In Illinois Cook County Judges are allowed by state law to contribute to the financial election of policymakers. The problem is that a conflict of interest can be questioned. Judge Michael Toomin, a Cook County Circuit Judge has been selected to decide whether a special prosecutor should investigate the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in the way they handled a homicide case involving Richard Vanecko.
Vanecko happens to be the nephew of former Chicago’s mayor Richard M. Daley. Vanecko in 2004 got into a physical altercation in which he punched David Koschman in the face, which resulted in Koschman dying several days later. The case has been a nightmare for public officials because police files were lost, no one was ever charged with a crime, and a cloud of a cover-up by the police and the State’s Attorney’s Office has been hovering since this case became public.
Cook County court officials including Chief Judge Timothy Evans, and Judge Paul Biebel Jr. believe that there is nothing wrong with judges who have contributed money for the election of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and should not be prohibited from deciding whether or not to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the same office where campaign money was used for an election.
Alvarez’s spokeswoman Saly Daly defended the decision in the Chicago Sun-Times by saying that, “To imply that a judge contribution would influence the judicial conduct or discretion of a judge is absurd.”
Whether this is true or not, how can any government department or agency expect the citizen’s of Illinois to believe that their actions are legitimate, when Illinois, Cook County, and Chicago continues to be plague with corruption?
While this issue of ethics is being debated, tune in on Wednesday to say farewell to former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich who will be entering his first day in prison after being sentenced to 14 years for corruption.