Chicago lawyer apologizes for using racial slur, obscenity during hearing: ‘I’m shaken and I’m humiliated’

The comments were made during an unmuted conversation on a Zoom court call last Thursday, according to a court filing.

SHARE Chicago lawyer apologizes for using racial slur, obscenity during hearing: ‘I’m shaken and I’m humiliated’
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The office of attorney Donna Makowski at 53 W. Jackson Blvd. in Chicago.

Matt Henrickson | Sun-Times

A Chicago attorney has apologized for using a racial slur and an obscenity during a hearing being livestreamed last week, telling the judge, “I’m shaken and I’m humiliated.”

Donna Makowski apparently was referring to personnel with the Cook County sheriff’s office when she said “those motherf*****rs.” She also used the N-word, according to court records.

The comments were made during an unmuted conversation while she waited for her client and were heard by a judge and other participants on the Zoom court call on Thursday, according to a court filing.

The judge, Dominique Ross, scheduled a contempt hearing the next day.

“Your Honor, I apologize. I have no words for the inexcusable episode that happened yesterday,” Makowski said as the hearing began, according to court transcripts.

The judge told Makowski she had decided not to find Makowski in contempt “because the court cannot teach adults not to make ignorant statements, to make racial slurs, whether they are directed at the court or not.

“There is no punishment that this court can impose upon you that is going to surpass the embarrassment, the humiliation that your colleagues and other judges have heard you make,” Ross added. “Your apology is accepted.”

It remained unclear just why Makowski used the offensive language, though she insisted during the hearing that it was not directed at the judge.

“It was outrageous, whether you were directing it to the court or not,” the judge replied. “I’m sure that you have clients who are people of color. “

“My husband was,” Makowski said. “My deceased husband.”

“That does not give anybody a pass to make those types of statements,” the judge said. “They’re just not proper.”

Ross said she was referring the matter to the state’s Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission for any possible discipline.

Makowski has been licensed to practice in Illinois since 1984. She did not return a request for comment.

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