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The [Friday] Papers

"Court officials acknowledged Thursday that information revealed by the Tribune appears to show that a member of the federal jury that convicted Springfield power broker William Cellini concealed two felony conviction," the paper reports.

"Attorneys for Cellini said the information may be used in seeking to overturn last week's verdict . . . Federal law generally disqualifies convicted felons from serving on juries."

Okay, here's the important part for anyone who may have thought preventative measures had been put in place to address this type of problem after the fiasco of the George Ryan jury:

"While the jury was deliberating Ryan's fate, the Tribune uncovered that two jurors had concealed arrest records during jury selection months earlier. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer, who was presiding over the Ryan trial, booted both from the jury after eight days of deliberations, replaced them with alternates and ordered that deliberations start anew. The reconstituted jury convicted Ryan on sweeping corruption charges.

"Ryan, who also was represented by Webb, made the unusual conclusion to the trial a key part of his appeal of the verdict, but Ryan's conviction was upheld by appeals courts. He is serving a 6 1/2-year sentence in federal prison.

"Following Ryan's trial, Chief Judge James Holderman said the court would start conducting criminal background checks on prospective jurors in certain higher-profile trials. But under the proposal, the judge presiding over the case has veto power over whether the background checks would be allowed."

First, why would Holderman treat "certain higher-profile trials" differently than the rest when everyone deserves an honest jury?

Second, why give the presiding judge veto power when everyone deserves an honest jury?

Third, why would a judge deny background checks?


"It was unclear if U.S. District Judge James Zagel allowed background checks to be conducted of the prospective jurors in the Cellini trial. The judge did not respond to an email from the Tribune seeking to talk to him about the newspaper's findings. Holderman was unavailable for comment."


Now here's the bigger surprise:

"I consider this very important information that I was not aware of," said Dan Webb, one of Cellini's lawyers.

Does superlawyer Dan Webb never learn?

From the Beachwood's March 27, 2006 edition:

"Count me among those stunned that the defense in particular apparently didn't do a background check on jurors in the George Ryan trial.

"I guess $10 million doesn't go as far as it used to.

"It strains credulity to think that today's sophisticated jury consulting doesn't include gathering every single fact possible on every single juror, including their favorite colors so lawyers can choose the most advantageous wardrobe and their favorite TV shows so a reference or two can be dropped into closing arguments.

"But then, maybe Dan Webb is so brilliant that he doesn't need no stinkin' jury consultants."


Finally, no sentence has appeared more often in Chicago's newspapers over the years than this one:

"Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago, declined to comment on the development."

Graham Cracker
"The plaque honoring fired Penn State President Graham Spanier, a 1966 graduate of Highland Park High School, was removed Thursday from the lobby of the North Shore school in the midst of a child sex-abuse scandal that has also claimed famed football coach Joe Paterno," TribLocal Highland Park/Highwood reports.

Huh. The accounts I cited yesterday noted Spanier's self-described hardscrabble childhood on the South Side but never mentioned a North Shore suburban existence.

The Memory Penn State Dredges Up
"I was 12 years old, and I worked at a newsstand in a northern suburb that summer. He was an older man with bad skin and a wispy combover."

Mental Floss
"Illinois has cut spending on mental health needs faster and by a greater amount than just about any other state, a new report out on Thursday asserted," Greg Hinz reports for Crain's.

"In terms of percentage change, Illinois' 31.7% cut topped all but South Carolina (a 39.3% reduction), Alabama (36%) and Alaska (32.6%). Despite hard economic times, 21 states increased spending in the three-year period, according to the study."

Maybe if crazy people threatened to leave the state they'd get a big subsidy.

Beavers Still Getting Funded
"Three years ago, outspoken Cook County Commissioner William Beavers dressed down the head of the juvenile jail for testifying before the County Board in casual attire: a white polo shirt tucked into his Dockers," the Sun-Times reports.

"'Do you own a suit?" Beavers asked Earl Dunlap in 2008 as he lectured that your appearance commands respect" and told him he's 'supposed to be a role model.'

"On Thursday, it was a virtual replay in the county's downtown Chicago boardroom during a budget hearing that spiraled into a fiery, albeit brief, exchange about whether the man makes the clothes or the clothes make the man. In the blink of an eye, it seemed, Beavers went from chastising Dunlap about fractured relations between the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and the Chicago Police Department to the two recalling how their own relationship soured."

Isn't Bill Beavers living proof that the clothes don't make the man?

The Definition of Insanity . . .
"As Chicago launches bonus pay for principals, studies show no impact on student achievement," WBEZ reports.

Maybe if principals dressed better.

Michael Jerkface Jordan
"Michael Jeffrey Jordan is a coin-operated, two-faced jerk," veteran basketball scribe and one-time confidante (I think) to Jordan Lacy J. Banks writes for the Sun-Times.

"During his NBA career, he always defended the average player because he was a committed, compassionate athlete. His marketing appeal helped players and owners reap millions.

"But now that he's the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, Jordan is the chief headhunter for hard-line NBA owners who locked out the players."

For an even more devastating critique of Jordan's absolute hypocrisy, check out Tom Ziller's "Michael Jordan: The NBA's Biggest Pickle."

It's Not So Much That He's A Socialist Muslim . . .
. . . but that he's covering up his trip to Mars.

The Week in Occupy Chicago
"So while more and more Americans seem to be 'getting it' when it comes to the 99% movement, there's still one group that's woefully ignorant: The corporate media."

Lost Faith In A Ruined Sport
"For a sport that depends more than any other on the direct financial commitment of its fans, its partners, where the good graces of the horseplayers should be paramount, racing puts its fans last like no other," our man on the rail Thomas Chambers writes. "How long must I take my money, with upwards of 30 percent knowingly skimmed, to the window, at the track literally or online figuratively, and get treated like shit before I walk away from the ball peen?"

The Week in Chicago Rock
You shoulda been there.

The Week in WTF
JoePa, Alex Trebek and Ron Paul.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Faithless.


Posted on November 11, 2011

MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Coming Soon: Bad Yung Club Chicago.
POLITICS - Chicago's Election Day Blues.
SPORTS - Kool-Aid Report: To The Bearmobile!

BOOKS - American Colonial Hangover, Grandma Gatewood & Chris Chelios.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Exclusive Severe Weather Tips!

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