The [Friday] Papers
You can find my real-time commentary on Donald Trump's acceptance speech and the rest of the doings at the Republican National Convention last night at @BeachwoodReport.
"It's been a great week for gay escorts in Cleveland," the New York Post reports.
"Male prostitutes contacted by The Post said business is booming and Republican National Convention attendees - most of them married - are clamoring for their services.
"'Business has been way better. I've seen 10 clients so far,' one male escort said.
"'Most of them were first-timers. You could tell they were nervous, but once they became more comfortable, they seemed to be having a good time.'"
So . . . you know. Figure it out.
Law And Disorder
"But Webb's seven-month review found no intentional misconduct during Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration beyond a previously reported instance, according to the 74-page report released Thursday."
So the city's law department is incompetent, not corrupt.
"In a gently worded report that focused more on future reforms than past failings, Webb's group called for new, robust training concentrating, in part, on 'reinforcing a culture of compliance in discovery.'"
So the current culture is one of insufficient compliance with the basic requirements governing evidence.
"The report also recommended that the Law Department stop interviewing defendant officers in a group setting, a practice that critics have said promotes the department's code of silence by allowing officers to align their stories."
Interviewing police officers in a group setting instead of separately is a willful technique to obscure truth in favor of building a unified, if untruthful, defense.
"Webb's team said group interviews are not unethical but should be avoided because of the potential conflicts involved."
I beg to differ.
Unethical: "unwilling to adhere to proper rules of conduct . . . not in accord with the standards of a profession."
"The report stresses that city attorneys need a stronger understanding of how police records are maintained. For example, city lawyers told Webb's team that they only recently learned about GPS data maintained by the Police Department and that some search warrant-related documents are stored on the West Side."
Maybe city attorneys should FOIA the CPD.
"'Almost uniformly, (police litigation division) attorneys acknowledged during interviews that they could benefit from a more comprehensive knowledge of the universe of CPD or other City documents that exist, and that at times they have experienced challenges during discovery as a consequence of not possessing a complete knowledge of all CPD and other City entity information generation and record-keeping,' the report states."
This is a damning report no matter how Webb has presented it. City attorneys don't know what records the CPD keeps, they have trouble getting all records relevant to their cases, and seemingly no one has cared enough up 'til now to do anything about it.
"In an interview with the Tribune, Webb said he and his team found the Law Department eager to improve and quick to adopt changes as the review went on."
Now that they were asked by Dan Webb! Never occurred to them before.
"The problems at the department were more about the flow of information between the department and Chicago police, he said, as opposed to an intentional withholding of records to gain an advantage in court or to further a code of silence that protects problem cops."
I'm struggling to see the distinction.
"I didn't find that there was a culture inside the Law Department for management to put their head in the sand and not want documents to be discovered that should be produced," Webb said.
And yet, it seems like that's exactly what Webb found.
"Local plaintiffs' attorneys - many of whom were interviewed as part of the review - considered Webb's findings to be something of a paradox. Despite the conclusion that the city does not intentionally conceal documents, the report's recommendations indicate that the police litigation division is understaffed, needs more supervision and had a poor communication policy with city agencies responsible for producing documents."
More like: "Despite the conclusion that the city does not intentionally conceal documents, the city abides concealed documents."
You can decide for yourself what the motivation for that might be.
"'This scenario created a de facto unintentional practice and policy of civil plaintiff's attorneys either not getting requested documents or getting them late in discovery because of these failures,' said attorney Antonio Romanucci, who was interviewed by Webb's team as part of the review."
If the practice was indeed unintentional, it was indeed malpractice.
"Webb's findings come one month after a Tribune investigation that detailed how the Law Department routinely fights requests to turn over potential evidence in police misconduct cases."
Back where we started. The city's law department passively ignores documents it never gets and aggressively withholds the documents it does have.
"Webb said in an interview it wasn't possible to review all 1,800 cases - most involving police misconduct - that the civil rights division handled over the past five years. Instead, he and nine other lawyers from his firm, Winston & Strawn, scrutinized 75 'sample' cases 'where I would expect to find the biggest problems,'" the Sun-Times reports.
"For a report that says they didn't find much, to make 50 recommendations is pretty shocking," [lawyer Steve] Greenberg said. "But some of these recommendations are basic common sense that they should have been doing all along."
Again, it's so inconceivable that they haven't been attending to such basics that the department is either soaked in corruption or massive incompetence.
Attorney Jon Loevy told the Sun-Times that "The city has again spent a lot of money to hire people to tell them what they already know: that there is a serious problem."
You get the sense that "everyone" knew this was the law department's modus operandi.
"Steve Patton, City Hall's corporation counsel, acknowledged 'there is room for improvement' on discovery issues."
That's the kind of response that indicates significant improvement is not on the way.
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Posted on July 22, 2016
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