- The dramatic revelation that five officers had allegedly lied on the witness stand in a Skokie drug case, has called into question dozens of other cases which the officers have pending.
The Cook County State's Attorney's office will only say it is reviewing the matter, but privately, authorities are clearly concerned about a case which fell apart, when the officers were confronted with a video which contradicted their sworn testimony.
That moment came two weeks ago, when the officers, three from Chicago and two from Glenview, testified in the case of a drug suspect named Joseph Sperling.
"All five officers were telling the same story word for word," said defense lawyer Steven Goldman. "They were caught in a lie."
The officers testified that they pulled Sperling over under the pretense of a traffic stop, asked for his license and insurance, allowed him to exit his vehicle and walk to the rear, then removed a duffel bag containing marijuana. Only then, they said, did they arrest and cuff him.
But Goldman confronted the fifth officer with the squad car video, which clearly showed the officers approaching Sperling's car and immediately taking him out of the car and putting him in handcuffs. Only then did they begin searching, finding the bag in the back seat.
This was something out of a television show - a genuine "GOTCHA!" moment that defense lawyers usually only dream about. But they got it in this case, hands down. We have a hard time believing the prosecutors didn't have some sort of heads-up once the defense subpoenaed the Glenview in-car-cameras. That should have been a clue that something was up. Espeically in this age of cameras everywhere - traffic, red light, cell phones, squad cars, body cameras, Google-Glass, etc. And if they did have a heads-up, why didn't it come up in prep?
Regardless, this one is going to reverberate for years. A Rule 14 violation is a bitch. Every single case that these coppers are involved in - as arresting officers, assisting officers, affiants on search warrants, inventory officers - is now in question. Every single piece of paper with their name on it can become suspect, even an innocuous To-From as a witness to a CR. And the sergeant involved? Defense attorneys are going to bury the city in a blizzard of paper for everything with his name on it - even such mundane things as Supervisor Logs that might show a car is supposedly logged at a certain location calls into question entire investigations.
In the most extreme cases, a sustained Rule 14 means a minimum of 7 years not even being able to sign a simple case report, a traffic violation, or a parking ticket - your word is no good under oath and the City isn't about to put you on the stand for anything. They'll dismiss or settle in an instant. Charlie Williams wanted to fire everyone with a sustained Rule 14 on their record around ten years ago - he said it was around 150-to-200 coppers and he was seriously pursuing it until told to stop by certain connected persons.
This is going to be ugly.
Labels: scandals, un-fucking-believable