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Suit settled over conditions at juvenile center

Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Chicago Tribune

Cook County and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois have agreed to settle a lawsuit over conditions at the county's Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, a federal judge said.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Ashman said in a written order issued Monday that he had canceled a settlement conference in the case, "the court having been notified that the parties settled."

An ACLU official declined to comment Tuesday on the terms of the agreement, saying it still must be finalized and presented to U.S. District Judge John Nordberg for his approval.

"We have reached an agreement in principle, and we just have one detail to negotiate about one aspect of it," said Benjamin Wolf, associate legal director for the ACLU of Illinois. The remaining detail "is something that we all believe will be resolved."

Wolf said he expects to finalize the agreement in the next 10 days and that Nordberg could consider it at status hearing May 3.

Cook County officials could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

The ACLU and the county reached an earlier settlement in the same lawsuit in 2002.

But in November, ACLU officials filed a petition alleging that staff members at the center had violated that agreement, subjecting residents to threats and beatings.

County officials denied the allegations. They also contend that conditions have improved since new Supt. Jerry Robinson took over last year.



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