Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Disciplinary Charges Against Prosecutor

The Illinois ARDC has recently filed charges against the former elected State's Attorney of Jo Daviess County. According to the allegations, the prosecutor "personally prosecuted the majority of criminal felony cases in the county" and had been an assistant state's attorney for 13 years. The charges, in the main, involve improper closing arguments in five cases, as well as improper impeachment of defense witnesses in one case. Only one of the five convictions was reversed for prosecutorial misconduct, although the prosecutor's arguments in the other cases were criticized on appeal.

Some highlights:

"There is something about 80 to 90 percent of Defendants do in this country and that is be honest, forthright. They go into the courtroom and they plead guilty."

"Now, like a rat in a maze [defendant] made several poor attempts to [objection overruled] exploit meaningless perceived technicalities to try and escape responsibility for this crime."

"Because of Pinocchio over here [the victim] has to go through with this nightmare."

"[a]s State's Attorney, I have the absolute power, right and duty to dismiss a case if I have any inkling whatsoever that this guy didn't do it...I got this case and it was not a dog to me."

And from a case where the defendant was charged with aggravated reckless homicide in which his brother had died:

"I 'm disgusted with drunk drivers...[the defendant] told us he's some hillbilly from Stockton...He doesn't have the decency to lay his brother's soul to rest...How could you dishonor and disgrace your own flesh and blood like that?"

This case is worth keeping an eye on as it is unusual to see a prosecutor charged in a disciplinary case with improper arguments in so many cases. (Mike Frisch)


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