Friday, December 20, 2013

IL Supreme Court scheduled to hear State's appeal of judge's dismissal of Melongo eavesdropping case in a few weeks -- and the ACLU has filed an amicus brief on her behalf

"After stinging defeat, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez is appealing judge's dismissal of eavesdropping charges against Chicago woman jailed 20 months for recording a few phone calls."

That was the headline of an August 9, 2012 Sidebar article.

The sting was that a powerful prosecutor with vast resources was legally bested by Annabel Melongo, a near-destitute woman with no formal legal training, who represented herself in the case.

Today I learned that in a few weeks the State's appeal of the lower court judge's dismissal of the charges -- on the grounds that the IL Eavesdropping Act is unconstitutional -- is scheduled to be heard by the Illinois Supreme Court.

But this time around, Melongo's not on her own.

Gabriel Plotkin (source)
This afternoon Gabriel Plotkin of the Chicago law firm Miller Shakman and Beem told me he and his colleagues will be representing Melongo and arguing on her behalf in front of the Supreme Court.

Click here to download the 60-page Defendant-Appellee brief filed December 6 on her behalf.

Click here to download the Plaintiff-Appellant brief filed by IL Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Alvarez.

And earlier this month, the Chicago office of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of Melongo. Page down to view; click here to download a copy.

According to documents posted on, the website tracking Melongo's case, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear her team's oral argument on January 14th at 9.30am at the Michael A. Bilandic Building, 18th floor, at 160 N. LaSalle Street in Chicago.

(According to the court schedule, the Supreme Court Building in downstate Springfield is being renovated during January, so perhaps some Chicago reporters will show up.)

Finally, as I reported last week, a federal civil rights lawsuit was filed in July against Alvarez, IL Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, and other county justice system employees by Melongo, who per the complaint filed in the case, "endured extraordinary hardships and underwent incalculable loss, pain and humiliation for which she's now seeking redress."