The Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association serves as the voice for nearly 1,000 front line prosecutors across the State who work tirelessly towards the pursuit of justice. The events of the past few days regarding the Cook County State’s Attorney’s handling of the Jussie Smollett case is not condoned by the IPBA, nor is it representative of the honest ethical work prosecutors provide to the citizens of the State of Illinois on a daily basis.
The manner in which this case was dismissed was abnormal and unfamiliar to those who practice law in criminal courthouses across the State. Prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges alike do not recognize the arrangement Mr. Smollett received. Even more problematic, the State’s Attorney and her representatives have fundamentally misled the public on the law and circumstances surrounding the dismissal.
The public has the right to know the truth, and we set out to do that here.
When an elected State’s Attorney recuses herself from a prosecution, Illinois law provides that the court shall appoint a special prosecutor. See 55 ILCS 5/3-9008(a-15). Typically, the special prosecutor is a neighboring State’s Attorney, the Attorney General, or the State Appellate Prosecutor. Here, the State’s Attorney kept the case within her office and thus never actually recused herself as a matter of law.
Additionally, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office falsely informed the public that the uncontested sealing of the criminal court case was “mandatory” under Illinois law. This statement is not accurate. To the extent the case was even eligible for an immediate seal, that action was discretionary, not mandatory, and only upon the proper filing of a petition to seal. See 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(g)(2). For seals not subject to Section 5.2(g)(2), the process employed in this case by the State’s Attorney effectively denied law enforcement agencies of legally required Notice (See 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(d)(4)) and the legal opportunity to object to the sealing of the file (See 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(d)(5)). The State’s Attorney not only declined to fight the sealing of this case in court, but then provided false information to the public regarding it.
The appearance of impropriety here is compounded by the fact that this case was not on the regularly scheduled court call, the public had no reasonable notice or opportunity to view these proceedings, and the dismissal was done abruptly at what has been called an “emergency” hearing. To date, the nature of the purported emergency has not been publicly disclosed. The sealing of a court case immediately following a hearing where there was no reasonable notice or opportunity for the public to attend is a matter of grave public concern and undermines the very foundation of our public court system.
Lastly, the State’s Attorney has claimed this arrangement is “available to all defendants” and “not a new or unusual practice.” There has even been an implication it was done in accordance with a statutory diversion program. These statements are plainly misleading and inaccurate. This action was highly unusual, not a statutory diversion program, and not in accordance with well accepted practices of State’s Attorney initiated diversionary programs. The IPBA supports diversion programs, and recognizes the many benefits they provide to the community, the defendant and to the prosecuting agency. Central to any diversion program, however, is that the defendant must accept responsibility. To be clear here, this simply was not a deferred prosecution.
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. We strongly encourage our members and the public to review the National District Attorneys Associations statement on prosecutorial best practices in high profile cases.
Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association
Full Statement available
Attorney Team Leader – SVP Unit in the Washington State AGO’s Criminal Justice Division in Seattle.
The Bob Keppel Criminal Justice Division of the Washington State Attorney General's Office has an exciting opportunity in its Seattle office for attorneys interested in supervising a team of attorneys who prosecute the civil commitment of sexually violent predators. The attorney selected for this position will serve as a Trial Team Leader and supervise other attorneys in the Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Unit of the Criminal Justice Division. The attorney will also handle a lesser caseload of SVP civil commitment cases in addition to supervisory duties. The SVP Unit prosecutes civil commitment cases throughout Washington's 39 counties. We seek an attorney with significant litigation experience to lead and supervise a trial team of 3-4 attorneys who prosecute SVP cases. The selected candidate will report to the SVP Section Chief. The selected candidate will work with other attorneys, paralegals, legal assistants and investigators to successfully prosecute SVP cases. The selected candidate is responsible for managing attorneys under his/her supervision, evaluating attorney performance, assisting/mentoring attorneys in trial preparation, and assisting in the development of training for less-experienced trial attorneys. Work in the SVP Unit is demanding but rewarding. The selected candidate will join a staff of experienced attorneys and professional staff dedicated to safer communities. Requirements include a JD and 5 years of trial experience. Visit posting for additional details, qualifications and application portal at: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/washington/jobs/2329661/attorney-team-leader-svp-unit-criminal-justice-division-in-seattle?department=Attorney%20General's%20Office&sort=PositionTitle%7CAscending&pagetype=jobOpportunitiesJobsDeadline to apply is 2/18/19. The WA AGO is an EOE. Persons requiring reasonable accommodation may contact Tracy Robinson at 360-586-7693. The hearing impaired may contact the Washington Relay Service at 1-800-676-3777 or www.washingtonrelay.com.
Trial Attorney – SVP Unit in the Washington State AGO’s Criminal Justice Division in Seattle.
The Bob Keppel Criminal Justice Division of the Washington State Attorney General's Office has an exciting opportunity in its Seattle office for attorneys interested in prosecuting the civil commitment of sexually violent predators under RCW 71.09. The mission of the Criminal Justice Division is to work with and support its partners in the criminal justice community in creating safe communities. The attorney selected for this position will work to provide safer communities by prosecuting sexually violent predator civil commitment cases throughout Washington's 39 counties. SVP caseloads consist of civil commitment and post commitment trial work in the superior courts, as well as appeals that arise from these cases in both state and federal courts. SVP cases are civil in nature. Trial litigation duties include pretrial discovery under the civil rules such as depositions, interrogatories and requests for production. Duties also include litigating SVP cases through all phases of the SVP proceedings, including filing decisions, initial commitment trials (both bench and jury), post commitment proceedings (including bench and jury release trials), and some appeals. Work in the SVP Unit is demanding but rewarding. The selected candidate will join a staff of experienced attorneys and professional staff dedicated to safer communities. Requirements include a JD and 5 years of trial experience. Visit the posting for additional details, qualifications and application portal at https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/washington/jobs/2329650/trial-attorney-svp-unit-criminal-justice-division-in-seattle?department=Attorney%20General's%20Office&sort=PositionTitle%7CAscending&page=3&pagetype=jobOpportunitiesJobs Deadline to apply is 2/18/19. The WA AGO is an EOE. Persons requiring reasonable accommodation may contact Tracy Robinson at 360-586-7693. The hearing impaired may contact the Washington Relay Service at 1-800-676-3777 or www.washingtonrelay.com.
Prosecuting Attorney – Washington State AGO’s Criminal Justice Division in Seattle
The Bob Keppel Criminal Justice Division of the Washington State Attorney General's Office seeks an attorney with prosecution experience to work in its Criminal Litigation Unit. The work location is downtown Seattle. The selected candidate will represent the State as an assistant attorney general in criminal prosecutions around the state. The Criminal Litigation Unit receives criminal referrals from any of Washington's 39 county prosecuting attorneys or the governor. The Criminal Litigation Unit generally receives criminal cases when the county has a conflict of interest, a case will stretch the resources of a county with limited resources, or the governor deems investigation and prosecution by the Attorney General appropriate in a particular circumstance. The successful candidate for this position is proficient in prosecuting all manner of criminal cases. The selected candidate will handle an assortment of criminal cases that may range from gross misdemeanors to murder. Cases involving public corruption are a focus of the Criminal Litigation Unit, including past prosecutions of public figures such as attorneys, corrections officers, elected officials, police officers, and public employees. Requirements include a JD and a minimum of 3 years of criminal law trial practice. Visit the posting for additional details, qualifications and application portal at: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/washington/jobs/2329682/prosecuting-attorney-criminal-justice-division-in-seattle?department=Attorney%20General's%20Office&sort=PositionTitle%7CAscending&page=3&pagetype=jobOpportunitiesJobs Deadline to apply is 2/18/19. The WA AGO is an EOE. Persons requiring reasonable accommodation may contact Tracy Robinson at 360-586-7693. The hearing impaired may contact the Washington Relay Service at 1-800-676-3777 or www.washingtonrelay.com.
The John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program provides for the payment of eligible educational loans (both Federal Family Education Loan Program [FFELP] and Federal Direct Loans) for state and federal public defenders and state prosecutors who agree to remain em-ployed as public defenders and prosecutors for at least three years. The annual awards to qualified defenders and prosecutors may be up to $4,000 (dependent on funding), up to an aggregate total of $60,000, to repay their student loan debt. If the employment commitment is not fulfilled, any amount received must be repaid.
Download the full Application here.
Vermilion CountyJob Description
Job Title: Assistant State’s AttorneyDepartment: State’s Attorney’s Office Prepared By: State’s AttorneyPrepared Date: January 2, 2019
Under general direction, performs legal attorney work in the State’s Attorney’s Office as prescribed by law.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned.
Exercises primary responsibility for the preparation, plea negotiation and trial of all types of criminal cases of normal complexity.
Exercises primary responsibility for the preparation and presentation of written briefs and oral judgements in all types of criminal cases of normal complexity.
Prepares and presents complaints for arrest /search warrants in criminal cases.
Prepare charges in criminal cases of normal complexity.
QUALIFICATIONS To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
EDUCATION and/or EXPERIENCE
Requires license to practice law before Illinois Courts.
Ability to read, analyze, and interpret the most complex documents. Ability to respond effectively to the most sensitive inquiries or complaints. Ability to write speeches and articles using original or innovative techniques or style. Ability to make effective and persuasive speeches and presentations. Effective jury trial experience.
Ability to apply principles of logical or scientific thinking to a wide range of intellectual and practical problems. Ability to deal with nonverbal symbolism (formulas, scientific equations, graphs, musical notes, etc.,) in its most difficult phases. Ability to deal with a variety of abstract and concrete variables.
PHYSICAL DEMANDS The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
While performing the duties of this job, the employee regularly required to talk or hear. The employee frequently is required to stand, walk and sit; use hands to finger, handle or feel; and reach with hands and arms. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include ability to adjust focus.
WORK ENVIRONMENT The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
In accordance with the Vermilion County Personnel Manual, the above is an accurate description of the duties and functions of the stated position in the department, agency, or organization.
Date State’s Attorney
Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association | P.O. Box 114 | Wheaton, IL 60187 | firstname.lastname@example.org