Chicago - Dec. 5, 2021
Music TV Politics Sports Books People Places & Things
Beachwood Politics
Our monthly archive.
Who We Are
Chicago by the numbers.
Sausage Links
Wiki Daley
Wiki Rahm
Illinois Channel
Ralph Martire
Government Attic
Division Street
Indie Political Report
The Obameter
The Intercept
American Dream Betrayed

Bill Cellini's Peerless Jury

If you were accused of a felony and the potential victims of your alleged crime were a specific class of people, the last thing you would want is a member of that class to sit on the jury that decides your fate. That's why the team of lawyers representing William Cellini in his federal corruption trial that got underway this week asked the judge to exclude teachers and relatives of teachers from the jury.

Teachers' and other public workers' pensions are facing growing fiscal difficulties. The politicians who have mismanaged these pensions for years have been on a media campaign since last spring to discredit the teachers and other public workers, implying that elaborate benefits are the cause of the fiscal problems. Cellini's trial will be an opportunity for teachers to expose the deceptions Illinois power brokers have played with public workers retirement funds.

Cellini, whom the Tribune's John Kass calls the Combine Boss, is being tried as part of the long-running federal investigation into the administration of convicted former governor Rod Blagojevich.

Specifically, Cellini is charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. According to the indictment, Cellini, along with Stuart Levine and Tony Rezko, plotted to shakedown Hollywood movie producer Tom Rosenberg and his Capri Capital investment firm for a $1.5 million contribution to the Blagojevich campaign. In exchange, Cellini would exert his longstanding political influence over the Illinois Teachers Retirement System (TRS) to invest $220 million in pension funds with Capri.

If a teacher has yet to become aware of this alleged fraud, sitting on Cellini's jury would unquestionably educate him or her.

Prosecutors, however, agreed to not allow teachers or their spouses on the jury. The U.S. Constitution does not guarantee a trial by one's peers; it only guarantees an impartial jury. Teachers would most certainly be partial against a defendant who is accused of attempting to defraud their retirement fund.

If Cellini could instead have a jury of his peers, he might have a chance at an acquittal. Who would qualify as a Cellini peer? An older, politically connected white male worth somewhere between $10 million and $100 million.

In other words, not a teacher. The average Illinois educator's pension is about $41,000.

Unfortunately for Cellini, there aren't enough peers to go around; fewer than 0.8% of the Illinois population meets the criteria. Instead, the jury is likely to draw from occupations like truck driving, plumbing and nursing. Cellini better be hoping that nobody has ever messed with their pensions.


Comments welcome.


Posted on October 5, 2011

MUSIC - Britney's IUD.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - Locked Out And Loaded.

BOOKS - Foxconned.


Search The Beachwood Reporter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Follow BeachwoodReport on Twitter

Beachwood Radio!