skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 82666 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Justice in Extremis - Administration of Justice During the April 1968 Chicago Disorder
Project Director: B F Christensen
Date Published: 1969
Page Count: 162
Sponsoring Agency: American Bar Foundation
Chicago, IL 60611
University of Chicago
Chicago, IL 60637
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examines the functioning of the Cook County, Ill., criminal justice system in response to the mass arrests made during the riot which followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968.
Abstract: The study focuses on charging policy, the bail-setting process, and the disposition of riot cases. Also explored are the problem of preventive detention and the tension between due process and efficient judicial administration. Wherever possible, use is made of relevant information on the operation of the Cook County criminal system under normal conditions and during past mass arrest situations. The analysis of justice during the 1968 riot is based primarily on a statistical analysis of the official arrest and court records of 2,189 adults arrested between 7 p.m. on April 4 and 7 p.m. on April 11 and processed through the emergency branch of the Municipal Division of the Cook County Circuit Court. The evidence indicated that under stress, the lower criminal courts of Chicago had allowed the rights of defendants to be seriously abused. This abuse included poor conditions in the jails; the inability of arrestees to contact friends, relatives, or lawyers, or to post bail; the authorities' refusal to conduct bond reduction hearings until days after the riot was officially proclaimed to be over, and the system's hostility toward volunteer lawyers and law students. Many of the deficiencies characterizing the 1968 mass arrests were rooted in serious structural infirmities in the criminal process which were only magnified by the mass arrests. Only basic social and judicial reforms will ultimately secure fair and effective administration of criminal justice. Tabular data are provided, along with 481 footnotes. (Author summary modified)
Index Term(s): Civil disorders; Illinois; Mass arrest procedures; Systems analysis
Note: Reprinted from The University of Chicago Law Review, V 36, N 3 (Spring 1969), P 455-613
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.