Illinois Prosecutors Blast Handling Of The Smollett Case

I recently wrote about the absurd decision by the Cook County State’s Attorney to drop 16 criminal counts against actor Jussie Smollett for his hoax hate crime in Chicago. The decision was an utter travesty of justice and, as I discussed, the reasons cited by the prosecutors make little sense from a prosecutorial standpoint. Now the Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association (representing 1000 line prosecutors in the state) has taken the rare step of publicly denouncing the handling of the case. The letter below describes the handling of the case as “abnormal and unfamiliar.” That is putting it lightly. There is a federal investigation but it is not clear what if anything can be done to hold Smollett — or these prosecutors — accountable for their actions in this scandal. However, there is also Smollett’s alleged hoax involving mail that could trigger federal charges. It is a disgrace that the only hope for accountability in Chicago will have to come from the federal government and not the Cook County State’s Attorney.

Here is the letter:

The Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association serves as the voice for nearly 1,000 front line prosecutors across the State who work tirelessly towards the pursuit of justice.  The events of the past few days regarding the Cook County State’s Attorney’s handling of the Jussie Smollett case is not condoned by the IPBA, nor is it representative of the honest ethical work prosecutors provide to the citizens of the State of Illinois on a daily basis.

The manner in which this case was dismissed was abnormal and unfamiliar to those who practice law in criminal courthouses across the State.  Prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges alike do not recognize the arrangement Mr. Smollett received.  Even more problematic, the State’s Attorney and her representatives have fundamentally misled the public on the law and circumstances surrounding the dismissal. 

The public has the right to know the truth, and we set out to do that here. 

When an elected State’s Attorney recuses herself from a prosecution, Illinois law provides that the court shall appoint a special prosecutor.  See 55 ILCS 5/3-9008(a-15).  Typically, the special prosecutor is a neighboring State’s Attorney, the Attorney General, or the State Appellate Prosecutor.  Here, the State’s Attorney kept the case within her office and thus never actually recused herself as a matter of law.

Additionally, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office falsely informed the public that the uncontested sealing of the criminal court case was “mandatory” under Illinois law.  This statement is not accurate.  To the extent the case was even eligible for an immediate seal, that action was discretionary, not mandatory, and only upon the proper filing of a petition to seal.  See 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(g)(2).  For seals not subject to Section 5.2(g)(2), the process employed in this case by the State’s Attorney effectively denied law enforcement agencies of legally required Notice (See 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(d)(4)) and the legal opportunity to object to the sealing of the file (See 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(d)(5)).  The State’s Attorney not only declined to fight the sealing of this case in court, but then provided false information to the public regarding it.

The appearance of impropriety here is compounded by the fact that this case was not on the regularly scheduled court call, the public had no reasonable notice or opportunity to view these proceedings, and the dismissal was done abruptly at what has been called an “emergency” hearing.  To date, the nature of the purported emergency has not been publicly disclosed.  The sealing of a court case immediately following a hearing where there was no reasonable notice or opportunity for the public to attend is a matter of grave public concern and undermines the very foundation of our public court system. 

Lastly, the State’s Attorney has claimed this arrangement is “available to all defendants” and “not a new or unusual practice.”  There has even been an implication it was done in accordance with a statutory diversion program.  These statements are plainly misleading and inaccurate.  This action was highly unusual, not a statutory diversion program, and not in accordance with well accepted practices of State’s Attorney initiated diversionary programs.  The IPBA supports diversion programs, and recognizes the many benefits they provide to the community, the defendant and to the prosecuting agency.  Central to any diversion program, however, is that the defendant must accept responsibility.  To be clear here, this simply was not a deferred prosecution. 

Prosecutors must be held to the highest standard of legal ethics in the pursuit of justice.  The actions of the Cook County State’s Attorney have fallen woefully short of this expectation.  Through the repeated misleading and deceptive statements to the public on Illinois law and circumstances surrounding the Smollett dismissal, the State’s Attorney has failed in her most fundamental ethical obligations to the public.  The IPBA condemns these actions.

This irregular arrangement was an affront to prosecutors across the State, the Chicago Police Department, victims of hate crimes, and the people of the City of Chicago and Cook County.  We strongly encourage our members and the public to review the National District Attorneys Associations statement on prosecutorial best practices in high profile cases.

Best Regards,

Lee Roupas
Illinois Prosecutor’s Bar Association

102 thoughts on “Illinois Prosecutors Blast Handling Of The Smollett Case”

  1. 1) How could any prosecutor do this? How do they have that much power?
    2) How could any judge approve this? Is (s)he out of his/her mind?

    1. Those on the left supporting Smollet have no concern for equality under the law. They may know the law but they are not law abiding.

  2. At bare minimum, Jussie Smollett should be required to admit his guilt, apologize directly to the Chicago PD, pay the cost of all the manpower he wasted, and do community service, in private, without Jessie Jackson or any cameras present.

    If he had actually tried to get two innocent men thrown into prison because they were white, then he should do jail time. Since no innocent people were arrested, then jain time is not warranted.

    I believe he perpetrated a hate crime against white Trump supporters for political purposes. Only he knows his true motive. “More pay” does not sound feasible. Perhaps more attention.

    1. Compelled apologies are inane. ‘Community service’ is inane unless it’s chain-gang unpleasant. And he’s too bloody old to be put on probation, which is properly used for defendants under 25. Jail him, cane him in the public square, or put him in a pillory-and-stocks. And have the city corporation counsel sue his tuchus off for the cost of the investigation.

      1. As of now, Smollett is free to keep proclaiming his innocence and victimhood, which grates on my nerves. The gall.

            1. Is this the same Washington Post that tried to sell us BS on the Covington story?

              Trump fibs. WaPo lies.

  3. When a frequent poster’s most important fact for the day is that Trump might cheat at golf (very common among golfers) it tells us that one has to return to basics, so a simple op-ed from the WSJ might help. The important issue is that despite the nasty and strong attack against the President, perhaps the worst ever Trump survived where another wouldn’t have.

    Accountability for a Dossier

    The dirty trick that started the collusion fable needs exposing.

    The Editorial BoardMarch 25, 2019 7:05 p.m. ET
    Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent, in London in 2017.
    Special Counsel Robert Mueller has dispatched the Russia collusion theories to the land of cranks and bitter-enders, but there are still some loose ends. To wit, how did the partisan propaganda known as the Steele dossier become the basis for an unprecedented FBI probe of a presidential campaign, an abuse of law enforcement, and two years of media and political hysteria?

    The dossier was concocted in spring 2016 by oppo-research firm Fusion GPS, and financed by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Fusion hired former British spy Christopher Steele to compile sensational claims, based on anonymous Russian sources, that Donald Trump was compromised by Russian intelligence.

    Mr. Steele used his intelligence contacts to get the dossier to an Obama State Department official and the FBI. Fusion GPS chief Glenn Simpson funneled it to the FBI through Justice Department employee Bruce Ohr, and even planted it directly with former FBI general counsel James Baker via Mother Jones reporter David Corn.

    All of this should have set off FBI klaxon bells. Mr. Baker has told Congress the FBI was wary of the dossier’s provenance, but FBI Director Jim Comey and his team nonetheless made the dossier a central feature of their unprecedented counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign in July 2016.

    That included using the dossier’s allegations as part of its application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for a wiretap warrant in October 2016 against former Trump aide Carter Page. The FBI obscured for the court the damning information it had about Mr. Simpson’s political paymasters. Mr. Comey has testified that the FBI targeted at least four Trump-related individuals.

    Messrs. Simpson and Steele also spread all this to their friends in the press. They obliged with stories that portrayed the Steele info as credible, validated by the FBI’s interest, including a Yahoo News piece by Michael Isikoff on Sept. 23, 2016, “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin.”

    On Oct. 31, 2016, Mr. Corn ran his story, “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging A Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump.” Mr. Comey’s briefing to President-elect Trump in January 2017 was leaked and provided the media a hook to publish the dossier. The collusion panic took off.

    Mr. Mueller’s conclusion that there was no collusion suggests that he was not able to verify the dossier’s claims, and there needs to be a reckoning. The country has endured two years of angst and controversy based on a politically motivated invention financed by the Clinton campaign and promoted by former Obama CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

    The Justice Department Inspector General is investigating, and so should prosecutors. Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham is promising hearings, and he should put this entire crowd under oath. The Steele dossier looks like one of the nastiest dirty tricks in political history, and its authors and promoters should be held accountable..

  4. Another Recent Jones Development:


    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) — A federal judge has ruled a defamation lawsuit against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, InfoWars and others can proceed.

    According to a release, Brennan Gilmore sued Jones and other media outlets who pushed certain conspiracies and conducted a harassment campaign against him after he filmed the car attack that occurred on Aug. 12, 2017.

    In March 2018, Georgetown Law’s Civil Rights Clinic filed the lawsuit on Gilmore’s behalf.

    “Victims of vile conspiracy theories should take comfort in Judge [Norman] Moon’s ruling that Brennan Gilmore’s defamation suit against InfoWars must proceed,” said Andrew Mendrala, the supervising attorney for the Civil Rights Clinic. “Today’s decision shows that the law will protect victims of baseless lies by holding people like Alex Jones accountable for the harm they cause.”

    Gilmore captured footage of James Fields, Jr. slamming his car into a crowd of counter-protesters near the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville following the Unite the Right rally.

    Heather Heyer was killed and dozens of other people were hurt.

    In the suit, Gilmore says theories claiming he was involved in the car attack cropped up after he posted his video of it.

    He says, due to the conspiracy coverage of these claims, he has lost friends and received death threats.

    Fields has now been convicted on state charges and pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with the attack.

    Full Story from: “Defamation Lawsuit Against Info Wars Can Proceed”

    CBS 19 NEWS, Charlottesville Virginia, 3/29/19

    This piece is unrelated to the recent Alex Jones coverage I posted. But it also from this past week. This past week was not a good one for Jones. It is odd that Professor Turley made no mention of these Jones developments amid all the attention he paid to Jussie Smollett.

  5. I just got back from my Dogs R Us church service. The lead dog preacher (whose bark was translated by a stand up human) said that people need to get more stable. He used the words “small mutt” to describe the guy in the Cook County case named Smullett. There is nothing wrong with being a small mutt but larger ones get more attention in a dog pack. The same with a human pack. He ended with Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Bar Be With You.

  6. Hmmm. “Now the Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association (representing 1000 line prosecutors in the state) has taken the rare step of publicly denouncing the handling of the case.”

    LOL! Where were these 1000 prosecutors during Hillary Clinton’s faux FBI investigation, when Cheryl Mills, a potential subject, was allowed to represent all the witnesses so they could coordinate their story. For just one “abnormality.”

    Nope, true law and order is dead in this country. We have become a Banana Republic.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter



    This past week lawyers for the Sandy Hook massacre victims released an edited montage of their deposition with Info Wars’ Alex Jones (see link below). Incredibly Jones’ now claims this false reports on the Sandy Hook massacre were brought on by a “psychosis’ he has suffered in response to decades of conspiracies, or something to that effect.

    Jones’ deposition has some relevance since one of the Sandy Hook fathers killed himself this week in an apparent suicide. The Sandy Hook families assert that Jones compounded their suffering by fanning conspiracies theories through his Info Wars media platform. Victims claim they have been continually harassed by deluded followers of Jones.

    Jones, one should note, fanned outrageous conspiracies alleging that a Washington D.C. pizzeria was part of child sex ring involving members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. As preposterous as the conspiracy sounded, said pizzeria became the target of deluded psychotics influenced in part by Alex Jones. One incident involved a gunman.

    Jones has also fanned conspiracy theories alleging that FEMA is setting up ‘concentration camps’ around the country; maliciously undermining a federal agency tasked with disaster relief. One could say that Jones has never been constrained by any sense of responsibility for the misinformation he generates.

    Arguably the actions of Alex Jones have been far more damaging to the American public than Jussie Smollett’s fabrication of a racial assault in Chicago’s Streeterville. However odious Smollett’s plot may have been, it did not inspire legions of deluded followers. Thankfully so! Yet deluded followers of Alex Jones have been a genuine nuisance to the victims of Jones’ conspiracies.

    Below is a link to Washington Post coverage of Jones’ deposition with the lawyers of Sandy Hook victims. Included in that link is a video highlighting keys moments from said deposition.

      1. P Hill:

        Alex Jones had the Constitutional right to say whatever he wanted, but he was utterly and completely wrong to do so. I don’t know Alex Jones, so I don’t know how he came to such an absurd conclusion. I’ve heard weird conspiracy theories before, like about 9/11 or the Moon Landing, and there is no reasoning with them. From the brief search I did, Jones now admits that Sandy Hook was a real massacre. I do not know how long he held that opinion, and if he was sincerely mistaken or was just cruel. So terrible.

        Very sorry to hear that one of the parents lost the fight with grief. I am shocked when I read troll comments even on local community FB posts about deadly car accidents. People just don’t think about the arrows they are shooting.

        I honestly don’t think a parent would commit suicide 7 years later because of a terrible blog post. I think they would commit suicide because they lost their children. I know several people who lost children, and they are most emphatically not OK, even years later. At least one tried to commit suicide and the others are not out of danger.

        When are we going to guard our children like they are the most precious treasures in the world? There is absolutely no way to guarantee that no one will ever bring a deadly weapon to any school, try to kidnap a child, or in some other way engage in violence. They have gang shootouts in front of some schools. I don’t see anyone wringing their hands in angst that they don’t want to live in a world where they have to have armed guards in county recorders offices, jewelry stores, airplane terminals, Awards Shows, and either Democrat or Republican conventions. I don’t see national pushback against guarding any of those, just against guarding children. Even if you repealed the 2nd Amendment, we have a porous border. We are not an island. Only law abiding people, by definition, follow the law. There are also any number of other dangerous weapons. It is irresponsible not to make schools as safe as humanly possible, or to post armed guards ready and willing to engage on site, so that they don’t have to wait for help to arrive and gain entry. I favor either posting police officers to schools as a beat, posting active military, or allowing retired military and police to volunteer or be hired for the job. Considering what we already give armed protection to, it seems like common sense.

        Cowardly mass shooters choose schools because they are confident that they will be able to kill just about everyone they want without interference or anyone fighting back. A kid is not much of an opponent against an adult in body armor. Plus, killing the helpless innocents strikes terror and grief in the entire country. It generate rage. Your name will be in the paper. The media makes the grave error of not prefacing shooters’ description with adjectives such as “cowardly, fraction of a man, spineless, yellow, waste of space” or something more creative. They should really mock him mercilessly. If he survives, march him to court wearing a pink clown suit. Make such an example of him that unstable people will no longer want to emulate them.

        1. Not many will disagree with posting well trained and armed personnel at schools. However, not only is the typical shooter a disturbed student who doesn’t plan on escaping and indeed is likely suicidal, but trained police on average only hit human targets on 18% of their shots.

          The most effective gun control we can enact would target high velocity ammunition weapons. Since the physical damage from a bullet increases directly by weight, but exponentially by velocity, and since modern high velocity weapons use smaller loads, thus little recoil and the ability to more accurately get off multiple shots, the damage doctors see from these weapons is catastrophic and usually beyond their ability to care for. That is why these weapons were designed for combat. They should be outlawed.

          “Dr. Vincent DiMaio, a renowned expert in wound ballistics, says that the 5.56 x 45 mm cartridge fired from the M-16 rifle series (including the AR-15) is the most famous of the available high-velocity cartridges.

          This round is a 55 (or 62) grain bullet that leaves the rifle muzzle at 3250 feet per second (fps) – roughly three times the speed of modern handgun rounds.

          DiMaio explains that when a full metal jacketed 5.56/.223 round contacts human tissue it will travel along a circular path while beginning to yaw or turn sideways. This turning effect will become significant at 12 cm (approximately 4.7 inches).

          At the point of maximum yaw, the bullet will be turned at a 90-degree angle as it moves forward in the body.

          If the bullet remains intact, it will yaw to 180 degrees and continue to travel base first until it comes to rest.

          Handgun rounds do not yaw while traveling through human tissue.

          This turning or yaw effect releases tremendous kinetic energy into the tissue surrounding the permanent cavity created by direct bullet contact with human tissue. Not only is the permanent cavity larger due to the sideways path of the bullet, thereby destroying more tissue through direct bullet contact, but the surrounding tissue, i.e., tissue not directly touched by the bullet, is severely impacted as well. This surrounding tissue is called the temporary wound cavity.

          DiMaio reports that this temporary cavity will have a diameter from 11 to 12.5 times the diameter of the bullet itself.

          Damage to the tissue in the temporary cavity will include “severe…compression, stretching, and shearing of the displaced tissue. Injuries to blood vessels, nerves, or organs not struck by the bullet, and at a distance from the [bullet] path can occur.”

          Even bones not directly struck by the bullet itself, although rare, can be fractured by the kinetic energy emanating from the bullet’s contact with body tissue. Handgun rounds do little or no damage to the tissue, blood vessels, arteries, organs or bones located outside the permanent cavity. Temporary cavity damage from handgun wounds is a non-factor in handgun wound damage.

          DiMaio also comments on another factor not present with handgun rounds, which involves the likelihood of high-velocity rifle rounds breaking up or fragmenting while passing through human tissue. DiMaio states that “[p]rojectile fragmentation can amplify the effects of [damage to] the temporary cavity increasing the severity of a wound….”

          1. Anon – I am glad we agree on armed guards at schools. I am amazed at how frequently there is pushback on this issue. I find it strange that such a simple action has yet to be implemented.

            There is no safe bullet. All firearms are designed to kill people or animals, whether all you use them for is target practice. When a firearm is used for self defense, you want some stopping power. If you shoot an intruder with a BB gun, he’s going to keep coming.

            Take, for example, hollow points and similar ammunition. They not only not only destroy flesh, they also are less likely to travel through a home’s walls. This is a major issue in home defense – the background to your target. A full metal jacket is designed to penetrate, while a soft point bullet is only partially jacketed, and is designed to expand on impact.

            Hollow points are designed to bring down a target quickly, because they expand on impact. There is less likelihood of ricochet or passing through a target and then going through a wall and/or hitting another target. This is why many police forces use these rounds.

            Because gun ownership is a Constitutional Right, such efforts to weaken home defense run into difficulties in the trouble in court. For example, a federal judge recently struck down CA’s law limiting magazine capacity.

            U.S. District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez, who previously served on the California Superior Court and was appointed to the Southern District of California by George W. Bush in 2004, said in his decision that the state’s ban on magazines capable of holding any more than 10 rounds severely restricts California residents’ Second Amendment rights.

            “California’s law prohibiting acquisition and possession of magazines able to hold any more than 10 rounds places a severe restriction on the core right of self-defense of the home such that it amounts to a destruction of the right and is unconstitutional under any level of scrutiny..

            “The magazine ban arbitrarily selects 10 rounds as the magazine capacity over which possession is unlawful. … The ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of ‘arms’ that is overwhelmingly chosen by American citizens for the lawful purpose of self-defense,” Benitez ruled.

            There is an effort to kill the 2nd Amendment by a thousand cuts. Limit the type of weapon. Limit magazine capacity. Register for bullets. There is also now a law that only the legally registered owner of a gun can use it. That means that if an intruder is killing a husband, the wife will be arrested if she uses her husband’s gun to kill the intruder. These are all back door efforts at disarming law abiding citizens. It does nothing to remove guns from criminals barred from having them, as the black market is thriving.

            What law abiding citizen may one day end up with is a single action skeet shooter, totally ineffective for defending their homes.

            I agree with child safety measures and other technology to prevent someone unauthorized from firing a weapon. I do not agree with limiting law abiding citizens to magazines with less than 10 rounds, or in other ways infringing upon someone’s right to defend themselves or their own homes.

            Guns in the hands of criminals, gangs, and the mentally unstable are absolutely a national problem. Most gun violence occurs in gangs. If you want to break the gang gun violence cycle, then first you have to proactively police and put more boots on the ground. Then, you have to break the cycle of single motherhood sentencing children to a life of poverty and gangs. Deal with the gangs in existence, and break the source of membership and misery. In addition, states do quite a poor job of accurately updating NICS with people barred from owning firearms, for example, the mentally ill. States also need to improve in taking the necessary steps to ensure the dangerous mentally ill are property identified, and go through the system to get reported to NICS. We often hear about egregious red flags that mental health personnel did not properly address, and an individual did not get reported to NICS who should have.

      1. Peter Shill lies like his evil queen transgender monarch, Shillary Clinton



      Jones involves political freedom of speech. Smollett involves breaking the law, hate crimes and violations to federal law.

    2. P Hill – if Alex Jones perpetuated a hoax, filed a false police report, and claimed he was the victim of a crime he actually perpetrated, then yes, of course, he should be held accountable. Heck, I wish Jussie Smollett would be held accountable.

      Alex Jones is allowed to say conspiracy theories because of the First Amendment. He is not allowed to slander or libel someone who is not a public figure. He could be in legal jeopardy over the Sandy Hook allegations, because the victims and their families were not public figures. The Pizzeria was bad, and really hurt a small business. Hillary could not sue him, but perhaps the pizzeria owners could. The problem is that unless you are a wealthy public figure, most cannot afford expensive lawyer fees and years in court. That is why I was so glad to hear that a lawyer is working for the Covington kids to try to make them whole.

      A lot of people on this blog make allegations without any evidence whatsoever, often about Trump, his supporters, or conservatives in general. People can make ludicrous broad statements, but they cannot commit libel or slander against an actual person.

      There is also a difference between fabricating something and being wrong. I think many Democrats were simply wrong about their belief that Trump was a Manchurian candidate, because the media kept misleading them. I don’t think most of them deliberately promoted a falsehood. Comey knew what was going on, however, and was culpable.

      Everyone needs to do a better job researching before they type, and I’m beginning to think we need a busload of nuns as corroboration of major stories.

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