Senator Bill Clinton? | Main | Castro's Cuba is 50
January 01, 2009

Good God: Blago's Bud Burriss Sought Death Penalty for Obviously Innocent Man

It's hard to explain how egregious this is without the details -- someone sent me the headline hours ago and I took no interest.

Not a big deal, I thought, if Burris wrongly sought the death penalty for an innocent man. Mistakes do happen.

But that's not really what happened here. His own prosecutors kept telling him the man he wanted the death penalty for was innocent, and even resigned in protest.

Burris didn't care.

While state attorney general in 1992, Burris aggressively sought the death penalty for Rolando Cruz, who twice was convicted of raping and murdering a 10-year-old girl in the Chicago suburb of Naperville. The crime took place in 1983.

But by 1992, another man had confessed to the crime, and Burris' own deputy attorney general was pleading with Burris to drop the case, then on appeal before the Illinois Supreme Court.

Burris refused. He was running for governor.

...

Burris' role in the Cruz case was "indefensible and in defiance of common sense and common decency," Warden said. "There was obvious evidence that [Cruz] was innocent."

Deputy attorney general Mary Brigid Kenney agreed and eventually resigned rather than continue to prosecute Cruz.

Once Burris assigned Kenney to the case in 1991, she became convinced that Cruz was innocent, a victim of what she believed was prosecutorial misconduct. She sent Burris a memo reporting that the jury convicted Cruz without knowing that Brian Dugan, a repeat sex offender and murderer, had confessed to the crime. Burris never met with Kenney to discuss a new trial for Cruz, Kenney told ProPublica.

"This is something the attorney general should have been concerned about," Kenney, now an assistant public guardian in Cook County, said in an interview. "I knew the prosecutor's job was not merely to secure conviction but to ensure justice was done."

Kenney was not alone in her beliefs. Prior to Cruz's 1985 trial, the lead detective in the case resigned in protest over prosecutors' handling of the case, according to news reports at the time.

And rather than argue Burris' case before the state supreme court, Kenney also stepped down.

"What I took away was that [Burris] wasn't going to do anything to seem soft on crime," Kenney said. "He didn't have the guts."

In her resignation letter, Kenney claimed Burris had "seen fit to ignore the evidence in this case."

"I cannot sit idly by as this office continues to pursue the unjust prosecution of Rolando Cruz," she wrote. "I realized that I was being asked to help execute an innocent man."

Burris' response at the time: "It is not for me to place my judgment over a jury, regardless of what I think." (We have also left a message for Burris at his office and will post an update if we hear back.)

State prosecutors carried on with the prosecution, even after DNA evidence in 1995 excluded Cruz as the victim's rapist and linked somebody else, sex offender Brian Dugan, to the crime.

DNA exoneration, and implication of another man. That other man confessing. A lead detective and top prosecutor resigning in protest.

I believe they call these "red flags" in the legal business.


digg this
posted by Ace at 05:53 PM

| Access Comments




Recent Comments
Naes: "183  This will come across as name-calling, ..."

Methos believes in free will(ow): "[i]The Law is the Law.[/i]"The Law" is shit and sh ..."

Tim in Illinois. Proud owner of Luap Nor's Last Brain Cell: "A federal judge is not to be defied. Right or wron ..."

Chupacabras: "I mentioned this yesterday, in that if I have to c ..."

MikeTheMoose: ">>>Even if the underlying basis of the injunction ..."

The Smiling Bandit@sven10077: "177 RobM1931,Like Sanctuary City Mayors right Rob? ..."

pep: "[i]God trumps the government. It is merely a const ..."

Methos believes in free will(ow): "[i]willow got banned?[/i]That's what I heard, but ..."

imp: " We have 4 boxes of liberty in this country: ..."

Bandersnatch: "[i]What should be done? The total eradication of d ..."

Dang: "Yes, and the people who defied it went to jail mos ..."

The Smiling Bandit@sven10077: "161 Prezzy,Correct...ONLY Urkle X gets to "follow ..."

Recent Entries
Search


MuNuvians
Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
News/Chat
Archives
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64