Jenner & Block

The Heart of the Matter Blog

May 1, 2012

A History of Pro Bono and Public Service: 1990s

Dowaliby Case

In 1988, 7-year-old Jaclyn Dowaliby was taken from her home and murdered. Her parents, David and Cynthia Dowaliby, were charged and tried in 1990 represented by private counsel.  The trial judge dismissed the case against Mrs. Dowaliby at the close of the State’s evidence, but allowed the jury to deliberate as to Mr. Dowaliby.  The jury convicted and Mr. Dowaliby was sentenced to 45 years of imprisonment. Jenner & Block agreed to take over the representation of the family on appeal.  In addition, the firm represented Mr. Dowaliby in a week-long evidentiary post-trial hearing and in a separate week-long custody trial in which the State attempted – and failed – to take custody of the Dowalibys’ other two children.  In 1992, the Illinois Appellate Court reversed Mr. Dowaliby’s conviction – finding that there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction – and he was released from prison. The Jenner & Block team included Partners Robert L. Byman, J. Kevin McCall and Terrence J. Truax.

CATEGORIES: A History of Pro Bono and Public Service, J McCall, R Byman, T Truax