G. FLINT TAYLOR, a graduate of Brown University and Northwestern Law School, is a founding partner of the People’s Law Office in Chicago, an office which has been dedicated to litigating civil rights, police violence, government misconduct, and death penalty cases for 45 years. Among the landmark cases that Mr. Taylor has litigated are the Fred Hampton Black Panther case; the Greensboro, North Carolina case against the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis; the Ford Heights Four case in which four innocent men received a record $36 million settlement for their wrongful conviction and imprisonment; and a series of cases arising from a pattern and practice of police torture and cover-up by former Chicago police commander Jon Burge, former Mayor Richard M. Daley, former State’s Attorney Richard Devine, and numerous other police and government officials, five of which have been settled against the City of Chicago and Cook County for a total of approximately $26 million. He obtained a multi-million dollar settlement for a seven year old boy who was falsely accused by the Chicago Police of the murder of 11 year old Ryan Harris and has represented, and continues to represent, numerous other wrongfully convicted persons who have spent decades in prison and on death row, including Burge torture victims Michael Tillman, Darrell Cannon, Ronald Kitchen, Alonzo Smith, Anthony Holmes, Victor Safforld, Shawn Whirl, and Jackie Wilson, exonerees Randy Steidl, Paul Terry, Ronald Jones, Jerry Miller, Oscar Walden, Lewis Gardner, Paul Phillips, Terrill Swift, and Jonathan Barr, and the first woman jailhouse lawyer in Illinois, Maxine Smith.
Taylor’s work in fighting against police torture in Chicago over the past 29 years has been instrumental in obtaining the conviction and imprisonment of police torture ringleader Jon Burge and the precedent setting decision that upheld the inclusion of former Mayor Richard M. Daley as a co-conspiring defendant in the Tillman civil rights case. He also worked with the movement to obtain reparations for 60 survivors of Chicago police torture. He has also represented Nanci Koschman in her case against the CPD and SAO for covering up the truth about the death of her son in order to protect the Daley family, was one of the lead lawyers in obtaining a $5 million settlement for 74 victims of illegal strip and body cavity searches by the Milwaukee Police Department, and now represents three victims of torture and abuse at the CPD’s secret interrogation site, known as Homan Square.
Taylor also played a major role in the George Jones “street files” case that uncovered the unlawful Chicago police practice of keeping one set of files to be produced to defense lawyers while maintaining another secret set of files that often contained exculpatory evidence. This case dramatically changed the criminal discovery process in Cook County and also led to the groundbreaking wrongful prosecution verdict in Jones v. City of Chicago. As a police brutality litigator, he has been instrumental in pioneering and litigating Monell pattern and practice claims against municipalities, particularly in the areas of repeater cops, police discipline, the police code of silence, and domestic violence by police officers. Taylor also played a key role in major litigation brought against the Marion Federal Penitentiary, Stateville and Pontiac prisons in the areas of unconstitutional segregation, cruel and unusual conditions of confinement, and behavior modification.
Mr. Taylor is also an accomplished appellate advocate, and successfully argued the cases of Cleavinger v. Saxner and Buckley v. Fitzsimmons before the United States Supreme Court, as well as numerous cases before Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal and the Illinois Supreme Court.
Mr. Taylor is a longtime National Lawyers Guild member, a founding editor of the Police Misconduct and Civil Rights Law Reporter, has extensively written and lectured in the field of civil rights litigation and police torture, and frequently appears on radio and television and at other public forums to discuss these topics. He has authored four law review articles on these subjects, and his articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun Times, The Nation, In These Times, the Huffington Post, Truthout, and Portside.
In 1975 Mr. Taylor was honored, along with his law partner Jeffrey Haas, for his work on the Fred Hampton case by being named by the Chicago Reader as members of the “Heavy 75,”, in 1977, with Haas, as an Advocate For Our Freedom for “representing a rare breed of legal advocates who take on the contemporary Sacco and Vanzetti or Scottsboro cases,” in 1986 he was nominated for the Durfee Foundation Award for his work in “enhancing the human dignity of others through legal institutions,” and, in 1989, again with Haas, received the Citizens Alert Fighters For Justice Award. He is the 2008 recipient of the William R. Ming Jr. Award of the Cook County Bar Association, given to a lawyer “for dedication and significant contribution to the causes of civil rights and individual liberties;” and in 2009 was awarded the First Defense Legal Aid First Defender Award for his “tireless commitment to protecting the civil rights of Chicago citizens.” He was also the recipient of the National Lawyers Guild’s 2009 Ernie Goodman Award “in recognition of extraordinary achievement by a National Lawyers Guild lawyer;” the 2009 Rainbow PUSH Father to the Community Award; the 2010 Jenner and Block award from the Northwestern Center on Wrongful Convictions for his “unflagging struggle against police brutality and racial repression under color of law;” with his law partners Joey Mogul and John Stainthorp, the 2010 Chicago National Lawyers Guild Arthur Kinoy Award for their “commitment to the struggle for justice for the survivors of torture;” the 2011 SFPIF Northwestern Law School Distinguished Alumnus Award for his “outstanding commitment to public service;” with his co-counsel Locke Bowman and Alexa Van Brunt, the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization’s 2014 Legal Eagle Award; and the 2016 Nelson Algren Humanitarian Award as “a conscience in touch with humanity.”
In 2002 he was named by Chicago Magazine as one of Chicago’s “30 Toughest Lawyers;” and by his peers as a “Leading Lawyer” in 2003, and 2015, as a “Super Lawyer” in 2007, 2008, and 2009, in 2015 as a member of the “Nation’s Top One Percent” by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel, and in 2016 as a “Top Lawyer” in the Global Directory of Who’s Who.
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