Two Cook County lawyers want the nation’s top court to hear a challenge to the Illinois Supreme Court’s orders suspending the state’s speedy-trial law during the pandemic.

George Jackson III and Edward Grossman filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of a criminal defendant awaiting trial in Cook County Jail. Their client, Anthony Jackson, faces murder charges in connection with the killing of Sanchez Mixon on a CTA platform in March 2013.

Grossman is a partner at Grossman and Grossman Inc. in Palos Heights, and Jackson is with Dred Scott LLP.

George Jackson is Anthony Jackson’s older brother.

The attorneys argue the Illinois Supreme Court’s orders in March and April violate their client’s rights to due process and a speedy trial under Illinois law and the U.S. Constitution.

The orders allowed Illinois judges to pause the time period codified in Illinois statute as a criminal defendant’s right to a speedy trial.

George Jackson initially filed a motion in the Illinois Supreme Court, asking the court to vacate its own orders. The Illinois Supreme Court denied the motion in April.

The petition before the U.S. Supreme Court was issued a docket number last week.

George Jackson and Grossman claim the Illinois Supreme Court lacks the authority under its supervisory powers to “toll” the speedy trial clock for all criminal cases.

They also argue the Illinois Supreme Court’s orders issued March 20, April 3 and April 7 should be void because the high court lacks jurisdiction to rule on Anthony Jackson’s criminal case.

The April 7 order, unlike the previous ones, stated that “[t]he continuances occasioned by this [o]rder serve the ends of justice,” and “such continuances shall be excluded from speedy trial computations,” in the state’s speedy trial law.

The speedy trial law requires criminal defendants held in jail to be tried by the court within 120 consecutive days from the date taken into custody.  Individuals released on bail or recognizance must be tried within 160 days from the date a trial was requested.

The law also provides six specific exceptions to justify delays.

“The addition of ends-of-justice basis for the April 7 order tacitly admits the two previous orders lacked sufficient authority,” the petition states. “None of the six exceptions exist in petitioner’s case. The [speedy trial act] simply has not provided an avenue to toll the speedy trial term based on public safety labeled as ‘ends-of-justice.’”

George Jackson said he understands the slim likelihood of having his case accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“It would be extremely rare,” he said. “That’s what I’m fighting against.”

The Illinois Supreme Court is represented by Illinois Assistant Attorney General Michael M. Glick.

A spokesperson for the AG’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

This petition before the U.S. Supreme Court  is Anthony Jackson v. Supreme Court of Illinois, 19-8665.