Grand Avenue Branch Court
The Grand Avenue Branch court is located at 5555 West Grand Avenue in Chicago and is attached to the Chicago district police station just east of North Central Avenue. Felony cases are heard in Branch 50, whereas misdemeanors cases are heard in Branch 23. There is limited free parking at this location in a nearby parking lot.
SEXNER’S PRO LEGAL TIP: When charged with a felony in Chicago, the first stop after a bond hearing is always a “preliminary hearing”, which is held at one of the branch court locations such as Branch 50. In a preliminary hearing, your attorney has at least a fighting chance to challenge the charge against you and try to convince the judge that there is no “probable cause” to believe that a crime was committed. When this can be done, the case can be dismissed right from the start.
But the State’s Attorney is under no obligation to allow a preliminary hearing to proceed and they can instead choose to proceed by way of indictment. It is entirely their choice. What is an indictment? It is when the prosecutor decides that rather than let you and your attorney challenge the case in open court in front of a judge, they instead decide to take the case in secret in front of a Grand Jury (which is a group of people selected from the community) and have the Chicago police officer testify in front of them instead.
The Grand Jury then decides (not the judge) whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed. If they say yes, then the case proceeds. If they say no, then the case is dismissed. Of course, when a case is done like this by indictment, the defendant and his/her attorney are not even present, so they cannot argue in front of the Grand Jury to try to convince them in their favor.
What? A secret proceeding? How can that be constitutional? Well, it’s legal and it’s been around for hundreds of years. As a matter of fact, although most cases in Cook County don’t proceed by way of indictment, in other nearby counties in Illinois such as DuPage, Kane, Lake, Will and McHenry, virtually every felony case is started this way.
Map to Grand Avenue Branch Court