Judith Sherwin, the Chicago attorney hired to file a federal suit against the State of Illinois on behalf of guardians and residents of the Warren G. Murray Developmental Center in Centralia was in town yesterday and toured the facility along with another attorney from her firm who has been helping with the case.
Sherwin says they met with guardians and residents of the facility before going to Calumet Christian Church for a period of questions and answers, ultimately splitting up and speaking with individual guardians.
According to Sherwin, despite the state’s insistence that there are no plans to close all developmental centers in Illinois, multiple guardians say they have been told by top human services administration that is indeed the ultimate plan.
Sherwin says that information will be extremely valuable in the next step of the lawsuit, which seeks a temporary injunction against the closure of the Murray Center.
The state’s response to the request for the injunction came as no surprise to Sherwin, who says she will file a reply by April 15. She hopes the federal judge on the case will call for an evidentiary hearing before making a judgment.
She says the judge is very aware of the need to make his decision quickly, as the closure date for the Murray Center is looming later this year. But she is hopeful they have enough for the judge to order the requested injunction.
While Democrat Governor Pat Quinn pushes for the closure of the Murray Center, Republican Senator and likely gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard told a crowd over the weekend at the Marion County Lincoln Day dinner, that he would not close the facility.