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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Illinois Supreme Court hearing oral arguments at NIU

Letters reading “DUKE ELLINGTON BALLROOM” hang on a wall in the Holmes Student Center. The Illinois Supreme Court will hear two oral arguments on Thursday at NIU. (Northern Star file photo)

DeKALB – Students are invited on Thursday to fill the Duke Ellington Ballroom and observe two Illinois Supreme Court hearings.

From 10 a.m. to noon, the Illinois Supreme Court will hear oral arguments at NIU in the Duke Ellington Ballroom.

Doors open at 9 a.m. and all guests are asked to be seated by 9:30 a.m,” according to the NIU College of Law website

There are two separate cases to be presented in NIU’s Duke Ellington Ballroom – People v. Flournoy and Andrew W. Levenfeld & Assoc. V. O’Brien.


People v. Flournoy is a case of armed robbery and first-degree murder at a car dealership in 1991. The defendant, Johnny Flournoy, filed a plea stating new evidence shows he is innocent, he believes evidence was fabricated and he had ineffective assistance of counsel.

In 2022, lower courts denied the defendants’ appeal of his sentence, according to the Illinois Appellate court.

“The ‘new’ evidence is not of such a character that it would be likely to change the result on retrial,” said the Illinois Appellate court. “(The) defendant’s claim that the State used false evidence against him at trial is barred by the doctrine of res judicata and, in any event, (the) defendant cannot show prejudice. (The) defendant’s claim of ineffective assistance of counsel due to counsel’s failure to investigate a witness does not entitle him to relief because he cannot show prejudice.” 


Andrew W. Levenfeld is an attorney who was hired by defendants Maureen O’Brien and Daniel O’Brien III to settle an estate dispute. The O’Brien’s fired Levenfeld, and then two months later had the dispute settled.

Levenfeld wants his legal fees for the work he did prior to being fired.

“Plaintiffs contended, inter alia, that they were entitled to recover the value of their legal services with reference to their contingency fee agreement with defendants because defendants fired plaintiffs only two months before defendants, represented by new counsel, settled their dispute with the other estate holders under terms similar to those negotiated by plaintiffs prior to their dismissal,” according to the Illinois Official Reports

NIU classes like TLEE 342 are requiring students to attend the event.

The Illinois Supreme Court has traveled to other colleges like Chicago State University.

The event is also available online for people to live stream

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