After several years of arresting citizens for merely recording cops in public, the Illinois Eavesdropping Law is officially dead.
The official notice came Tuesday when a lower court judge granted a permanent injunction to the ACLU, allowing them to record cops in public without getting arrested, ending a two-year legal battle in which a stubborn state attorney did all she could to keep the law alive, a felony which could have sent citizens to prison for 15 years.
But Cook County State Attorney Anita Alvarez, finally relented, accepting the decision by U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman, which was expected after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Alvarez’s appeal last month where she hoped to reverse a federal appellate decision that had already determined the law was unconstitutional.
Alvarez could have appealed again, but that would have just prolonged the inevitable.
Besides, she has bigger issues to worry about since a 60 Minutes episode aired two weeks ago highlighting Chicago as the “False Confessions Capital” of the United States, revealing that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the Chicago Police Department for years of coerced confessions.
Mainly on young, black men who had been interrogated for hours for crimes they did not commit before they broke down under unfulfilled promises that they would be allowed to go home if they simply signed the confession.
Only they never got to go home.
The news segment featured several men who had been released after decades in prison, pressured into admitting to rapes and murders they did not commit, only for them to be exonerated decades later by DNA evidence.
In one of the cases, the DNA of a convicted rapist was found inside a murdered rape victim before a group of youths who had no connection to him were convicted.
In the 60 Minutes episode, Alvarez suggested that perhaps the rapist happened to stumble upon the body after the youths had killed and abandoned the body, performing an act of necrophilia which is how his semen ended up inside the body.
Her incredulous statements prompted the Chicago Tribune, a traditionally conservative newspaper, to run a headline stating that “Cook County State’s Attorney Alvarez humiliates herself on national TV.”
Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, said she reminded him of Miami-Dade Major Nancy Perez.
Here is a transcript from the 60 Minutes interview, which you can see in the video above (she comes at 7:13).
Anita Alvarez: We have not uncovered any evidence of any misconduct by the police officers or the State’s Attorneys that took the statements in these cases.
Narration: Alvarez still believes the confession Terrill Swift gave in the Nina Glover case. Despite the fact there was no DNA evidence linking him or the others to the crime.
Byron Pitts: Did you find any of the boys’ DNA on the victim?
Anita Alvarez: No, we didn’t.
Byron Pitts: Did you find any of their DNA in the basement of the house?
Anita Alvarez: No.
Byron Pitts: How do you explain that the boys would say they raped a woman, and there not be any DNA evidence? Doesn’t that strike you as odd?
Anita Alvarez: Well, we would love to have DNA on everything. And every piece of evidence that we have, in every crime. But it doesn’t necessarily occur.
Narration: Last year, the (New York-based) Innocence Project retested the one DNA sample that was recovered inside the victim Nina Glover. It was submitted to the National DNA Database and a match was made to Johnny Douglas, a serial rapist and convicted killer, who is now deceased. But the new discovery did not change Anita Alvarez’s mind.
Byron Pitts: You find out years later that, in fact, the DNA found inside the victim’s body belonged to Johnny Douglas. And Johnny Douglas is a convicted serial rapist and murderer. That doesn’t tell you that he most likely is the person who killed this woman?
Anita Alvarez: No. It doesn’t. Is he a bad guy? Absolutely, he is. Absolutely. But, can we prove, just by someone’s bad background, that they committed this particular crime? It takes much more than that….
Narration: In the case of Robert Taylor, Jonathan Barr and James Harden, DNA found inside the 14-year-old victim Catteresa Matthews was also retested, and a match was made to Willie Randolph, a 34-year-old convicted rapist, with 39 arrests. (Innocence Project Defense attorney) Peter Neufeld says prosecutors rejected the DNA evidence and instead came up with an unusual theory to explain it all away.
Peter Neufeld: They suggest perhaps after the kids killed her this man wandered by and committed an act of necrophilia.
Byron Pitts: Necrophilia. A lot of our viewers won’t know what that means.
Peter Neufeld: Having sex with a dead person.
Anita Alvarez: It’s possible. We have seen cases like that.
Byron Pitts: Possible?
Anita Alvarez: It is. We’ve seen it in other cases.
Byron Pitts: It’s possible that this convicted rapist, wandered past an open field, and had sex with a 14-year-old girl who was dead?
Anita Alvarez: Well, there’s all kinds of possibilities out there, and what I’m saying is that I don’t know what happened.
Without any acknowledgement of irony, Alvarez responded to the criticism by penning a letter that she had been “grossly” misrepresented in the 60 Minutes piece.
Alvarez, who coasted to a reelection for her second term last month, a proud feat for the first Latina and woman to oversee the Cook County State Attorney’s Office, is also coming under fire for refusing to prosecute the nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, despite evidence that he murdered a man.
Seven years ago, Cook County prosecutors decided not to charge anyone in the violent death of David Koschman, saying it was because the Chicago Police Department didn’t know for sure who had pushed or punched the 21-year-old from Mount Prospect during a drunken confrontation after a night of bar-hopping on Rush Street.
Now that the police say they know who did it — Richard J. “R.J.’’ Vanecko, a nephew of Mayor Daley and White House Chief of Staff William Daley — Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez says there still isn’t enough evidence to file criminal charges.
Last week, a special prosecutor announced an indictment against Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko, a nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, for involuntary manslaughter in the 2004 death of David Koschman — a case in which Alvarez had declined to file charges, saying there wasn’t enough evidence. Alvarez also argued that an outside prosecutor wasn’t needed. Now, the grand jury led by special prosecutor Dan K. Webb, a former U.S. attorney appointed by a judge, continues to investigate whether criminal charges should be filed against anyone from Alvarez’s office or the Chicago Police Department over their handling of the case.Alvarez is a prime example of what is wrong with the system today, a woman who blindly sides with the police state over the Constitution.
Alvarez is a prime example of everything that is wrong with the system. Here’s hoping she resigns and goes away, never to be heard from again.