Equal Justice

The attorneys and staff of the Federal Defender Program for the Northern District of Illinois cherish the great privilege they have in representing people unable to afford counsel facing the most serious legal consequences our justice system contemplates. The right to counsel—enshrined in the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and given life in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Gideon v. Wainwright—stands on its own as a mission statement for everyone here. The continued liberty of our clients serves as the singular motivation for those of us who perform this vital task.

In the end, the job of a Defender amounts to standing side by side with our clients through extraordinarily difficult times with a focus and intent to tell their life stories. Only through that commitment can true justice—equal justice—actually occur. Whether through pretrial litigation, trial advocacy, sentencing mitigation, or appellate practice, the Federal Defender Program endeavors to illuminate the humanity of each person we represent. Our clients’ well-being will always remain our North Star.


John Murphy,

Executive Director