Saturday, May 11, 2019

Will Toomin be big enough judge to settle legal tiff tied to Jussie Smollett?

The aftermath of the criminal case once pending against actor Jussie Smollett almost seems like it is devolving into a version of the old playground game “Keep Away” – only it seems nobody wants to be deemed “it” and have to ultimately issue a ruling on the case’s legal merits.
MARTIN: Looking to avoid conflict

For Judge LeRoy Martin, Jr. (the son of one-time Chicago Police Superintendent LeRoy Martin) decided on Friday he wants another judge to have to decide on whether the case ultimately has to be resolved by a special prosecutor.

LEGAL OFFICIALS WHO are pushing for a special prosecutor are upset that the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office ultimately decided to drop the criminal charges against Smollett – who allegedly had hired a pair of men to stage a racially-motivated attack against him.

Those legal minds want to believe it is now the state’s attorney’s office that may have acted improperly, and may wind up being found to have engaged in some sort of illicit activity.

Or maybe not!

Perhaps it is that no judge wants to be put in a position where they could wind up having to preside over legal proceedings regarding their “Officer of the Court” colleagues?

ANYWAY, IT IS what led to the decision by Martin to back away from the case. For what it’s worth, the legal minds wanted Martin out because they note his own son, LeRoy III, is an assistant state’s attorney for Cook County.
TOOMIN: May have to resolve Smollett affair

Meaning it might wind up being even more of a conflict for Martin, the presiding judge over the Cook County court Criminal division, to ultimately have to issue an opinion on this matter.

Although the Chicago Sun-Times reported he doesn’t think it’s automatically a conflict. As he says, “the idea that a judge should recuse because they have a close family member working in the office, (the system) would literally grind to a halt.”

But he went ahead and recused himself anyway, saying he didn’t want the appearance of a conflict of interest to linger – which would wind up making this case even more of a legal scandal than it already is regarded as.

MARTIN MAY WELL have made one sensible decision with regards to the Smollett case – which is going to gain national attention regardless of how it turns out. That’s what happens when an actor gets busted in a way that he’s probably now best known for his arrest – rather than his acting ability.
FORT: Smollett case petty compared to Jeff

Martin says he wants Judge Michael Toomin to take over the case and ultimately make the decision as to whether a special prosecutor needs to be brought in to investigate the Cook County prosecutors who ultimately decided that Smollett didn’t do anything illegal.

No matter how fake or phony the police insist the whole affair was.

This case is going to become a nationally-known mess. Yet Toomin may well be the one judge in Cook County whose record is filled with so many “big” cases that this one will wind up being regarded as petty nonsense by comparison.

TOOMIN, WHO IS 81, is the judge who allowed a special prosecutor to ultimately handle the criminal case against R.J. Vanecko, the grandson and nephew of former Chicago mayors Richard J. and Richard M., who eventually had to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and wound up getting some jail time.

He’s also the judge who handed down a lengthy prison sentence for murder to Jeff Fort, the leader of the one-time South Side street gang El Rukn, who remains incarcerated on even harsher charges at a federal facility in Florence, Colo.

Then there was the case against Harry Aleman, who killed people for organized crime in Chicago and literally tried to bribe legal officials to get around a criminal conviction. With Toomin ultimately presiding over the trial that resulted in Aleman dying in prison.
SMOLLETT: Once a Mighty Duck

Just a few of the many cases Toomin has handled during nearly four decades as a criminal judge, and which could make him unintimidated at the notion of handling a case involving an actor best known for playing a musician on “Empire,” along with one of the kiddie hockey players from the old “The Mighty Ducks” (remember Emilio Estevez?) films.


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