Jeffrey Toobin Discusses the Ascent of Supreme Court Justice Nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Toobin’s article recounts Judge Kavanaugh’s legal history. For those unaware, prior to becoming a judge, Kavanaugh was a Republican lawyer and activist who clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy and was a principal author of the now infamous Starr report. Kavanaugh worked on the legal team to prevent Elian Gonzalez’s father from returning his son to Cuba and on George W. Bush’s legal team to stop the recount of votes during the 2000 Presidential election. Bush recruited Kavanaugh to serve as his staff secretary before nominating him to the D.C. Circuit in 2006. As a D.C. Circuit Judge, Kavanaugh wrote in a dissent regarding the Affordable Care Act that “Under the Constitution, the President may decline to enforce a statute that regulates private individuals when the President deems the statute unconstitutional, even if a court has held or would hold the statue constitutional.” Of current import, Kavanaugh wrote in a 2009 law review article, that a President should be allowed to avoid questioning from law-enforcement officials and Congress should consider a law exempting a sitting President from criminal investigation and prosecution.


Jacqueline Carroll Obtains Appellate Win Affirming Summary Judgment

We are thrilled to have former Assistant State’s Attorney, Jacqueline Carroll on our team at the Bernstein Law Firm.

Prior to joining the Bernstein Law Firm in September of 2017, Jacqueline was an Assistant State’s Attorney at the Cook County State Attorney’s Office for over eleven years. She spent five years as a criminal prosecutor and six years representing county employees in civil cases, primarily in Federal Court.

During her time as an Assistant State’s Attorney, Jacqueline, and her co-counsel, successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of their clients, convincing the trial court in the Circuit Cook County that the Plaintiff failed to sufficiently establish claims for malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The Plaintiff subsequently appealed, and on November 17, 2017, the Illinois Appellate Court, First Judicial District affirmed the trial court’s ruling based upon the appellate brief authored by Jacqueline.

For more information on Jacqueline Carroll or the Bernstein Law Firm, visit our website at


Seventh Circuit Judge Ilana Rovner’s Opinion on the Brendan Dassey Confession and his Subsequent Conviction

Emmy-winning Netflix Series ‘Making a Murderer’ has continued to generate controversy since its premiere in December of 2015. One of the series’ primary focuses, Brendan Dassey, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder and sexual assault of photographer Teresa Halbach in 2007. Since then, public awareness and scrutiny of unethical interview techniques used by police officials has come to the forefront. Dassey was only 16 at the time of his confession, and Rovner’s Opinion asserts that authorities took advantage of Dassey’s youth and cognitive disabilities in order to coerce him into a confession. During the interview process, Dassey was fed leading questions, and interviewed on four separate occasions without the presence of a legal guardian or legal aid. Investigators were said to have discouraged Dassey’s mother, Barbara Janda, from being present during the interviews. Dassey ultimately confessed to the murder of Halbach on March 1, 2006, one year after murder was said to have taken place.

Dassey, now 27 years old, is currently incarcerated at Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin, serving a life sentence with eligibility for parole in 2048. Oral arguments for the “en-banc” re-hearing will be heard on September 26, 2017 in Chicago, IL. An en banc review involves the entire panel of judges rather than just the panel who made the initial ruling. This rehearing has sparked much discussion. In Rovner’s Opinion, Dassey’s age at the time of the confession and the absence of a parent or guardian should render the confession inadmissible. Rovner states “Courts must pay close attention to voluntariness when manipulative interrogation techniques are used, particularly on the young and intellectually challenged.”

Today, Dassey asserts his innocence and claims to have been manipulated and pressured by police officials during the time of the investigation. Dassey’s case is not exceptional. Many other cases of children, teenagers, and young adults with cognitive impairments have been scrutinized over the years. After the success of Making a Murderer, Netflix premiered another crime docuseries, The Confession Tapes, about coerced confessions, like Dassey’s case.

For more information on Brendan Dassey’s case and conviction, check out the Netflix docuseries. You can also read Judge Rovner’s full Opinion below. 


James Trail Obtains Dismissal in a Multi-Count Securities Fraud Case

James Trail’s successful dismissal of a multi-count securities fraud complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against one of the firm’s clients, recently resulted in a front-page article in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (Howe v. Shchekin). In a published opinion (238 F. Supp. 3d 1046 (2017), U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee rejected application of the “continuing fraudulent scheme theory,” as applied by district courts outside of the Seventh Circuit, and affirmed the district’s position that statutes of repose are not subject to equitable tolling. James succeeded in arguing that plaintiffs could not rely upon his client’s (Shchekin) alleged misrepresentations that occurred outside the operative period of repose. This was James’s second published dismissal (Babin v. Shchekin, 2017 WL 403568) in a related securities fraud case for the same client. Below you can read more on the Howe vs. Shchekin case.