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The [Wednesday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes / Posted on July 26, 2017

"Touching on an issue often raised by police when discussing Chicago's ongoing problem with gun violence, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx said Tuesday that she was 'stunned' to learn how few gun cases that go to trial result in convictions," the Tribune reports.

"Foxx, in an interview with the Tribune's editorial board eight months into her job, said her office is working with law enforcement officials to collect better intelligence and build stronger cases against gun offenders.

"Foxx also pledged to be more transparent than her predecessors in leveraging community involvement and data-driven approaches to help reduce crime. She said officials from her office will meet with Chicago police on a monthly basis to share the data on cases and strategize how to build stronger cases."

So, I think I'm supposed to be angry that there aren't enough convictions in gun cases?

"According to Foxx, about 80 percent of those charged with gun crimes in 2016 pleaded guilty, with the remainder of the cases going to trial."

So actually, more than 80 percent of gun cases result in convictions - those who plead out, the 30 percent of the remainder who are found guilty by judges and the 42 percent of the remainder who are found guilty by juries. That sounds like a lot! Is there really a problem? Surely not everyone charged is guilty.

Yet Foxx says, "It's an embarrassing number."

Well, what should the number be? What is the number in other jurisdictions? Surely we shouldn't expect a 100 percent guilty rate, should we? Some folks are maybe innocent? (To me, the fact that 80 percent of cases are pled out is worrisome. Let's face it, not all of those folks are guilty, right? Assignment Desk, activate!)

The point of what Foxx was saying really didn't become clear to me until the final two paragraphs:

Eric Sussman, the first assistant state's attorney, said officials are working to establish "prosecution guidelines" to help educate law enforcement officers on the information and evidence needed to successfully prosecute gun cases.

"We're trying to weed it out with the understanding that for every one of those bad cases that we wind up going to trial on, we have limited resources so that is one fewer investigation or good case that we can be spending our time on," he said.

So the real problem is that the cops are bringing too many bad cases. I mean, in re-reading the story it becomes more clear that this concern is strewn throughout the piece, but perhaps not with great clarity, especially given a headline intended to induce outrage: "Top Prosecutor 'Stunned' At How Few Gun Cases Brought To Trial Yield Convictions."

In the current environment, that doesn't seem to properly place the blame with the police - we're automatically conditioned to think that's about judges, or weak laws.

A clearer way to write the story would have been to do it this way:

"The county's top prosecutor wants Chicago police to stop wasting its time and money by bringing them so many badly charged gun cases."

See the difference?

Or:

"The county's top prosecutor said Tuesday she was 'stunned' at how many bad gun cases Chicago police are charging, resulting in a poor rate of conviction at trial."

Perhaps adding: "Even still, more than 80 percent of defendants charged with gun crimes in Cook County are found guilty."

Right?

-

Rauner's Desk
"An Illinois business group fears that recent staffing shifts in Gov. Bruce Rauner's office may imperil a pro-immigrant bill that's been sitting on the governor's desk for nearly a month," Natasha Korecki reports for Politico Illinois Playbook.

"The legislation, called the Illinois Trust Act - SB31 - limits local authorities' reach on investigating immigration status when no serious or violent crime has been committed. It prohibits authorities from holding an individual solely on the basis of immigration status. The aim is to allay rampant fear of deportation in the immigrant community, which business owners say is harming constituencies from a moral standpoint. And from a business standpoint, it's harming their workforce. See bill language here.

The Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, a chief supporter of the bill, says it believed the governor supported the measure and that SB31 was on a path to become law. Now they say Rauner is "dragging his feet'"on the issue. One major supporter of the law, Crate & Barrel co-founder Carole Browe Segal, who also co-chairs an Illinois business group, said she's disappointed Rauner hasn't already signed it. "This is a really important bill that we need to stand up for as good citizens. This bill protects the undocumented that have done no wrongdoing," Segal told POLITICO. "We have to realize the fear and the stress and the PTSD that we are causing the 12 million undocumented workers."

Maybe Rauner is just using the bill to hold something hostage, as is his wont.

*

"Asked where the governor stands on the bill, if his position recently changed and whether he will sign it, Rauner's office offered little guidance. 'The Senate has sent SB31 to the Governor's desk. It is currently being reviewed,' said governor spokeswoman Laurel Patrick. 'I will keep you posted on any updates or additional details.'"

*

Also from Korecki:

"We have a boycott from two House Democrats who both say their time is better spent attending local school council meetings and taking part in classroom projects than it is in Springfield right now. Chicago Democrats Ann Williams and Kelly Cassidy plan to take part in projects to assess and aid the start of school. Williams said with no bill in the House and Rauner's comments that he doesn't want to talk to leaders until the bill is on his desk, she sees little reason for the session except to score political points . . .

"Response from Rauner spokeswoman Laurel Patrick: 'So let me get this straight: The Senate hasn't sent the education funding bill to the governor's desk, even though the bill was passed in May. And now these two legislators aren't going to Springfield for the legislative session aimed at resolving this? Wow.'"

Well, the immigrant bill was passed nearly a month ago and has been sitting on the governor's desk gathering dust, Laurel, what's up with that?

*

Seemingly related: City Of Chicago Still Obeys Immigration Detainers Even as Courts Around the Country Find Them Unconstitutional.

*

Korecki also notes this Tribune editorial:

"When lawmakers return to Springfield on Wednesday - we're counting on a quorum - they ought to keep one thing in mind: schoolkids. Without action on education funding during the four days of special session Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Monday, the opening of schools across the state could be in jeopardy. No agreement on legislation would mean chaos for Illinois families who've had 'back to school' dates etched onto their calendars for months. This is no time for political games."

But the General Assembly has already agreed on an education funding bill. It's the governor who refuses to negotiate.

*

If there's still any doubt about where Diana Rauner stands:

*

Rich Miller's response at Capitol Fax:

"Notice she's careful to say education funding, not education spending. The state still owes K-12 a huge pile of money that it couldn't pay out because of the impasse. At last check, it was about a billion dollars."

Read the comments at Miller's post for more perspective on the disingenuousness of Diana Rauner.

*

"Mrs. Rauner wants to protect her husband's reputation - and her own," Mark Brown writes for the Sun-Times. "But there are other voices to consider."

For example, the voices of the downstate superintendents Brown spoke to.

*

When Brown writes, "I previously told you about Rolf Sivertsen, the school superintendent in Canton," there is no link to that previous column. Here it is.

-

CEO Salaries Still Out Of Control
"In the early 1990s, CEO pay started climbing; CEOs began making hundreds of times what the average American worker made, and continue to do so today."

*

I feel like this actually starting happening in the '80s, when Reaganism set a new credo of gleeful greed upon the land, but I suppose there was an even larger explosion in the tech-fueled '90s?

-

BeachBook

How Developers Turned Graffiti Into A Trojan Horse For Gentrification.

*

Nearly All Donated NFL Brains Found To Have CTE.

Seemingly related:

Female Athletes Are Closing The Gender Gap When It Comes To Concussions.

*

Wisconsin Company To Implant Microchips In Employees.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*

John McCain is a war hero of epic proportions, but he has not exactly covered himself in glory during his political career, despite what the fawning media would like you to believe.

*

*

Bimbo: Mexican for Hostess.

-

The Beachwood Tronc Line: Ding dong ditch.

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MUSIC - 3 Logan Hardware Grab Bags.
TV - 24 Hours With Velocity.
POLITICS - Chicago's Unwelcoming Ordinance.
SPORTS - Study: CTE Affects Football Players At All Levels.

BOOKS - Black Stories Matter.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Blueberry Maggot Fly In Wisconsin.


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