Blue Voice Presidential Candidate Kevin Graham Will Fight Back...
In a decision that could have a profound effect on the welfare of Chicago Police officers for decades to come, the Chicago City Council is reportedly weighing a massive payout to a convicted killer exonerated through the efforts of a controversial state torture commission.
The claims by convicted killer Shawn Whirl that he was abused during his arrest for the 1990 robbery and murder of a cab driver never went anywhere in court.
But criminal convictions in Chicago are no longer settled in the courts, thanks to a state-funded agency created in 2009, called the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission (TIRC). The unelected members of this commission have virtually unlimited power to resurrect long settled convictions, just like Whirl’s.
Here’s how it happened.
Whirl’s attorneys were unable to convince a court that Whirl was innocent. So Whirl’s attorneys from the law firm of Loevy and Loevy appealed the case to TIRC.
TIRC, comprised of members with powerful ties to the wrongful conviction movement, not surprisingly voted for a new evidentiary hearing. Even then the courts rejected Whirl’s claims.
Last year, [Circuit Court] Judge Jorge Alonso… denied Whirl a new trial, ruling that he didn't find him credible…
Not credible? In other words, the judge thought Whirl committed the murder. Undaunted, Loevy and Loevy appealed. The appeals court called for a retrial.
…A Cook County special prosecutor handling Burge-related cases decided Tuesday not to retry Whirl, leading to his release.
So, by Loevy and Loevy getting the case moved out of the courts to the torture commission, comprised of their sympathetic activists and attorneys, Whirl’s claims were manipulated back into the courts.
How’s that for the corruption of a criminal justice system?
Loevy and Loevy has powerful allies in Chicago’s media, who devoutly trumpeted Whirl’s release as another “wrongful conviction,” even though ruling after ruling rejected Whirl’s innocence claims. What freed Whirl was the fact that prosecutors merely declined the nearly impossible task of retrying a case more than twenty years old.
The media served Loevy and Loevy in another crucial way. In covering the Whirl story, the media, particularly the Chicago Tribune, obediently refused to acknowledge the growing evidence of corruption in the movement to exonerate killers. This evidence includes false affidavits and bribed witnesses in other cases, all of which might compel some members of the public to doubt Whirl’s claims even more.
And now the city is contemplating making Whirl a millionaire.
But that’s not the worst of it.
What makes the torture commission victory even more ominous for police officers is the fact that last year the state legislature expanded the power of TIRC by passing a new bill.
Chicago Law Bulletin:
The bill would effectively expand the definition to include all police torture claims occurring in Cook County.
What this means is that the board members of the TIRC now have the authority to regenerate any settled conviction, even one that has lost all appeals, like Whirl’s.
In effect, it means that there is really no such thing as retirement for a Chicago Police Officer, for even in their retirement years, officers can start getting subpoena after subpoena for some long-buried arrest merely by the whims of a crooked state agency who arbitrarily decides, in defiance of all court proceedings, to reopen the case.
Ask retired Sgt. Kenny Boudreau, a legend on the police force for his ability to investigate gangs and gang crime. He has become a target of the commission, which is trying to build a narrative of abuse against him despite his sterling resume.
How could this happen? Well, for one, the FOP was asleep at the wheel.
TIRC’s unprecedented power took shape in roughly the same time period as President Dean Angelo’s administration. The growth of TIRC is, in many ways, a telling sign of Angelo’s representation. Try finding one act, one statement by Angelo to confront this ominous threat to FOP members and the citizens of the city.
And just how bad are the people TIRC is trying to release from prison? Whirl is one example, but consider the fact that TIRC came within just a few votes of taking up the case of Jerry Mahaffey. Mahaffey and his brother Reginald Mahaffey were convicted on overwhelming evidence of a 1983 double murder on Chicago’s far north side.
These news films tell readers all they need to know.
So will Angelo stand by and let the city pay out millions to Whirl, another highly questionable civil settlement that throws Chicago Police under the bus, or will Angelo stand tall and begin to confront the anti-police movement in the city? Will Angelo at least write a letter to the City Counsel explaining why the city should take this case to court and not settle?
If the past can illuminate the future, the answer is no.
In contrast, Blue Voice candidate for president, Kevin Graham, has made fighting the wrongful conviction movement, including the power of TIRC, a central theme of his campaign.
The upcoming election, then, offers FOP members a clear choice: Do members want an administration that will fight the anti-police movement or not?
Can the FOP begin this fight before the ink is on Whirl’s check?