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American Dream Betrayed

Not The Jason Van Dyke Special Prosecutor They Were Looking For

Attorneys representing the coalition that petitioned for the appointment of a special prosecutor to take over the prosecution of Chicago Police Officer Jason D. Van Dyke released the following statement in reaction to the selection of Kane County State's Attorney Joseph McMahon:

Given the high number of qualified attorneys in Cook County who have the experience, resources and who are fully independent from law enforcement we're surprised and disappointed that all of them have been passed over in favor of the Kane County state's attorney and his team, which includes a former Cook County assistant state's attorney.

This appointment made by Judge Gaughan stands in stark contrast to the appointment last week of former judge Patricia Brown Holmes as a special prosecutor to investigate whether there was a cover-up by other police officers at the scene of the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald.

Cook County Judge LeRoy Martin Jr., chief of the criminal court, selected Holmes, an African-American with extensive experience in Cook County and a reputation for fairness and commitment to discovering the truth.

Judge Gaughan could have chosen Judge Holmes for this assignment, or he could have selected someone with similar understanding of Chicago and its most affected communities.

The petitioners are being represented by the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University School of Law, the People's Law Office, and the University of Chicago Law School's Civil Rights and Police Accountability Clinic of the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic.

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Editor's Note: The point here, just to be clear, is that a special prosecutor was granted in the case because Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez was deemed too close to the cops she works with on a daily basis to handle the prosecution. And even if she did the job properly, her credibility is shot. Naming another state's attorney to replace her only repeats the problem - county prosecutors are essentially allies of police officers, dependent on their good will in a reciprocal relationship. McMahon may be independent of Cook County, but he's not independent of law enforcement.

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See also . . .

From the Tribune article on the matter:

"During his six years as state's attorney, McMahon has prosecuted one police officer for on-duty misconduct. Elgin police Officer Michael Sullivan was charged in 2011 with felony official misconduct and obstruction of justice after allegedly planting evidence - a cellphone - near the scene of a beating and robbery. Sullivan eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of attempted obstruction of justice and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and two years of probation."

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The Trib uses the qualifier "on-duty" because McMahon has prosecuted a couple of other cases that fall outside that descriptor, as noted by the suburban Daily Herald in "Kane County's McMahon No Stranger To Prosecuting Cops," a headline unsupported by the (PR-like) article:

"In spring 2013, McMahon's office charged former Elgin Deputy Police Chief Robert Beeter with hacking into the e-mail of his mistress's husband to help her with her divorce. Beeter also was charged with using a law enforcement database for personal use. He pleaded guilty to felony identity theft in July 2015 and was sentenced to two years probation and 50 hours of community service.

"In January, McMahon prosecuted the former leader of the Elgin Police Explorer post who was charged with felony theft and misconduct. James Rog, an animal control officer for Elgin police for 14 years, pleaded guilty in June to the reduced charge of misdemeanor theft, paid $6,000 in restitution to the city and was ordered to seek treatment for gambling addiction."

The DH also has a sidebar assuring everyone how great McMahon is.

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"Anne Kavanagh, a spokeswoman for Van Dyke's lawyer, Daniel Herbert, said, 'The defense has never objected to the special prosecutor in this case and they're prepared to defend the case no matter who the prosecutor is,'" the Sun-Times reports.

About Anne Kavanagh:

"Anne Kavanagh has worked as an Emmy award winning television reporter in Chicago for more than two decades," her company website says.

"Anne has done media training, crisis management and publicity for large companies, small businesses, law firms, local charities, professional athletes and politicians. Anne continues to be a contributing reporter at FOX News Chicago appearing on television and writing for the website."

Emphasis added.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on August 5, 2016


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