The [Wednesday] Papers
By Steve Rhodes
"Brian J. Dugan's notoriety began in 1985 when he was imprisoned for life for two sex slayings and a series of other attacks on women who survived," Christy Gutowski wrote earlier this week in the Daily Herald.
"His name re-emerged with a vengeance more than three years ago when DuPage County prosecutors charged him with the Feb. 25, 1983, abduction, rape and murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico of Naperville.
"Worried about publicity tainting a potential jury pool, DuPage Circuit Judge George Bakalis sealed the entire case file from public view, imposed a gag order on attorneys and, in a move rarely afforded to other murder defendants, regularly holds lengthy pretrial hearings behind closed doors."
Bakalis says he's worried about pre-trial publicity tainting the jury, but he doesn't seem to have much basis for that notion.
"[T]he defense team isn't too worried," Gutowski notes. "It has not sought a venue change nor has it followed through with an automated telephone poll to gauge the public's knowledge of the case nearly a year after Bakalis authorized them to spend up to $5,000 for one."
Commenter Sam Hain writes:
"Protecting the accused's right to a fair trial is more important than catering to the press.
"So you can complain and moan about the judge's ruling and write hit pieces like this, but the bottom line is that everything possible must be done to protect the accused's rights."
But criminal justice proceedings are held in public to protect defendants, not prosecutors. It's in the interest of Dugan that he isn't tried secretly - and it's in the interest of the public that such proceedings are subject to public scrutiny as a measure of the public's consent and confidence in they system it pays for.
Freedom's A Bitch
"The state legislature created the law as a mechanism to provide citizens with access to information about how the government serves the public. In practice, the Act has provided little access as government agencies have disregarded both the spirit and letter of the Act.
"The current bill in the Illinois House of Representatives corrects some of the law's existing flaws. However, the bill still reflects a 20th century approach to a 21st century problem of how government can and should use the Internet and information technologies to assist their work and their ability to release information to the public. The current rewrite that has been put forward by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan still lacks the necessary embrace of 21st century technologies."
The Time Is Now
Help The Mayor
That would be one Michael Madigan.
Here's an idea for reform-minded Democrats who feel chained to the Daley-Madigan-Stroger Machine but know in their hearts that it's wrong: The New Democrats of Illinois. Adopt the Illinois Reform Commission's recommendations as the core of your new agenda. Slogan: Reform Now.
On the other hand, here's a chance for state Republicans to re-brand themselves by adopting reform for itself. Not just lip service, but really adopting reform. Tack a reformier-than-thou agenda onto a Cook County board president candidate and Chicago itself might even stir.
Then again, with everyone wanting to be green these days . . .
Killing The Spilotros
"The English comedian Stephen Fry keeps his nearly 200,000 followers amused with such wry tweets as this one, sent while stuck in an elevator: 'Hell's teeth. We could be here for hours. Arse, poo, and widdle'."
This law of journalism is even more pronounced when hometown athletes say supposedly funny things or pull supposedly clever pranks on their teammates that don't even begin to approach anything most normal people experience in their everyday lives.
Do The Rockford
The Panic Button
Dan's excellent analysis, which appears every Wednesday, is a worthy read for all sports fans even if you don't play in any fantasy leagues.
Holy Whole Foods!
CIA's Travel Agent
Losing Our Landmarks?
Sears Tower Terror Plot
From The Wonderful World of YouTube
The Beachwood Tip Line: Slapped, chopped.
Posted on April 29, 2009
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