Friday, April 27, 2012

My Cousin Vinny

What is a yute?Political Science is no different from Physics and Astronomy. Physics has Newton's three laws of motion. Astronomy has Kepler's three laws of planetary motion. And Political Science has your LakeCountyEye's three laws of political scandal:
  1. Stonewall
  2. Whitewash
  3. Punt
For any scandal, the first reaction of an elected official is to stonewall. The irresistible force meets an immovable object. An elected official accused of a scandal will deny the allegations; be slow to provide evidence; sometimes evidence is withheld; possibly even covered up; etc.

If stonewalling fails and the public or press keeps asking embarrassing questions, the second reaction is to whitewash. An outsider will be brought in to investigate. The outsider needs enough independent authority to satisfy a skeptical public or press. But the outsider will not be without political connections, and these need to guarantee the results of the investigation in advance. Think less Archibald Cox and more My Cousin Vinny.

If the independent investigator fails to whitewash the scandal the only alternative left to the elected official is to punt. Punting can range from resigning in disgrace with a six-figure book deal to declaring martial law to anything in between.

Lake County's latest political scandal involves two recent inmate deaths at the County jail. Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran hired an independent authority to investigate. The Daily Herald reported that ...
Terry Ekl was hired to lead the investigation, according to a news release issued by the Lake County sheriff's office, which oversees jail operations. Ekl, a former assistant state's attorney in Cook County, recently defended former Rod Blagojevich Chief of Staff John Harris against bribery-related charges connected to the ex-governor's corruption case. Ekl also successfully defended McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi against misconduct charges last year. He now represents Bianchi in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the special prosecutors in that case.
Attorney hired to investigate Lake County jail after deaths
Your LakeCountyEye doesn't know much about Terry Ekl except what is written in the blogs. For instance the tireless tax fighters at the McHenryCountyBlog covered the Louis Bianchi misconduct trial. Ekl had this to say about prosecutor, Thomas McQueen ...
After McQueen's opening statement, Ekl said he felt "a little like my Cousin Vinnie. Most of what Mr. McQueen has told you is a fairy tale. There is no evidence to substantiate what Mr. McQueen charges (that Mr. Bianchi) misused his authority, his discretion. It won't even rise to the level of probably cause ... that Bianchi performed an act forbidden by law. There isn't going to be a scintillate of evidence that he should have recused himself." Ekl asserted that there was "a total absence of proof."
The Bianchi Show Trial
On a lighter note, it's time for this week's LakeCountyEye Pop Quiz:

At which stage is the growing scandal at the Lake County Sheriff's Office?



Remember there are no right or wrong answers. But don't expect any surprises either.

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