Defending Scott Turow | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Defending Scott Turow




To the editor:

With cocounsel, I represented Alejandro Hernandez at two of his three trials. He was a codefendant of Rolando Cruz, the subject of your November 13 cover story.

I am fond of Rolando, and he's made impressive progress given his decade of sensory deprivation on death row. He has been an articulate spokesperson for those who have experienced profound suffering at the hands of morally corrupt prosecutors and means-justify-the-ends judges. That said, I must register my strong disagreement with his comments about Scott Turow.

It was I who approached Turow to take on the appellate representation of Hernandez. There were some in our group of defense attorneys who took exception to this choice. Is it really appropriate, it was asked, to recruit as counsel for this particular client a wealthy celebrity and partner in a giant silk-stocking law firm? While there was divergent opinion about his best-selling novels, he was viewed throughout the legal community as a superlative lawyer. Turow ultimately took the case and wrote brilliant briefs that persuaded the appellate court to overturn Alejandro's conviction.

I was present on numerous occasions when Turow deflected requests by national media for interviews about the case. When Nightline, for example, wanted him after Cruz's acquittal, Turow insisted I appear in his place. More than anything, he wanted to avoid the case becoming about him rather than about his client. Rolando's characterizations of Scott as craving press attention are ludicrous. Cruz is to be forgiven for his confusion about this, but he also needs to be corrected.

Jeff Urdangen

S. Dearborn

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