Just who is it who is assaulting the legal Bar?

Posted: June 7, 2010 by tennesseetree in Local Issues

<b><big>Charge: Aggravated battery and resisting  arrest</big></b><br><a  href=

Cook County Sheriff’s Office photo / June 4, 2010

An individual allegedly assaults an attorney in a criminal courthouse:  allegedly gets”on top of the victim … choking him with both hands around his neck” and “When two sheriff’s deputies tried to pull”…him ” off the victim,”…he,” continued choking him with one hand and attempted to resist the deputy’s efforts with his other hand,”!!

The incident is alleged to have occurred, and probably did, since obviously sheriff deputies were required to pull him off the attorney. This incident happened June 3, 2010, in Chicago, as reported in various Illinois media, including the Chicago Sun-Times article here. What is surprising is that the assailant isn’t a common criminal or ordinary citizen. The assailant is an Assistant Cook County public defender, one Henry Hams, who has been a PD for 21 years. Even more astonishing is that Attorney Hams, who was arrested, was later released on his own recognizance after spending just one night in the Cook County Jail without being required to post any money bond despite incurring two charges: aggravated battery (not attempted murder?) and resisting arrest! One of the Sheriff’s deputies was injured along with the victim attorney, a prosecutor.

Then, Friday, the next day, when he bonds out of court, Hams allegedly has another confrontation with a CBS 2 photographer whom he allegedly shoves when she attempts to question him! So far, Hams also gets to keep his job, although he has to stay away from the prosecutor and deputies.

It gets even better! You or I allegedly committing the same acts here in Rockford and Winnebago County Illinois, would be quickly arrested, probably denied the opportunity for any bail posting, and would surely lose our jobs as well. The local authorities will throw the book at any member of the public who threatens much less assaults a member of the local bar. (Fact is you don’t even have to be proven to have done so here; after all, Richard Wanke got yanked off the street and got a 14 year sentence just for being “a person of interest” in the Greg Clark murder investigation). Yet, you read this second article from CBS2  about the Hams incident and you find another altogether different attitude exists in the Chicago Criminal Courthouse regarding similar attorney-attorney disputes:

“Although such altercations may seem rare, both Hams’ attorney and boss say they’ve seen them before.

“I’ve heard two attorneys going at it. I’ve seen jurors going at it in the sanctity of the jury room. I’ve seen judges going at it. I’ve seen sheriffs going at it. Nothing surprises me in this building,” Kling says.

“It’s a very unfortunate situation,” Cunningham said. “Years ago, when I was a young state’s attorney, if this situation had come up, it would have been resolved over a handshake or beer and drinks.”

So, the question is, if this is what happens in Chicago Criminal Court, then what is really taking place in the Winnebago County Courthouse? Tell us it ain’t so, and that this double-standard doesn’t apply here too! With lawyers like these, who needs criminals?

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