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Richard J. Dvorak

Richard J. Dvorak

Willowbrook, Illinois

Richard Dvorak graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and history. In 1996, after a brief career in journalism, Mr. Dvorak began attending De Paul University College of Law. During law school, he took a year off to teach English in South Korea and Spain. After returning to De Paul in 1998, Mr. Dvorak was chosen to be a summer intern in Mexico City with an independent Mexican human rights organization. Having lived and worked in Spain and Mexico, Mr. Dvorak is fluent in Spanish.

After graduating from De Paul law school in 1999, Mr. Dvorak worked as an attorney with the Cook County Public Defender's Office in Chicago. While working for the Public Defender's Office, Mr. Dvorak successfully tried numerous bench and jury trials.  Mr. Dvorak then went into private practice, concentrating his work in criminal defense, civil rights and personal-injury litigation.

Mr. Dvorak is the author of the "Confessions" and "Representing Clients in the Early Stages of a Criminal Action" Chapters of Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education's authoritative practitioner's guide, "Defending Illinois Criminal Cases." Mr. Dvorak is also the author of a law review article published in the Michigan Journal of Race & Law, 5 Mich. J. Race & L. 611 (2000), titled, Cracking the Code: "'De-Coding' Colorblind Slurs During the Congressional Crack Cocaine Debates." This article, which traces the racist history behind the passage of every major federal drug law, argues why the federal crack cocaine sentencing scheme violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. This article has been cited in dozens of published law review articles; by the American Civil Liberties Union in a March 19, 2002 speech before the United States Sentencing Commission; and was cited by a federal judge in New York in support of his published decision that reduced the sentence for an African-American man convicted of possessing crack cocaine. See Simon v. United States, 361 F.Supp.2d 35, 43, n.9 (E.D. N.Y. 2005).

Mr. Dvorak is a member of the Legal Advisory Board of First Defense Legal Aid (FDLA), a Chicago-based, non-profit legal organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of individuals in Chicago Police Department police custody. Mr. Dvorak is a member of the Illinois Bar, the general and trial bars for the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, as well as a member of the bar for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.

Areas of Practice

  • Criminal Law
  • Federal Criminal Defense
  • Appeals/Criminal Appeals
  • Post-Conviction Petitions
  • Habeas Corpus Actions
  • Governor's Pardons
  • Police Misconduct
  • Excessive Force
  • False Arrest
  • Drug Crimes
  • Internet Crimes
  • Sex Crimes
  • Murder & Attempted Murder
  • Guns & Weapons Charges
  • Civil Rights
  • Traffic Violations
  • White Collar Crimes
  • Personal Injury
  • Car Accident
  • Truck Accident
  • Medical Malpractice

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois, 1999
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, 1999
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2004
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit, 2007


  • DePaul University College of Law, Chicago, Illinois
    • J.D. - 1999
  • University of Wisconsin - 1993
    • Major: Journalism and History

Published Works

  • "Confessions" and "Representing Clients in the Early Stages of a Criminal Action", Chapters of Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education's Authoritative Practitioner's Guide, 2009
  • Cracking the Code: "De-Coding' Colorblind Slurs During the Congressional Crack Cocaine Debates", Michigan Journal of Race & Law, 5 Mich. J. Race & L. 611 (2000), 2000


  • The Second Amendment & Section 1983 Civil Rights Litigation, Illinois State Rifle Association, 2011

Honors and Awards

  • Sullivan Award (Awarded International Human Rights Internship in Mexico City), 1998

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • National Police Accountability Project, Member
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Member
  • First Defense Legal Aid, Advisory Board Member
  • DuPage County Bar Association

Past Employment Positions

  • Cook County Public Defender's Office, Attorney
  • DiFranco & Associates, P.C., Associate Attorney
  • Dvorak, Toppel & Barrino, LLC, Partner
  • Dvorak & Toppel Law Office LLC

Pro Bono Activities

  • First Defense Legal Aid (FDLA), Legal Advisory Board


  • Spanish

Representative Cases

People of the State of Illinois v. S.G. (2014). In the Circuit Court of Cook County. The client was charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon for allegedly having a weapon in his vehicle. Mr. Dvorak requested the video of the incident, but later...

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