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The [Thursday] Papers

"Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez was accused Wednesday of deliberately charging a now-acquitted Chicago Police detective with involuntary manslaughter instead of first-degree murder to 'curry favor with' the Fraternal Order of Police," the Sun-Times reports.

"Flamboyant criminal defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. said the rare directed verdict of acquittal that abruptly ended the trial of Dante Servin makes Adam more likely than ever to challenge Alvarez in the 2016 Democratic primary."

The idea of Sam Adam Jr. as the state's attorney strikes me as something of a joke. I'm not sure I find credible anything he has to say on this and most other topics, but let's keep reading.

"When a man comes out, argues with an individual, then shoots an unregistered handgun over his shoulder into a crowd and rips the life out of a young vibrant African-American woman with no good cause and that individual is treated completely differently because he's an off-duty police officer, that shows the problem we have in this county," Adam said.

"To charge that as reckless conduct and not first-degree murder - either you're doing it because you want to curry favor with the police department or you're completely inept," Adam said. "I think there's no question it was deliberate. She wants to curry favor with the FOP. It took a $4.5 million settlement to get charges in this case. She was stuck in a hard place. If you charge first-degree murder, the FOP is mad at her. If you don't charge anything, the community is upset. So you play the odds. That says you're thinking about your job, not about what's right."

Now, Adam may be right about that. He's not saying anything that hasn't already been said. But again, what I'd like to see next and what I hope a newsroom is working on is a review of similar cases under Alvarez and the charges filed - as well as a review of any similar cases that may have come before this judge. A review of other jurisdictions wouldn't hurt either. The point is to determine to the extent possible how unique or not this charge was.

*

"Attorney Adam Sheppard was also baffled by the charges," Fox News Chicago reports. (h/t: Chicagoist.)

"I've been doing this for 10 years, my partner, my father who has been doing this for 38 years and we can't recall a case where a gun was fired at somebody resulting in a death that resulted in a charge of recklessness," said Sheppard.

I wonder if Alvarez's office has any such review that they prepared before deciding on the charges. All she has said so far has been through a statement:

"I am extremely disappointed by the Judge's ruling. The State's Attorney's Office brought charges in this case in good faith and only after a very careful legal analysis of the evidence as well as the specific circumstances of this crime."

Let's see that analysis. And let's see Alvarez, an elected public official, face the press and the public and take on questions.

*

"We begged for murder charges," Rekia Boyd's brother, Martinez Sutton, told Fox News Chicago.

"They actually had second degree murder at first and then the day before they announced the charges, they switched everything up without telling us."

Second-degree murder is actually the charge that would make sense, as I understand it, not first-degree murder, as some are saying, so this rings true.

*

Alvarez has been a disaster.

After she was sworn in for her second term in 2012, I wrote that "if the early evidence is any indication, she won't be around for the 2016 swearing-in - if she even lasts that long."

(Look at who supported her re-election:

("Ald. Ed Burke and wife, state Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, hosted a re-election campaign reception for Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez at their home last week," Stella Foster (!) reports. "Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gov. Pat Quinn, Speaker of the House Mike Madigan and City Clerk Susana Mendoza attended.")

(Plus at least eight Cook County judges.)

*

And who can forget her infamous 60 Minutes fiasco.

*

This was good:

*

Plus, just a few months ago:

"The Cook County state's attorney's office and a former prosecutor have been slapped with a rare sanction by a federal judge who said they 'acted in bad faith' during a civil rights case filed against Chicago police and the city," the Tribune reported.

"In his ruling, U.S. District Judge John F. Grady said the office 'obstructed' access to files while the lawsuit was argued in court and did not appear to follow its own policies for retaining documents."

*

See also the item "Model Misbehavior."

There's more. She's awful. But let's not let the judge (see the Madison Hobley item) off the hook until a fuller examination of his record too.

*

I'm not presuming Servin is guilty, by the way. I'm presuming he should have actually been tried.

*

"The city's police have yet to put their murky past behind them," the Economist says.

-

Previously:
* The [Tuesday] Papers.
* The [Wednesday] Papers.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Since 2006.



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Posted on April 23, 2015


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