Saturday, December 10, 2011

Good Cop Bad Cop

Multi-UseHa ha, that isn't a new roundabout in Waukegan. They were circling the wagons at the office of the Lake County State's Attorney. The wagons were being circled to throw a twenty year assistant state's attorney under the bus.

The wheels started turning on November 25 when the New York Times -- the newspaper of record in Lake County -- published an investigative story that provided a glimpse into Michael Waller's Lake County State's Attorney's office. One assistant state's attorney, Mike Mermel, was profiled with regard to some recent high-profile & controversial prosecutions. Mermel apparently does not think highly of DNA evidence, and demonstrated its limitations with statements like this one, which raised some local eyebrows ...
"The example I like to give people is next time you go to a motel room, bring a plastic bag, because the dirtiest thing in that room is the remote control. Everybody has sex and then rolls over and goes, 'I wonder what's on?' " he said. "O.K., so you can find DNA in the form of sperm from 10 different people in that room from that remote control or even on a person who has touched it."
The Prosecution’s Case Against DNA
The Lake County State's Attorney is up for election in 2012. While Michael Waller is retiring, Mermel's public statements are embarrassing to those members of Waller's team who want to succeed him on the ballot.

Damage control in the form of a big gun was rolled out on December 2. The News-Sun reported that Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran ...
called for prosecutor Mike Mermel to be fired for remarks he felt undermined law enforcement and the justice system. The unusual move was prompted by a recent story in the New York Times concerning some Lake County murder cases where DNA evidence pointed a finger away from suspects who confessed to crimes after long interrogations.
Sheriff wants prosecutor fired
With Curran playing bad cop, Michael Waller had the cover he needed. Good cop Waller wasted no time on the same day, December 2, to telegraph this message to the Daily Herald ...
Comments made by a top Lake County prosecutor in a New York Times article are being addressed as a personnel matter, according to a statement issued Friday by the Lake County State's Attorney's Office.
Waller: Lake County prosecutor's comments a personnel matter
On December 7, five days later and according to the News-Sun, the embarassing problem in the midst of the Lake County State's Attorney office was wiped cleaner than a Lake County crime investigation scene:
One of Lake County's top prosecutor's is retiring after comments he has made concerning cases involving DNA angered Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran who asked for Michael Mermel to be fired. Mermel's last day on the job will be in January.
Prosecutor retiring after sheriff called for his firing
The end.


Anonymous said...

This is good news for recent law grads hoping to work in Lake County.

Just a little background here, there are literally hundreds of applications to every opening for both the ASA and the APD positions. Mainly, this is because the pay is terrific compared to Cook County. It was, at one point in the last decade, third highest in the country.

But all the chiefs have to go when the new SA comes in, and it wouldn't surprise me if they are already looking for a soft landing in private practice.

Like the blog.

Anonymous said...

Just another fine example of crookedness and cronyism in Lake County.
GOP Chairman Cook refers to Cook County as Crook County. He should look in his own backyard. Anytime you have one party DOMINANCE, you get a "rules don't apply to me anymore" mentality.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:21: As opposed to Team America, the lake County GOP blog that has rendered brushing things under the carpet into an artform. Oh, and that blog happens to be run by, wait for it, lawyers! Your misplaced snark and barely intelligible thought process makes you sound like another Lake County legal minion and apologist extraordinaire, Louis Atsaves. But thank you for giving Chris Kennedy another talking point. With the third highest paid prosecutors in the country, you'd think we would have gotten a better sentence for a Lake County GOP child pornographer. Humph! Go figure!

Anonymous said...

It's not just that there is one party rule. It is that there is one race (white) rule in a county with a increasingly diverse population.