IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY ILLINOIS

The People of State of Illinois,

Plaintiff

v.

Gale A

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No. 99329469

DEFENDANT'S EXHIBIT IN SUPPORT OF:


MOTION FOR COURT
TO REVIEW ALL CASES OF CITIZENS EVER CHARGED
BY DEFENDANT'S PROSECUTING ATTORNEYS
AND FOR THE STATE TO
LOSE POLICE/JUDICIAL JURISDICTIONAL RIGHTS OVER MINORS


AND IN SUPPORT OF ALL OTHER MOTIONS RE: PROSECUTORS IN THIS CASE

This article is from the New York Times Internet Edition: February 14, 2000. If it's not sufficient, the defendant has numerous other articles from the Chicago Tribune and other sources which she can submit.

IN AMERICA / By BOB HERBERT

Criminal Justice Breakdown

The gruesome problems in the criminal justice system that have been overlooked for so many years are starting to burst into public view, and the system is breaking down in some parts of the country.

In Los Angeles an enormous scandal is unfolding. Dozens of people are known to have been framed by the police and some innocent people reportedly were shot. A criminal probe of the department has uncovered a wide range of offenses committed by police officers, including drug dealing, tampering with evidence, witness intimidation, perjury and assault.

The police misconduct has resulted in the reversal of more than 30 criminal convictions. It is believed that hundreds of other cases have been tainted. The estimated potential loss from lawsuits against the department and the city has soared beyond $100 million.

In Illinois, Gov. George Ryan has ordered a temporary halt to executions because so many innocent people were landing on death row. Mr. Ryan is a moderate Republican and a supporter of the death penalty. But the criminal justice system in his state has proved to be both tragic and farcical. Real killers roamed free while the wrongfully convicted were handed tickets to eternity. In some cases ignorance and incompetence were the culprits. In other, more chilling instances, the innocent were deliberately betrayed.

Illinois has exonerated 13 men who had been condemned to death. Across the country scores of people have had their convictions overturned after being sentenced to die.

Said Governor Ryan: "I cannot support a system, which, in its administration, has proven so fraught with error, and has come so close to the ultimate nightmare, the state's taking of an innocent life."

The Chicago Tribune, in an investigative series on the death penalty in Illinois, concluded: "Capital punishment in Illinois is so riddled with faulty evidence, unscrupulous trial tactics and legal incompetence that justice has been forsaken."

From coast to coast the criminal justice system is riddled with the horrors of incompetence and worse. Wrongful executions, trust me, have already occurred. I wrote a series of columns about David Wayne Spence, who was executed in Texas in 1997. Mr. Spence was almost certainly innocent. The detective who investigated the triple murder for which he was executed told me, "Nothing from the investigation ever led us to any evidence that he was involved."

Mr. Spence's execution apparently escaped the notice of Gov. George W. Bush, who was quick to assert on "Meet the Press" yesterday that he was "confident that every person that has been put to death in Texas under my watch has been guilty of the crime charged."

Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat who is sponsoring legislation that would offer some additional protection against wrongful convictions in death penalty cases, spoke last week about the case of Anthony Porter, who spent 16 years on death row in Illinois.

"Was he cleared by the state?" asked Senator Leahy. "No. He was cleared by a class of undergraduate journalism students at Northwestern University, who took on his case as a class project. That got him out."

If the criminal justice system has such a poor track record when it comes to capital cases, imagine what the situation is like in the cases with much less at stake. How many thousands of people have been wrongfully convicted? In how many instances have the real criminals been ignored by the authorities, and thus allowed to remain free and prey on others?

How many innocent people have been maimed or killed in the name of the law? Consider the District of Columbia's Metropolitan Police Department, which killed more people per capita in the 1990's than any other big-city force. The Washington Post, after an eight-month investigation, said "internal police files and court records reveal a pattern of reckless and indiscriminate gunplay by officers sent into the streets with inadequate training and little oversight."

There is an epidemic of police and prosecutorial misconduct and incompetence in this country. The scandals in Los Angeles and Illinois are festering sores, symptoms of a complex disease that both threatens and--to the extent that we ignore it--shames us all.

 

 

 

   

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