
Firm Successfully Argues on Behalf of State's Mandatory Seat-Belt Law
Recognizing “Pro Bono Month,” we note Jerry Solovy’s pro bono work in People v. Kohrig. Appointed as a special assistant attorney general, he argued that the state’s then-15-month-old mandatory seat-belt law should be upheld. On this day in 1986, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed, marking the first time that any state supreme court had so ruled. Ruling that the law does not violate the rights of motorists, under either the state or federal Constitutions, the court said that “the state can enact laws aimed at reducing traffic accidents, since such laws are clearly related to the health, welfare and safety of the public. We also believe that the legislature could rationally conclude that unbelted drivers and passengers endanger the safety of others.”
Dan Murray Appointed Trustee of Chicago Missouri & Western Railway
On this day in 1988, Dan Murray was appointed to serve as trustee in the bankruptcy of Chicago Missouri & Western Railway Company following the death of the first trustee, former Illinois Governor Richard B. Ogilvie. As trustee, Dan supervised operations of the railroad, skillfully preserving passenger rail service. In 2011, Dan received the W. Graham Claytor Award For Distinguished Service To Passenger Rail Transportation for his outstanding work as trustee.
Pro Bono Case Was First in Illinois Granting Post-Convicting Ballistics Testing
On January 26, 2011, a team including Robert Stauffer, Andrew Vail and Kyle Palazzolo achieved a groundbreaking result in a pro bono post-conviction case on behalf of client Patrick Pursley. The Pursley case was the first case in Illinois granting a prisoner ballistics testing under the Post-Conviction Testing Act. Mr. Pursley has adamantly maintained his innocence since his conviction for first-degree murder during the course of an attempted robbery in 1993. The decision was featured in the January 2012 Pro Bono Hot List by The National Law Journal.