Monday, February 3, 2014
The Illinois Adminstrator has filed an amended complaint alleging that a State's Attorney appealed to racial prejudice in a first degree murder trial
During Respondent’s opening statement, he made the following statements:
"And you will see, ladies and gentlemen, that there are some, not all-there are many good people in the black community, but basically you will see that there are a few in the black community who refuse to cooperate with the police even when a murder happens right under their nose, and those people have a habit of intimidating, harassing, sometimes threatening anybody who they think is cooperating with the police. That’s what makes this case so difficult, ladies and gentlemen."
Respondent’s argument quoted...above, was improper because it served no purpose other than to appeal to racial prejudice.
During the closing arguments, Respondent made the following statements:
"But I think what is most crucial in deciding this case, in deciding the credibility of Jodie Lacy and Crystal Blye, and in deciding most of the other issues in this case, is to understand the culture of the black community here in Marion.
"Please, you have to keep in the back of your mind how many people in that community feel about law enforcement. You have to understand and keep in mind how they react to the police and to the prosecutors. Sometimes for people like us, that’s hard to understand. People were brought up to believe that the police were their friends; that when something happens, when we are in trouble, that the police are our friends. And that’s where we go to get help from is the police when bad things happen.
"But in the black community here in Marion, it’s just the opposite. Most-for whatever reasons, most of these people were raised to believe that the police and prosecutors are the enemy; that for some reason, we are always out to get them. In their mindset, the biggest sin that you could-that you can commit is to be a snitch in the community. The biggest sin that you could commit is to ever cooperate with the police on anything. It’s a sin to even cooperate when one of your own people gets brutally gunned down and is left to bleed to death.
"And I am not saying that the whole black community is like that, ladies and gentlemen. There are some very good law[-]abiding citizens in that community here in Marion. But the evidence has shown that again, for whatever reasons, there is an intense dislike and even hatred for the police. And this group of people who feel that way make it extremely hard on the people who are law-abiding and want to do what is right and who are willing to come forward and give information that they have when a crime has been committed . . .
"Now, in our white world, ladies and gentlemen, our automatic reaction in that type of situation, if somebody gives a statement to the police and then later on changes their story, the automatic response would be that that person is not trustful and that there is a problem with their credibility.
"But again, please look at their testimony and what they did and what they didn’t do through the eyes of the people who are raised, again, to feel that the police are always against them and that they cannot trust the police."
Respondent’s statements quoted...above, were improper because they served no purpose other than to appeal to racial prejudice.
Respondent’s statements quoted... above, were improper because Respondent argued facts about the "black community" and "our white world" that were not in evidence, and that were based on Respondent’s personal opinion.
The attorney's answer is linked here. He admits that the "white world" comment was not a reference to matters in evidence. (Mike Frisch)