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About Daniel T. Coyne

Professor Coyne practices criminal law in the Law Offices at Chicago-Kent. He concentrates his practice on defending individuals charged with murder and individuals subject to involuntary commitment pursuant to the Illinois Sexually Violent Persons Act. For twenty years before joining the faculty at Chicago-Kent in May 2005, Professor Coyne headed a private practice working exclusively on criminal cases. He previously has been special legal consultant to the Circuit Court of Cook County Mock Trial Project of the Chicago Coalition for Law-Related Education (CCLRE), a program that involved all of the Chicago public high schools in a citywide mock trial competition. He coached trial advocacy teams and authored six trial manuals utilized by the project. Professor Coyne has also been active in the Fairy Trial Project of the Circuit Court of Cook County since its inception in 1987, serving as legal consultant to the writing and production teams.

Professor Coyne previously taught at Northeastern Illinois University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northern Illinois University and has been a guest lecturer at Northwestern University, Iowa State University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. For five years, he was associated with Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development, teaching law-related curricula to gifted students who gathered each summer from schools around the world. In March 2002, Professor Coyne was named by Chicago Magazine in its “Thirty Tough Lawyers” feature. In August 2003, he was featured in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin's Amicus Curious column about the constitutional law curriculum at the Center for Talent Development. In 2005 and 2006, murder cases litigated by Professor Coyne were the subject of feature stories published in the Chicago Reader. In 2007, he was named Faculty Member of the Year by the Chicago-Kent Student Bar Association. In December 2008, Professor Coyne was named a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Professor Coyne engages in a variety of public interest activities. Between 2005 and 2007, he participated in the Appleseed Fund for Justice research project focusing on the Chicago felony court system. This work led to the publication in December 2007 of the Appleseed Report on Chicago’s Felony Courts, a comprehensive study outlining the efficacy of the criminal court system and providing dozens of recommendations for improvement. Follow-up research produced the “Restructuring Proposal for the Criminal Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County” (2009), and the “Proposal for Drug Offender Stationhouse Deferral Program for Cook County” (2010). Professor Coyne served as president of the Chicago Council of Lawyers, Chicago’s public interest bar association, from 2007 to 2009.  In 2009, he was appointed to the advisory board for the Roderick MacArthur Justice Center/ABA Study of the Cook County Public Defender’s Office. In January 2016, he accepted an invitation to join the advisory board for the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender.  

Professor Coyne is active in training legal professionals away from the Chicago-Kent campus. In 2010, he became involved in a long-term project assisting the Mexican criminal justice system with the incorporation of newly mandated constitutional changes that revolutionized the litigation process throughout Mexico. He traveled to Mexico City in 2011 and Toluca, Mexico, in 2012 to conduct training sessions for attorneys, trial court judges, and appellate court justices in cooperation with the Poder Judicial del Estado de Mexico. In 2014, he was invited to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado to present a series of sessions on the homicide provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. In February 2016, as part of an overseas training program conducted by Chicago-Kent College of Law, Professor Coyne traveled to Bangkok, Thailand, to teach criminal constitutional law to members of the Thai judiciary. In May 2016, he will be co-presenting at the Association of American Law Schools annual conference on Clinical Legal Education in Baltimore with Rachel Moran ’08, a Chicago-Kent alumna and clinical fellow at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law on the topic “#howisTHATfair: Goading Hesitant Millennials Into Meaningful Engagement in the Criminal Justice Community.” Since 2013, he has  presented at the annual “Criminal Law in a Nutshell,” an in-house training program conducted by and for Cook County public defenders.

In June 2010, Professor Coyne was honored to be appointed by Governor Quinn to a two-year term as one of the commissioners for the newly formed Illinois Torture and Relief Commission. The commission was tasked with gathering evidence about claims of torture made by individuals who were interrogated by former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and officers under his command and determining whether there was sufficient credible evidence to merit judicial review. In April 2015, the Chicago City Council appointed Professor Coyne as the Independent Third Party for the Burge Reparations Ordinance. Professor Coyne was responsible for investigating previously unknown claims of torture and determining eligibility for reparations under the ordinance. Following the creation of a Reparations Clinic curriculum at Chicago-Kent, he and his students investigated sixty-five claims of torture and submitted findings to the city of Chicago in November 2015. Reparations were made by the city in January 2016.

Professor Coyne earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1980 following his military service as a combat air crewman in the U.S. Navy. He attended the evening division of the John Marshall Law School, earning his J.D. in 1984. Professor Coyne has been admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Illinois Supreme Court, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and numerous Federal District Courts. Professor Coyne holds a Lead Counsel Certification in the Capital Litigation Trial Bar of the Illinois Supreme Court. He is a member of the ABA, ISBA, CCL, CBA and LAGBAC. He is a regular contributor to the national and local media on criminal law issues. His teaching responsibilities at Chicago-Kent include classes in criminal litigation and criminal procedure. He also supervises a section of criminal defense clinic and multiple sections of the 1L Your Way curriculum. Professor Coyne focuses his pro bono obligation on the representation of indigent members of the LGBTQ community and people with AIDS.


2005 - Present Clinical Professor of Law, none



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