Chicago Must Attack Legality of the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission

August 3, 2021
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Evidence abounds commission that allowed for the release of Jackie Wilson for his role in murder of two officers is a constitutional travesty

It should be of no consequence to attorneys representing the City of Chicago in their decision making if the justice system in Chicago has degenerated into a cowardly and corrupt media driven mob action.

The attorneys for Chicago, like police officers serving the Windy City, are duty bound to uphold the laws and the Constitution. After all, how can city attorneys expect the police to do their duty if the attorneys fail to do theirs?

A clear and crucial test for city attorneys is now emerging on the city’s legal horizon that will have a powerful impact on the city’s future. This test comes in the form of a civil lawsuit brought by Jackie Wilson, the infamous offender, who, along his brother Andrew Wilson, was originally convicted for his role in the murder of two Chicago police officers, William Fahey and Richard O'Brien, on a cold February day in 1982.

Wilson now walks about Chicago a free man after a carnival show disguised as a legal proceeding unfolded in the courtroom of Judge William Hooks, who, incredibly, released Wilson on bond after tossing his conviction. Then, during the trial, special prosecutors charged with trying Wilson the third time abruptly dropped charges.

Wilson walking the streets is in many ways the holy grail of the lunatic left that largely runs Chicago’s Soviet style, one-party political system, as Wilson had been tried twice before for the same crime and had been found guilty in both trials. The ability to overcome all the legal proceedings that pointed to Wilson’s clear culpability in the murders of Officers Fahey and O’Brien can be attributed to one bizarre and likely unconstitutional entity, the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission (TIRC).

A panel created by the Illinois General Assembly in 2009, TIRC’s unelected commissioners have the extraordinary power to overturn long-settled convictions by arbitrarily tossing them back into the courts for an evidentiary hearing. Decades after the original crime was committed, victims and witnesses are often long deceased or difficult to locate and prosecutors are unwilling to proceed. Add a prosecutor like Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx, a virtual cheerleader for inmates lining up to claim police abuse and swiftly becoming millionaires upon being freed from prison, and the system becomes even more toxic.

The reality is that TIRC, many of whose commissioners hold a long association and working relationship with the law firms that rake in millions from lawsuits arising from TIRC decisions, is a state funded institution aimed at undermining law and order. It is, in fact, revolutionary, eroding even the most basic tenets of constitutional law. With the existence of TIRC, the radical, anti-police movement in Chicago is all but guaranteed to release other offenders, those accused of heinous crimes, on the most arbitrary and legally dubious grounds imaginable and all but bankrupt the city coffers. In its machinations, the family members of murder victims are the ones being tortured.

TIRC is bolstered by the most corrupt media machine in the country, a machine that will not address the constitutional issues surrounding its creation and mandate or point out the clear evidence that TIRC ignores evidence in returning cases back into courtrooms. The Chicago media is the product of Chicago’s one-party political system, acting as a propaganda outlet for the city’s increasingly radicalized political party and initiating witch hunts against anyone questioning their corruption. The media’s seeming alliance with TIRC is a clear indication that the anti-police agenda is unified throughout most of Chicago’s institutions, both public and private.  

The fact that Wilson’s attorneys have complied a long list of defendants in their lawsuit, including former Mayor Richard Daley and the prosecutors who took confessions from Andrew Wilson, is another sign that Wilson’s supporters are casting as wide a net as possible. This is part of a strategy that might be aimed at compelling an enormous settlement from the city.  

Nevertheless, the Wilson lawsuit requires city attorneys to do what public servants in Chicago and Illinois should have done long ago: Use the Wilson sage to immediately challenge the constitutionality of TIRC. City attorneys have already laid a foundation to do so in other federal lawsuits against police currently in dispute in court. In these separate cases, it is clear city attorneys understand that at least some exonerations may be completely false and that pitiless murderers have been not only returned to the streets, but also enriched at public expense. At the same time, they have seen many honorable police officers falsely accused and their reputations destroyed by the cowardly media jackals who serve as the public relations outlet for these monsters.

The city attorneys have challenged key claims by the same law firms representing Wilson, as well as the media’s role in these cases. City attorneys are now, in fact, “woke” to the realities of police misconduct lawsuits.

Moreover, there is clear legal foundation to challenge TIRC in the Wilson lawsuit, a challenge that should have taken shape years ago. In a report sought by a former elected official at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, an attorney reviewed the constitutionality of TIRC.

“We believe a reasonable argument can be made that the TIRC violates the Illinois Constitution,” the attorneys wrote in a 2017 report.

The opinion argues the TIRC Act pits the executive branch over the judicial by allowing an unelected, executive-branch agency to effectively order a new round of evidentiary hearings for convicted criminals whose remedies have been exhausted in the courts. This, the attorney asserts, is a violation of the separation of powers.

TIRC also violates the “special legislation” prohibition in the Illinois Constitution because the commission singles out Cook County defendants alone.

Perhaps the worst of all the constitutional violations in TIRC is that it undermines the state’s Crime Victims’ Rights. TIRC does so by requiring victims to request in advance the right to attend hearings when the Illinois Constitution grants the rights of to all victims to be present for all court proceedings without any preapproval.

In many ways, these matters are just the tip of the legal iceberg regarding constitutional issues with TIRC, not to mention the fact that the commission has been assailed by family members of victims almost since its inception. Criticism of TIRC includes allegations that it violated its own rules when it came to notifying family members that the commission was taking up a case of an offender convicted of killing a loved one.

The 2017 report also became the catalyst for members of the previous FOP administration to push for legislation calling for at least two members of the FOP to be appointed members in an effort to balance out the woefully biased makeup of the commission in absence of any members from law enforcement on the board.

A central fear arising in the last ten years about the decline of the American republic is the politicization of the justice system. That fear is justified. That a major U.S. city could create an institution like TIRC funded by the taxpayers paving the way for the release of men like Jackie Wilson is a dire sign that not just Chicago, but the entire country, is in grave danger.

It is the duty of city attorneys to aggressively challenge the legitimacy of this institution, if necessary, all the way to the Supreme Court.

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