26th and California
26th & California is the main felony trial courthouse in Cook County. A felony is a crime punishable by more than a year in prison, as opposed to a less serious misdemeanor. The great majority of felony cases in Chicago are heard at 26th & California including charges for murder, armed robbery, rape, weapons charges, drug charges and some assault and battery cases. While preliminary felony hearings may take place at other Chicago courts in the First District, if a case is going to trial it will likely be heard at the courthouse at 26th & California.
While all criminal charges should be taken seriously, convictions at 26th & California will very likely result in jail time. As a result, if you are charged with a felony, it is extremely important to hire an attorney that not only focuses their practice on criminal defense, but has also defended hundreds, if not thousands, of cases at 26th and California. No matter the charge, we look at these cases as your life being on the line because most people who are convicted of felonies cannot find work or live the life they want to live, even after their jail sentence is finished.
It can only benefit you to have an attorney who regularly appears at that courthouse because that attorney will have an established rapport with the prosecutors and Judges. Whether negotiating a plea deal or simply defending your case, you will benefit if your attorney already knows the prosecutors and judges. This of course does not guarantee a result, but it greatly increases your chances of success. Plain and simple, the right lawyer is often the difference between winning and losing.
The actual courthouse is located at 2600 S. California Avenue in Chicago. We suggest that you never hire a lawyer that can't tell you all of the names of the Judges there, their backgrounds and their tendencies. Before you hire an attorney, whether it's someone we recommend or a lawyer you find on your own, ask them about the Judge to whom the case is assigned. If they have no idea about them it's usually a sign that you are considering the wrong attorney.
Finally, it's a simple fact that a good private attorney will achieve better results than a public defender which is a free, government paid attorney appointed by the Judge. Those lawyers are over-worked, under-paid and there is a lot of turnover in that office so you can't be sure that your lawyer today will be your lawyer tomorrow. In addition, they almost never speak to family members and friends, certainly not in the way a private lawyer that you pay for would. All that said, many people don't have the money to hire a private attorney. They end up hiring the cheapest one they can find and that often leads to disaster as many of these lawyers won't really fight for a client, but instead will just help them plead guilty. Finding a law firm to represent you is always the best bet, but if you can't afford the fees (which usually start around $2,500) then you are better off with the public defender than some overly cheap guy that won't actually go to bat for you.
If you would like a referral to an attorney that focuses on criminal defense and has years of experience in defending serious felonies on 26th St., please call us at (312) 346-5320 or fill out our contact us form and we will contact you. You will get to speak to one of our attorneys in confidence and we will do whatever we can to point you in the right direction.