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Zimmerman Law Offices files Class Action lawsuit against the Cook County Sheriff for Allegedly Secretly Viewing and Videotaping People using the Toilet

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PRESS CONFERENCE on AUGUST 8, 2018 at 2:00 p.m.

Zimmerman Law Offices, 77 W. Washington St., Suite 1220,
Chicago, IL 60602

Attorney Thomas Zimmerman of the Chicago-based Zimmerman Law Offices
today filed a class action lawsuit against Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart,
and the County of Cook, Illinois. The suit alleges the Cook County
Sheriff's Office has a policy of mandating that its Sheriff's deputies
secretly monitor in real time and video record all pretrial detainees
while they use the toilets in holding cells. The video recordings can be
viewed by Sheriff's deputies for 30 days.

The case, Elizabeth Alicea, et al. v. County of Cook, et al., was
filed in the federal U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
Illinois.

Pretrial detainees are temporarily held in Cook County holding cells
while they wait to see a judge to post bail after an arrest. Every
holding cell has a toilet, and there are solid partitions or dividing
walls that separate the toilet area from the rest of the holding cell so
that the person cannot be seen by anyone else in the cell.

However, according to the suit, hidden cameras installed in the holding
cells have an unobstructed view of the toilet and a person's genitals
when he/she is using the toilet. The video feeds from the holding cell
cameras are continually monitored by Cook County Sheriff's deputies from
a monitoring room that is staffed by both male and female Sheriff's
deputies who monitor all pretrial detainees—regardless of whether they
are male or female—in the holding cells. The complaint alleges that all
pretrial detainees are searched prior to being placed in a holding cell,
and there are no oral or written notifications that the people are being
monitored while they are using the toilet.

According to the complaint, the Sheriff's conduct of monitoring pretrial
detainees when using the toilet constitutes an unconstitutional search
in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, and also
constitutes an invasion of privacy. The lawsuit seeks to halt this
secret monitoring and compensate the pretrial detainees for their
humiliation and embarrassment.

According to Thomas A. Zimmerman, Jr., counsel for the plaintiffs, "Even
when they are in the Sheriff's custody, people retain an expectation of
privacy in their naked bodies, genitals, and bodily functions, and they
have a right to prevent their naked bodies from be viewed by members of
the opposite sex."

At the press conference, two of
the plaintiffs will be present for comment, and copies of the class
action lawsuit and a photograph of a toilet from a holding cell camera
feed will be distributed.

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