People of Illinois v. Fatuma Muhamed


Ms. Muhamed escaped from war-torn Somalia with her family four children and
traveled on foot to Kenya where she and her family spent 12 years in the
notoriously violent Kakuma refugee camp.  While at the camp, Muhamed’s
youngest daughter died and Muhamed was brutally raped by soldiers who also
murdered her sister.  She came to the United States as a refugee and settled
with her children in Chicago.

In Chicago, Muhamed began to receive mental health treatment from Heartland
Alliance — a wonderful organization which assists refugees — and she was
diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  One day, early on in her
treatment, she was walking with her three-year-old son and was approached by
two Chicago Police Officers.  Unable to understand their commands, Muhamed
grew agitated and when the officers tried to arrest her, she bit the

The State charged Muhamed with aggravated battery to a police officer, a
serious felony which would have likely resulted in her deportation.  Mr.
Goodman agreed to represent Muhamed pro bono, took the case to trial, and
presented psychiatric evidence of her mental disorder.  At the conclusion of
the trial, Muhamed was found not guilty by reason of insanity.  She is now
back home with her family, is continuing to receive mental health treatment,
and is studying English.

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