The Chicago Way

Due to the high-profile nature of the case, or the spotlight the internet can shine on everything, the Chicago Way handling of the Jussie Smollett case may not succeed.

The manner in which the States Attorney for Cook County dismissed all 16 felonies Smollett was charged with for faking a “hate crime” has come under intense scrutiny. Before you counter that this scrutiny is motivated by partisan politics, racism or homophobia, consider this letter written by the Illinois Prosecutor’s Bar Association.

The letter details the manner in which States Attorney Kim Foxx violated prosecutorial standards and possibly they law, and repeatedly lied to the public about the deal. There is no soft peddling of the Associations conclusions:

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.

What is abundantly clear is that there has been no justice in this case. The prosecutor claims that Smollett was not exonerated while Smollett claims victory and vindication. Smollett says he just wants to put this behind him and return to work. Leaving me to wonder if he has been as truthful from the beginning as he claims why isn’t he calling for justice? Why is he not demanding that the perpetrators of the attack be prosecuted?

I habitually try to find the possible upside to just about everything as a guard against cynicism and despair. Perhaps the high-profile nature of this case and the scrutiny the internet can bring to bear will weaken the edifice of out two-tiered justice system and move us toward the day when all citizens are actually considered equally before the law. Perhaps, but not likely.

Author: Stephen Macklin

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