Lester W. Finkle is Of Counsel in the Chicago office at Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. Mr. Finkle has spent his 37-year legal career in the Cook County Public Defender's Office serving as Chief of Staff, as chief and attorney supervisor of the Legal Resources Division, as a trial attorney with the Juvenile Division, and as a felony trial attorney at the George N. Leighton Criminal Courts Building. He has handled appeals, post-conviction petitions, indigent appeals, and has represented child protection clients and juvenile justice delinquency clients.
Mr. Finkle has extensive experience in Illinois state courts where he has devoted 25 years of his legal career to appellate practice; filing over 600 appellate briefs and presenting over 50 oral arguments before the Illinois Supreme and Appellate Courts. He has acted as first-chair trial attorney in nine jury trials and has second-chaired in two jury trials. Since 1997 he serves as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law (formerly known as John Marshall Law School); served as adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law from 2007 to 2014, teaching appellate writing and oral advocacy; and from 1993 to 1995, was a corrections law instructor with the Chicago Citywide Colleges, providing legal instruction to incoming Cook County Sheriff Correctional Officers.
As the Public Defender's Chief of Staff, he negotiated, approved and monitored collective bargaining agreements with three separate union locals. He has worked with various community groups on bail reform, police station representation and police reform.
- Burnette v. Terrell, 232 Ill. 2d 522 (2009) - held that a trial court has no right to pick and choose the assistant public defender assigned to a courtroom or cases; actions by trial court infringed on the statutory authority of the Public Defender.
- City v. Le Mirage, 2011 IL App (1st) 093547, remanded by 2013 IL 113482, new sentence ordered at 2013 IL App (1st) 093547 - owners of E2 nightclub convicted of a building code violation and sentenced to two years in prison. Appellate Court reversed based on reasonable doubt. Supreme Court reversed and remanded for further consideration. Appellate Court vacated the prison sentence, because the deaths and injuries from the nightclub tragedy were not proximately caused by any failure to comply with a building court order to repair the roof.
- People v. Herron, 215 Ill. 2d 167 (2005) - Supreme Court retained the "closely balanced evidence" prongs of the plain error test used under Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 451(c), and rejected argument to embrace the federal test. Defendant was entitled to a new trial due to improper jury instruction on eyewitness testimony.
- People v. Terrell, 185 Ill. 2d 467 (1998) - death penalty appeal which raised 28 issues; defendant's conviction and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal, while the death sentence was later vacated in 2003.
- People v. Bannister, 236 Ill. 2d 1 (2009) - co-defendant in a murder case signed a plea agreement requiring that he testify consistently with prior statements he gave; by a 4-3 vote, the Court held that a consistency clause did not violate due process because the co-defendant also promised to testify truthfully.
Mr. Finkle received his Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law in 1982 and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1979, graduating with a major in English and minor in Psychology. While in law school, he served as a features editor - from 1978 to 1979 - for The Daily Illini, the school's daily newspaper.
He is licensed to practice law in Illinois and is a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, and American Bar Association.
In his community, he serves in Law Camp, where he lectures on criminal law to high school students and others considering a future in the law. And from 1993 to 2000, he served as a volunteer attorney at Chicago Legal Aid to Incarcerated Mothers (CLAIM) providing legal aid and instruction at the Cook County Department of Corrections.
Mr. Finkle has hosted close to 80 seminars, lectures, presentations and continuing legal education (CLE) lectures on a myriad of topics including:
- Appellate seminars
- Child protection appeals
- Legal writing and storytelling
- Leadership training
- Implicit bias in criminal justice
- Evidentiary rules
- Crawford v. Washington - hearsay statements and rules of evidence
- Electronically recorded interrogations
- Fourth Amendment seminars - unreasonable searches and seizures by the government
- Second Amendment seminars - the right to keep and bear arms
- Investigating ineffective claims
- Sentencing considerations
- Death penalty seminars
- John Marshall seminars
- Chicago Bar Basic Skills classes
- Expungement training
Basic legal research and investigation of criminal cases
Areas of Practice
DePaul University College of Law, J.D. (1982)
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, B.A. (1979)