Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What Does the Chicago George Ryan Trial Have in Common with McHenry County Seatbelt Enforcement?

The answer is jury nullification.

Former Governor George Ryan’s top-flight attorneys and pro se litigant Ken Prazak, Libertarian from East Dundee, both wanted to use the concept in their trials.

Ryan was denied the opportunity. Prazak was not.

The Ryan strategy was to convince the jury that, even if its members thought that Ryan was guilty of one or more of the charges, he should be found not guilty because of the good deeds that he had performed. Presumably, his role in commuting prisoners’ death sentences should be enough to mitigate any misdeeds that the jury perceives. This proposed quid pro quo was not explicitly stated by Ryan’s attorneys, but the U.S. Attorney’s legal reply was replete with citations of why jury nullification was not an appropriate defense.

For more on jury nullification, click here.

Other stories that might be of interest on McHenry County Blog: Lisa Madigan fights official corruption, more on HIV public policy, evidence that pharmacists oppose the Blagojevich "morning after" policy, a dirty trick on Rauschenberger, the other 1/3 of the Ryan lobbying fees, school crooks and empty precincts in McHenry County.

2 comments:

Pat Hickey 9:09 AM  

Cal,

As always, you present a fair approach to a tough issue. I am not so blessed. Though a life-long Democrat, I have an enormous regard for George Ryan. The public figure who let Aaron Paterson and other thugs back into the community, I have never met, nor the guy who could stomach the presence of a Fawell, Udtsten, or the oafish Hog.

The George Ryan that I have known since 1975 when I was a baby teacher at Bishop Mac in Kankakee; ran for City Clerk as a Democrat - we got waxed -; had the pleasure of George and Lura Lynn at our wedding; and the comfort of the Ryan's at my wife's wake and funeral is man who only wanted to help other people.

That is my empirical sense of George Ryan - the man I experienced. We never shared the same political points of view but respected each other as men.

If I were asked - I wouldn't be as a political and social nobody - I would stand with him. Politics and law have their opportunity to kick him to the curb. Goerge Ryan would never do that and I sure as hell won't weigh in with those who are enjoying his undoing.

I saw what George Ryan did for people and he represents what is good in public life. I am no political or social sophisticate, but my family values do not allow me to turn my back on a Man I admire.

Shelbyville 7:45 AM  

Amen to all of that. He helped me with a family matter, more than once, when no one else would. He is a man of his word and I also, will stand with him.

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