Thursday, December 14, 2017

I’m sure Van Dyke feels picked upon by reporter-type he wanted to silence

I felt a touch of relief when I learned Wednesday that a Cook County judge tossed out a subpoena that would have forced a freelance writer to get into the inner workings of how he learned the details that make us think Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke used excessive force in the 2014 shooting death of a 17-year-old.

VAN DYKE: Wants people to quit talking
For it was clear that the only reason for dragging reporter-type Jamie Kalvan into the criminal proceedings involving Van Dyke and the death of Laquan McDonald was to harass.

TO PICK AT a reporter-type for butting into something the police mentality would think was none of his business to look into. And to perhaps get the reporting process tangled up in so much legalese that when a jury someday does have to sift through the evidence presented in a trial, it will be so confused that it can’t decide anything beyond a reasonable doubt and will have to go with “not guilty.”

Meaning that getting sidetracked off on only marginally-related issues has little to nothing to do with getting at “the truth.”

It was good to learn that Judge Vincent Gaughan (who once presided over the trial of R. Kelly) saw things similarly; issuing a written explanation of his ruling to toss the subpoena for Kalvan’s testimony on the grounds it would be a “fishing expedition” to try to produce “information that the timeline of events, discovery documents and testimony suggest simply does not exist.”

Now in my own time as a reporter-type, I’ll admit to never having been called upon to appear in court.

ALTHOUGH I ONCE did have to give a deposition in a lawsuit filed by a woman who had lost her municipal government job. She was suing for damages, claiming city officials went out of their way to single her out for abuse.

I recall that deposition as being one in which I was asked to recall every petty action and insult that might have ever been directed her way in my presence.

Which was difficult because most of the stuff was so petty and minor I had long forgotten about the details. It was the kind of petty trivia I made a point of forgetting so as to avoid clogging my brain with stupid stuff. I have enough significant detail to remember without the trivia overflowing my mental capacity.

Besides, like many other reporter-types, my view is that anything relevant to a story I report actually goes into the copy I write.

JUST AS I’M presuming Kalvan has done the same with his own stories. My own self-interest would say that my stories could be offered up as evidence.

Of course, defense attorney-types want someone they can have answer back to them, and get caught up in double-talk. Then again, prosecutors will do the same; if it benefits their case.

The legal process is most concerned with coming up with a “guilty” verdict – with “not guilty” being the end result if guilt cannot be proven beyond that shadow of reasonable doubt.

This is an ongoing criminal case involving Van Dyke, who’s going to have to show that the 16 shots he fired at McDonald were not excessive and that the teen male truly was a serious threat who had to be “put down,” so to speak.

I DON’T DOUBT Van Dyke will do whatever he feels necessary to prevent his reputation from permanent damage – although it’s most likely that even an acquittal would not clear him in the minds of a certain segment of society.

The ones for whom only a conviction will assuage their anger.

In short, this is a very serious issue with significant life consequences to many people.

Seeing that the case will get bogged down in just a bit less trivia by refusing to turn the case into a legal proceeding about reportorial process may be the first step to thinking the courts may someday get at “the truth” about why Van Dyke acted the way he did toward McDonald.


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