It's time to prosecute the prosecutors


In response to a comment made by Timothy Capps to a Facebook post on 9-26-19: "Illinois State's attorneys are answerable to only one power: the ballot box. The Attorney General has no statutory oversight. Few things are as repugnant to agents of the state as investigating and prosecuting their own. DuPage County saw some prosecutions and civil damage awards, but there are probably others here who could name an SA whose meth offenses were swept under the rug, and not very tidily."

Response by Liz Franklin:

True, however consider this:
"Illinois courts have become alarmed at repeated instances of prosecutorial misconduct. Frustrated by the reoccurrences of prosecutorial misconduct, the Illinois Appellate Court has repeatedly asserted that such impropriety should be handled in disciplinary proceedings regardless of whether it prompts reversal. Similarly, the United States Supreme Court has recommended that, rather than reversing a defendant's conviction, a court should address prosecutorial misconduct by instituting disciplinary proceedings or by chastising the guilty prosecutor through identification in a published opinion. Notwithstanding the suggestions of the courts, Illinois disciplinary authorities rarely have instituted disciplinary proceedings against prosecutors for courtroom misconduct. In fact, Illinois can boast of only one published opinion, albeit an anomalous one at best, pertaining to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct in the disciplinary context. As an alternative to formal disciplinary measures, the Illinois Appellate Court has often reversed a defendant's conviction as a sanction for improper and prejudicial. While reversal is necessary to protect the defendant's rights, it fails to address the problem from a professional standpoint. Thus, it is time for the bar to refocus its position on dealing with unethical prosecutors. This article will examine the problem of prosecutorial misconduct in Illinois. First, the various professional responsibility codifications, which regulate prosecutorial conduct, will be discussed. Next, the article will note the boundaries of permissible and impermissible prosecutorial conduct as delineated by a multitude of Illinois decisions. After examining how prosecutorial misconduct has been handled outside the context of a direct appeal of a defendant's conviction, the article will conclude by recommending new remedies for this all too frequent problem."

Would it surprise you to learn that the article referred to above is, "The Epidemic of Prosecutorial Courtroom Misconduct in Illinois: Is It Time to Start Prosecuting the Prosecutors?"
Edward M. Genson Partner, Genson, Steinback & Gillespie, Chicago, IL Marc W. Published in Volume 19, Article 3, Issue 1, of the Loyola University Chicago Law Journal, published in 1987.

Let me say that again...PUBLISHED IN 1987. That's right, the EXACT YEAR REYNARD TOOK OFFICE. This wasn't something that cropped up after Reynard left office a decade or two later when the innocent were finally able to have their appeals heard. This is was a KNOWN problem in Illinois, at the height of the epidemic, and still, that did not dissuade Reynard from engaging in prosecutorial misconduct. At that time, all Illinois prosecutors had been put on notice. There are plenty of avenues the citizens can take that don't involve the voting polls, although I do agree with your statement for the most part. Accountability is the first step. The citizens of McLean County must first admit and acknowledge that this atrocity occurred. The second step is awareness. The current powers-that-be need to be made aware of the misdeeds that occurred and be given an opportunity to rectify it. Absent that acknowledgment (which, quite frankly, will probably never come because it has been my experience when it comes to claims of innocence, they are like a dog with a bone), they can demand that an conviction integrity unit (CIU) be formed to investigate the individual cases of proclaimed innocence's. They should take every step to assure that those still languishing in prison for crimes they didn't commit are giving the opportunity to automatically have the cases reheard on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct. Given the pattern that exists, I'm not sure that the current SA wants to wear the egg on his face that belongs to Reynard.
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© 2019 Liz Franklin