Someone Wanted to Dress as a ‘Jackbooted Thug’ For Halloween   1 comment

Cook County state’s attorney office is subpoening the class records of a bunch of Northwestern students involved in The Innocence Project, apparently because they had the gumption to show that the State of Illinois occasionally convicts innocent people.  From the last article:

After spending three years investigating the conviction of a Harvey, Ill., man accused of killing a security guard with a shotgun blast in 1978, journalism students at Northwestern University say they have uncovered new evidence that proves his innocence.

Their efforts helped win a new day in court for Anthony McKinney, who has spent 31 years in prison for the slaying. But as they prepare for that crucial hearing, prosecutors seem to have focused on the students and teacher who led the investigation for the school’s internationally acclaimed Innocence Project.

From another article:

State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez {rejects} the claim that information gathered by students should be protected under the Illinois Reporter’s Privilege Act.

The newspaper says her office is seeking grades and grading criteria, evaluations of student performance, expenses incurred during the inquiry, the syllabus, e-mails, unpublished student memos, and interviews not conducted on the record, or where witnesses weren’t willing to be recorded.

“If you’re going to put yourself into the role of an investigator, then you need to turn over whatever your notes are,” Alvarez said on Tuesday.

Well, now, this isn’t the case whatsoever, Ms. Alvarez.  Even if Illinois Reporter’s Privilege Act doesn’t cover students taking a journalism course (and that requires a huge stretch of logic in there somewhere), it’s simply not the case that you get to demand everything *and* the kitchen sink from these students, as has been pointed out here and hereChilling effect aside, it’s simply not true that everything about investigators is regarded as discoverable in a court of law.

All that aside, from a purely professional standpoint… could you possibly choose a *worse* way of presenting a public face to the legal and journalistic community?

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Posted October 27, 2009 by padraic2112 in law

One response to “Someone Wanted to Dress as a ‘Jackbooted Thug’ For Halloween

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  1. Hey, if she can do that, then we should be able to inquire into any aspect of the past personal or professional history of our duly elected or appointed government officials with a FOIA request. To be honest, seeing as how Anita Alvarez was linked to the scandal-plagued Hispanic Democratic Organization early in her campaign, and even appeared in photos in a newspaper with wanted criminals, I’m not sure she really wants to open this can of worms.

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