Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lock him up.

Last week I wrote about Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. My comment that his December refusal to execute on eviction orders was a publicity stunt elicited some of the strongest reactions yet from the readers of this blog.

Well, today I opened the Chicago Tribune and saw that Chicago Police Superindendent ("Judge & Jury") Jody Weis has put himself into the same spotlight for his intentional refusal to obey a court's order.

Federal Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez had ordered Weis to turnover by this Friday a list of all Chicago police officers who have had multiple citizen complaints made against them. This order was entered during the course of a lawsuit which alleged that a Chicago police officer beat two children at a Beverly playground in 2007.

Weis indicated today that he will not be complying with the court's order because naming the officers in question would "hurt department morale"!!! These guys are menaces to the justice system of Illinois.

I would really like to hear the opinions of the readers again on this one. Should he or shouldn't he be jailed for contempt of the federal court?


Anonymous said...

Jail-then he can compete in body building and bunk with me someday.

Matt Duco said...

Jail if need be to force him to comply with the order.

I think maybe it was my comment that sparked the controversy so let me try and explain the differences I see in the actions of the two men.

First, I had a problem with you characterizing Dart's actions as publicity stunt in comparing them to mass rallies against evictions and disobedience to the law. I thought that your point, that Dart's actions were attempting to gain favoritism and publicity with the public by taking a populist stance, did not fully appreciate Dart's actions. Dart's problem with foreclosures was that his officers were being used to make homeless families that were fully paying their rent, maybe even paid in advance or had security deposits paid, but because their landlord had foreclosed (i.e., wasn't using the rent money to pay the mortgage), these people were homeless without any warning at all. In Chicago especially, there were a lot of landlords that had investment property rented out who stopped paying their mortgages. The law was ill-equipped to anticipate such a wide-spread problem. Dart wasn't asking for a stop to foreclosures, simply that rental families be given some notice that the will be forced to leave, so that they could (1) find a new place to live and (2) ensure they are not paying for rent in a home that will be foreclosed on. I can completely understand why Dart didn't want his officers to be used in such a away. He used the press to force change and now the system is working better.

As far as what Jodi Weis is doing it sounds like something that will do nothing but protect the same institution that he is a member of. He is not thinking about the public at large, only himself and his institution. Also, Weis is directly disobeying a court order directed at him, whereas Dart was refusing to enforce court orders directed at others (i.e., the defendants in foreclosure hearings). I didn't research it so I'm not sure exactly sure what statutory requirements there are for a Sheriff to enforce evictions. Either way, it does seem like a distinction in the two cases.

Finally, I grew up in Beverly, so I am really interested to see why cops were beating kids at a playground. (Do you have a link to an article to share?).

I wonder if you agree in the differences in the two situations?

Michael W. Huseman said...


Here is the link to today's article. There is not much detail about the Beverly incident.,0,2512506.story

Maybe a follow-up post is in order if anyone knows anything about this federal case.

And I don't see any difference in the two situations. Legislators are supposed to change laws, not cops.