Thursday, August 4, 2011

Could Illinois Supreme Court's Reasoning Behind "In Re DOMINIQUE F" Nullify the Latest Decision on Louis Bianchi?

Winnebago County Circuit Judge Joseph McGraw ruled another swift directed verdict in the second bench trial of McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi this week for official misconduct charges. This follows McGraw's first directed verdict in the trial held last March favoring McHenry County's top law enforcer.

Directed verdicts, considered unusual to occur even once, allowed Bianchi defense attorney Terry Ekl to win both trials without presenting any evidence.

Special prosecutors Henry Tonigan and Thomas McQueen have the option to appeal McGraw's latest decision. Should they decide to press forward, they could object to McGraw's refusal to step down last April when the judge's impartiality was questioned. A successful appeal would nullify McGraw's acquittal of Bianchi this week, regardless of any merits of his decision. Double jeopardy would not apply, as the trial would be a nullity.

To date, special prosecutors have given no indication of appealing.

McHenryLeaks was the first outlet to publish that McGraw had received roughly $20,000 from the Illinois Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor (ILSAAP) in recent years for instructing seminars. Multiple potential conflicts of interest with those associated with Bianchi and ILSAAP have been discovered by McHenryLeaks in government records, many of which have never been addressed in mainstream news. (Click titles in sidebars on the right.)

McGraw received $3,125 for services from Oct. 25 - 29, 2010, the same dates of ILSAAP's "Basic Trial Advocacy Program" held in Springfield.  The course schedule of this training seminar found on ILSAAP's website shows that McGraw was part of a three-person panel discussion on pre-trial motions with Amy Dalby's prosecutor, David O'Connor of Orland Park,  on Oct. 25th -- three days after McGraw's first hearing involving Bianchi. Dalby was a key witness in Bianchi's first trial.

McQueen motioned last April that McGraw recuse himself as he had been paid by the same state agency that was involved in other aspects of Bianchi's case. McGraw denied the request stating that there was no quid pro quo asked for, expected or received. The Chicago Tribune reported, "'These accusations,' ...McGraw said, 'when considered in context, do not create even the appearance of impropriety.'"