Dear Chicago Reader:
In response to your article by Tori Marlan, “Strip Search,” dated March 6, 1998, I have the following comments:
In defense of assistant state’s attorneys Mike Jacobs and Dave Meyerson, who I knew when I worked for the Cook County state’s attorney, and from my own experience representing this sheriff’s office in civil litigation, whether you have all the necessary facts in a case depends entirely on your client’s willingness to be honest and truthful with you. As I found in my own travails representing the sheriff, that was frequently not the case. Thus, attorneys Jacobs’s and Meyerson’s lack of knowledge about the inner workings of Cook County Jail were due to no fault of their own but rather due to decisions made within the sheriff’s office–most probably by the sheriff’s two personal staff attorneys who were involved with the case–regarding what information would be disclosed to them.
Similarly, if attorneys Jacobs and Meyerson seemed reticent or unwilling to schedule that visit to the jail, it is not because they were not willing to schedule the visit but because their client, the sheriff, was refusing to cooperate. It was my experience that the sheriff’s personal attorneys did not appear to believe that the federal rules of civil procedure applied to the sheriff.
Finally, as for the sheriff’s incredulous defense in response to civil contempt proceedings against him for failing to comply with the court’s March 1997 order, which directed the sheriff to stop conducting routine strip searches of female inmates who had been released from custody unless they elected to return to their cells to retrieve their personal effects, ignorance is no defense for a public official who has six attorneys at his beck and call paid for by Cook County’s taxpayers.