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Mauck & Baker, located in downtown Chicago is nationally known for representing churches, religious institutions, businesses and individuals. Our monthly newsletter covers topics relating to religious news and legal information relevant to our practice. Please forward our newsletter on to others interested in religious freedom.

Church Interest 
Anti-Polygamy Law weakened in Utah by Federal Judge in Brown v. Buhman. See the ruling and an article by Religion and Politics on  the history of the state's anti-polygamy law. 

Starting a New Church? Church Law and Tax gives some tips in this infographic

Alliance Defending Freedom shares some ideas for seven church bylaws and suggested language for a statement on marriage.


Mauck & Baker News

Congratulations to Attorney Noel W. Sterett for being listed in SuperLawyer 2014 under Land Use & Zoning. 

The TLC mobile ultrasound unit took part in the March for Life on Sunday, January 19. Attorney Richard Baker was in attendance for the march that brought together both political figures and religious personalities to promote pro-life values. 
 Photo credit: TC Public Relations
Mauck & Baker reached a settlement for TLC Pregnancy Services with the city of Elgin. Elgin will amend their zoning ordinance to allow the mobile unit to operate freely and will also compensate TLC for some of its attorneys' fees. See our press release for more details as well as news coverage by Chicago Tribune, Courier News, and Daily Herald.

Criminal Law: Going Solo   

Ed Moor joins the office space of Mauck & Baker to begin a new practice
In a sea of skyscrapers, One North LaSalle Building has the distinction of a corner clock to separate it from the crowd. Above the street on the sixth floor, Mauck & Baker's office is home to seven of its own attorneys, along with a public relations consultant and five outside attorneys. Edward Moor is the most recent tenant to join Mauck & Baker's office space.


A former trial attorney at firms such as Williams, Montgomery & John and Jack Ring & Associates, Moor recently started his own practice working in areas of law such as product liability and personal injury as well as a new area-criminal law.


With two criminal cases already-both involving murder, Moor isn't wasting any time getting involved in the criminal system as a defense attorney.




An unlikely beginning


Moor didn't have a lifelong dream to become a lawyer or desire to participate in the legal profession until his early 20's. As a master's student at Indiana University in Bloomington, Moor studied sociology without much direction for his future after graduation. That all changed during an unplanned trip to court.


"I had some friends who wanted to protest the '84 election," said Moor, referring to their opposition to a former voting law in Indiana prohibiting the casting of a write-in ballot and closing of voter registration 30 days before the polling. The group demonstrated at a polling station on the day of the election.


The law was later found unconstitutional in Paul v. State of Indiana Election Board in 1990, but meanwhile, Moor and his friends were arrested for demonstrating. And after the prosecutor decided to bring the disorderly group to court, Moor found himself facing a judge to defend his actions. Being at the mercy of the court with his freedom at stake was a frightening experience, according to Moor, but his time in front of a judge would come to be the first of many.


"I represented myself in a five day jury trial and was acquitted," explains Moor, while two friends were put in jail because they were disrespectful of the judge. Moor found the he enjoyed his first experience at court and decided to go to law school at IU...with a recommendation from the judge at his trial.


Even though his interests in the legal system really began in criminal law, working for an established litigation firm seemed a more financially savvy choice for a recent graduate looking to pay off student loans. So, he began working in Chicago on insurance law, product liability, personal injury and even aviation litigation working his way up from associate to partner until 2013.  In the fall of last year Moor decided to pursue criminal law, but was not only more experienced as an attorney, but was in a different place in his faith.



Another perspective


In the mid 90's, Moor became a Christian and got involved in prison ministry through his church First Presbyterian in Evanston, allowing him to see crime from another side. Working in prison ministry showed him that for some, the years locked away from society became an opportunity for spiritual change as he watched inmates and former inmates transformed by the Gospel.


"You meet people who are very alone and alienated and often forgotten, and you basically fellowship with them," said Moor.  "I don't think that any person charged with a crime, any crime should ever be shunned." And it's this understanding of prison not just as a correct facility, but a catalyst for redemptive reform that allows Moor to see that a criminal conviction could be an opportunity for faith.


"There's actually a pretty healthy Christian community in the prisons," explains Moor, pointing out the state and federal prisons have chaplains, prison ministries often fund chaplains in county jails, and sometimes Christian inmates will initiate group gatherings with other inmates. 


Moor also anticipates opportunities to present clients with Biblical truth during trial. Ministering to his clients by offering prayer and encouragement isn't an easy task considering his clients will have the penalty of a prison sentence if they are convicted.


"In representing a person at what is often the hardest time in their life, the Lord may open the door for me to share the Good News effectively or otherwise work in a defendant's heart," said Moor. "God knows both who we are now and what we will become, so a defense lawyer's duty is to give every defendant their best now no matter what."


Learning curve


With years of trial experience already behind him, Moor is knowledgeable of court proceedings, but still has complex criminal laws to learn.    


"A lot of lawyers think criminal law is easy.  Really it's not." said Moor. "There's so much law that you have to know and exercise on behalf of your client and it's important that you do it the right way," said Moor. "What I'm finding is it's exciting, but it's not easy."  


With a first-degree murder case and an attempted first-degree murder case, Moor will go before a judge and jury who will determine whether his clients will serve a sentence and the length of that jail sentence which could be from 25 years to life in prison. And although the penalties are serious, Moor wants to help those alleged of committing a crime and give them fair representation before the court because as a matter of law everyone has the right to full due process under the Bill of Rights.


"That's more rewarding in a lot of ways than other kinds of cases to me because other kinds of cases usually just boil down to money in some form or fashion," said Moor. "In criminal law you're talking about a person's liberty." 



Gospel Justice

Iam a P.K. - preacher's kid - who loves the church. I grew up in it. Literally. Our house was next door to the church and people were always in our house, and we were always in the church. My brother and I loved to race cars on the hardwood floor under the pews in the sanctuary. That might not be bad except the time we were doing it in the middle of dad's sermon: "Boys, this is the house of God - not your house. Stop playing!"


I think a lot of people today are playing church. We think of the church as our house and in the midst of planning programming and activities we forget whose house we are in. Israel often did the same. "When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony? Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts... I want no more of your pious meetings... When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims... Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows." Isa. 1:12,13, 15, 17 NLT. God continuously challenges us to pursue justice as a true demonstration of worship (Isa. 58; Amos 5; Zech. 7; Mt. 25:31-46, Jms. 1:27).


But how do we pursue God's heart for justice? One way is by addressing the legal and spiritual needs of our neighbors. Moody published a book I wrote entitled "Gospel Justice" which demonstrates the powerful work of the Holy Spirit in changing lives when churches and attorneys come together to humbly do justice and love mercy. The ministry I lead called Gospel Justice Initiative (www.gji.org) equips the local church for practical justice ministry. Getting started is easy. Study God's word by studying the book "Gospel Justice" and its free five session study guide. The book and guide reference 65 books of the Bible. Justice is God's heartbeat. Then pull together a team to study the needs in the local community and the opportunity to establish a gospel justice center to meet those needs. We have all the tools needed on our website.


The media loves to portray the church as haters of x, y and z. Let's show them our love for communities in need by bringing attorneys and wounded neighbors to our church. Let's get engaged in meeting the legal and spiritual needs of the poor. Let's not play church, but do church, by joining together to provide help and hope to those oppressed by legal injustice. 




Bruce Strom is the author of "Gospel Justice" published by Moody. He is the founder of Administer Justice and President & CEO of Gospel Justice Initiative. He is a servant, Christ-follower, minister, husband and father of twin sons.  He lives with his family in Elgin, Illinois.