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DePaul Law hosts 'Crook County' author Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve


Author Nicole Gonzales Van Cleve discussed her book Crook County at DePaul Law
Author Nicole Gonzales Van Cleve discusses her book, Crook County: Racism and Injustice in Chicago's Largest Criminal Court, at DePaul Law.
DePaul University College of Law's Journal of Social Justice welcomed author Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve for a talk about her new book, Crook County: Racism and Injustice in Chicago's Largest Criminal Court. Crook County emerged from Van Cleve's 15 years of field research into Chicago's criminal court system, and her analysis of the racially biased culture that permeates it. She and her staff interviewed judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and other members of the legal community and discovered the various types of discrimination (both explicit and implicit) that occurs at multiple levels of the law.

Attendees praised the event and what they learned from Van Cleve's insights into the judicial system. Javier Roman, an employee at a Chicago Boys and Girls Club as well as an interviewee for Crook County, discussed his experiences with people in need and expressed the universal problem that "no one is trying to understand the why [individuals may commit crimes]." DePaul College of Law students also felt the presentation enhanced their understanding of their future careers. Patricia Hudson, a 3L, found the talk "insightful, thought-provoking, and encouraging! As an African-American and future attorney, I can completely recognize the issues that Dr. Van Cleve has presented to the rest of society," and it further encouraged her "to continue to figure out my role within the law community." Another 3L, Tobin Klusty, who interns with the Cook County Public Defender's Office, called it "eye opening." He continued that although the discovery that "Cook County frequently discriminates against people of color is disturbing, the end of [Van Cleve's] speech was inspiring - future lawyers and the community can work together to stop discrimination in Cook County."

DePaul Journal of Social Justice hosted the program and received support from the Center for Public Interest Law and the DePaul University Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity.