January 23, 2009

Jenner & Block Partners Reginald J. Hill and Joseph A. Saltiel successfully defended two pro bono clients in a criminal trial in the Circuit Court of Cook County.

The Firm’s clients, participants in the Chicago Recovery Alliance (CRA) research program, had been charged with the illegal possession of drug paraphernalia.  The CRA research program evaluates the public health effects of “harm reduction” with individuals with drug addiction and those living with HIV.  As part of its harm reduction outreach, the CRA runs a syringe exchange program aimed at reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other diseases through the provision of safe injecting equipment, counseling and other services.

Despite a Chicago Police Department order that recognizes that the law creates an exemption for persons participating in a research program and prohibits the arrest of CRA program participants for possession of hypodermic syringes, the clients were arrested and prosecuted to verdict.

Messrs. Hill and Saltiel worked with Assistant Cook County Public Defender Lisa Dedmond to represent the clients before the court.  Mr. Hill delivered the case’s opening statement, and Mr. Saltiel cross-examined the State’s witnesses.   Associate Duan Fu provided invaluable research in support of the clients defenses. Based on the attorneys’ opening statement and cross-examinations, the court found in favor of the Firm’s clients and issued a not guilty verdict.

Mr. Hill has provided pro bono representation to CRA and its syringe exchange participants for more than a decade.