Thousands are being deported without a chance to appear before an immigration judge.
The Illinois State Police responds to The Chicago Reporter's Freedom of Information Act request, sending a table of statistics indicating the agency voided about 8,500 orders from 2004 to 2008.
Paul P. Biebel Jr., presiding judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County Criminal Division, learns about the number of voided orders from the Reporter and meets impromptu with legal aid attorneys and representatives from the Office of the Illinois Attorney General and from the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.
Judge Biebel holds a second meeting with the parties to begin drafting a compliance plan. The police retract the table of statistics sent March 6 and issues a new table of statistics, indicating it voided about 2,700 orders between 2004 and 2008.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issues a press release deploring the voided orders and demanding that the police comply with all of them. "This is an unbelievable defiance of the law," Madigan said in the release. "Ignoring these expungement orders negatively impacts the lives of
people who deserve a fair opportunity to get a job, find housing and take care of their families. I have taken immediate action to remedy this problem and to hold [the Illinois State Police] and Director Larry Trent accountable."
Week of March 16
The police begin working with the attorney general's office to refine their proposed compliance plan. Together, they eventually decide that the police will audit records to find the number of voided orders. They also decide that after the audit, the police will start enforcing voided orders, notifying the attorney general's office of any they still feel are invalid. The attorney general's office will then decide how to proceed. Each week, Biebel will receive a progress report.
Trent resigns after a six-year tenure. In an interview with The Telegraph, an Alton, Ill., newspaper, he defends the agency. "There are some things that can't be expunged, by law," Trent said. "If a judge issues a court order for expungement of one of those things, that's invalid. We believe all 2,700 of these are invalid."
Madigan issues a statement rebutting Trent's assertions.
Gov. Pat Quinn names a new police director, a 29-year-old decorated military veteran, who later issued a statement saying he "is committed to short- and long-term solutions."
Judge Biebel holds his third meeting with the parties to continue refining the proposed compliance plan.
The police send results of the audit to the attorney general's office.