Friday, July 21, 2006

Daley's Duty

Note: I wrote the following before seeing today's commentary in your Chicago Sun-Times. Otherwise, I might not have bothered.

In her column in your Chicago Sun-Times, Michael Sneed repeats a question from Judge Edward Egan, the special prosecutor appointed to investigate Chicago's police torture cases:
"I wish somebody would simply ask [former Chicago Police Supt. Richard Brzeczek] why he didn't take action regarding the Burge accusations when he was police superintendent, rather than waiting for a response from Daley."

Answer, please.
I too have a simple question.

Setting aside the allegations of sadistic police torture for a moment, What other attorney would receive such a pass after failing to act on notification that his office/firm had routinely used coerced and perjured testimony in court?

Lawyers are officers of the court and, as such, hold certain responsibilities.

Under Rule 3.3(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, a lawyer shall not "offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. If a lawyer has offered material evidence and comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures."

In addition an attorney, may not "participate in the creation or preservation of evidence when the lawyer knows or reasonably should know the evidence is false" or "counsel or assist the client in conduct the lawyer knows to be illegal or fraudulent."

As the language of the Rule makes explicit, a lawyer is judged on what he should have known given the information presented to him by the facts of the circumstances. So Mr. Daley's habitual defense of forgetfulness coupled with selective ignorance is not an acceptable solution to the problem of police torture and perjury.

By failing to conduct any investigation into the information that Brzeczek provided -- in addition to his dereliction of duty as Cook County's chief law enforcement officer -- Richard Daley does not appear to have even begun to satisfy his bar obligations as an officer of the Court.

And while it may be too late to prosecute anyone for the routine torture of suspects under the reign of John Burge, there is no statute of limitations for a client or other person to complain about the conduct of an attorney -- even a former Cook County state's attorney -- to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

No comments:


Blog Archive