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The [Vanecko] Papers I: Alvarez

So far it looks like Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez stands to come out the biggest loser in the Vanecko indictment, which is somewhat remarkable considering that she does not appear to have been involved in the original case - just the most recent chapter of the cover-up.

I suppose that's because Richard M. Daley is no longer mayor, and Daley's pal Dick Devine is no longer state's attorney. Phil Cline is no longer the police chief, for that matter, so Alvarez is the biggest target left standing - Vanecko himself notwithstanding.

Alvarez is finally facing scrutiny of a sort for a series of bungles that have tarnished her tenure as the county's prosecutor-in-chief. By the time the Vanecko case is over, that tarnish just might make her toxic.

On Tuesday, Alvarez was forced to order a "top-to-bottom" review of hazing allegations at Maine West High School. Will the actions of her own office be part of that review?

"Police have said they originally sought felony charges for the teens, but prosecutors declined, saying they did not have enough evidence," the Sun-Times reports.

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From Friday's Beachwood:

Paging Anita "After a controversial trial that sparked interest in the legal community, a Chicago attorney has been acquitted of charges she improperly let a suspect in the slaying of a Chicago police officer use her cellphone in an interrogation room," the Tribune reports.

"A Cook County jury deliberated a little less than three hours Thursday evening before clearing Sladjana Vuckovic on two counts of bringing contraband into a penal institution."

Good.

"The charges sparked controversy among criminal-defense lawyers who said they routinely bring their cellphones into police interview rooms and sometimes let clients make calls," the Tribune reported on Thursday. "Some veteran attorneys said they could not remember a similar case ever being pursued by police."

Tough week for Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, who seems intent on bringing vengeful picayune cases on behalf of the Chicago Police Department - while being less aggressive on cases that really matter.

And while I think David Protess's actions in his dispute with Alvarez were grievously wrong, her method of responding was not wise.

Finally, this headline says it all about this ridiculous prosecution: "Alvarez Trades 'Guilty' Plea on NATO Terrorism Charge for Four Months in Boot Camp: Defendant opts for guilty plea rather than indefinite term in jail for making remarks about nonexistent bomb in non-existent Harry Potter book in alcohol-fueled remarks to undercover cops."

*

Alvarez was sworn in for a second term on Monday. Predictably, she did not face a challenge in the Democratic primary, and only had token opposition in the general.

That's how Cook County rolls.

But if the early evidence is any indication, she won't be around for the 2016 swearing-in - if she even lasts that long.

*

Astonishingly, Alvarez said on Monday that she had opened her own grand jury on the Koschman case.

If you have the patience to cope with this typically wonky WTTW video, you'll see Carol Marin respond to that bit of news by saying that people close to the probe do not find that credible. It's not clear if they don't find the statement credible - that Alvarez is lying about empaneling a grand jury - or if they don't find the grand jury she empaneled to have been credible because of the way she ran it.

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"We were in the process of reviewing this case, looking at everything in this case - everything - reinterviewing witnesses, looking at all aspects [of] the underlying case as well as any kind of corruption or cover-up," she said on Monday.

Did she call herself as a witness?

"She said her grand jury was looking into the Koschman case for 'months, almost close to a year,' though she could not remember when her grand jury investigation began."

It was a secret even to her!

*

At least Alvarez is cuter than a ladybug.

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More on Thursday.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on December 5, 2012


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