Friday, December 19, 2008

Van Guilder vs. Glasgow - case dismissed

Judge throws out Van Guilder civil rights suit

A federal judge threw out a lawsuit this month against Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow.
The suit was in retribution for Glasgow doing his job – as is his duty – “to investigate facts and determine whether an offense has been committed,” according to the court.

Glasgow was sued in his individual capacity. Under state law, Glasgow is considered a state official, rather than county or local official. According to the court, the Illinois State Lawsuit Immunity Act provides that the state cannot be sued unless one of a limited number of exceptions applies.

The suit was filed by Rocquin Van Guilder, of Lowell, Indiana. Van Guilder was the former property manager and ex-vice president at Hanson Professional Services, the agency contracted by the Illinois Department of Transportation for managing the state-owned property set aside for a proposed airport in eastern Will County. Prior to his working for Hanson, Van Guilder worked for Earth Tech, formerly TAMS, the IDOT’s airport consultant. Van Guilder had since 1988 been the project manager for the South Suburban Airport project.

Van Guilder attempted to sue Glasgow for malicious prosecution, because Glasgow brought charges against Van Guilder and his son, Lee, who worked for his father. The suit was filed in Chicago’s Northern District Court in April 2007; just two months after the two were acquitted in a Will County court room for a misdemeanor property damage lawsuit brought by Glasgow.

Van Guilder, who claimed he suffered monetary loss and expenses, humiliation, damage to his reputation, pain, suffering, fear and anxiety, was asking for an amount in excess of $200,000 in compensatory damages and $1,000 in punitive damages.

Van Guilder’s claim that Glasgow initiated charges against him and his son for political reasons and for public relations purposes so as to bolster his standing with his constituents just didn’t pan out.

Glasgow charged the Van Guilders after a Dec. 1, 2006 incident when, in defiance of landowner Mark Baugh, a subcontractor hired by Hanson, drove heavy equipment across Baugh’s farm field.

Glasgow’s attorney Martin W. McMannaman of Lowis & Gellen LLP, Chicago, filed a motion in June to dismiss the case because as a public official and prosecutor, Glasgow enjoys immunity from prosecution.
District Court Judge Ruben Castillo held that Glasgow was immune from prosecution.

According to the court, “Under Illinois law, the state’s attorney is vested with exclusive discretion to determine whether to initiate criminal charges, and to decide which charges to bring.”

Monday, December 15, 2008

I don't buy George Ryan's apology

Isn't it interesting that George Ryan has now apologized for his crimes against the people of Illinois? I may be living in another state now, but I was an Illinois resident and taxpayer during Ryan's tenure as Illinois governor. Weren't we foolish not to elect Glenn Poshard?

Like most Illinoisans, I am also very much opposed to the release of George Ryan for any circumstances. I reiterate — from a commentary I wrote for the local paper — George Ryan's sentence should stand.

Despite what former Gov. Jim Thompson says, and who would ever question his judgement, I can't believe Ryan has had a change of heart, or a anything remotely related to such a human component. There is however, what Ryan is all about, the political component — the save your own ass component — of potentially winning a commutation of Ryan's sentence. Perhaps a public apology was a requirement for consideration by President Bush. But the timing becomes interesting in light of the recent arrest of the current governor. Perhaps 'the apology' was in the works already and the political train en route to Ryan's freedom, was already moving. I would say that any president who would let Ryan out of jail would be a fool, but there really is no point in speculating further on that thought.

I will never forget my own dealings with Ryan. Arrogant isn't enough to describe him. From my observance, seeing "the look" from George Ryan conjured up thoughts of snakes coming out of his head because "the look" could almost turn you to stone. I recall a press conference where I asked him a question. Instead of an intelligent answer, I got "the look." And this was not an isolated event. I disagreed with George Ryan. Simply, he didn't like people who disagreed with him.

Monday, December 1, 2008

George Ryan sentence should stand

What are U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. Rod Blagojevich thinking? Are they really considering asking President George W. Bush to commute the sentence of former Illinois Governor George Ryan?

Ryan was indicted in federal court on Dec. 17, 2003. The charges alleged that he accepted free vacations and other perks while doling out state contracts to lobbyist friends. Ryan was convicted on all counts against him April 17, 2006. On Sept. 6, he was sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison for racketeering, conspir-acy and fraud. Ryan reported to a Wisconsin prison Nov. 7, 2007. In February of this year, he was transferred to his present location -- the penitentiary in Terre Heute, Indiana.

George Ryan is not just an eld-erly man who spends idle time contemplating how he ended up behind bars, or how he could have done things differently. He is not just a loving grandpa and devoted husband, father, and brother, although he may very well be all those things.

It is what else there is about George Ryan that has put him in prison and should keep him there. He grabbed power from his position of authority and held the fate of people’s lives in his hands. He treated the responsi-bility that accompanies that power with little or no respect. I can attest that if you disagreed with George Ryan, you were treated with the utmost disdain. While he was good to his own circle of friends and those who could provide perks to him, he did not offer the same courtesy to everyone else.

George Ryan is a convicted felon, whose jail time is the re-sult of the justice system finally doing its job, despite climbing deliberately through every loop-hole available to circumvent it.

It mustn’t be forgotten that Ryan and his pro-bono legal team, led by one of the former governor boys’ club members, tried every angle to work the system in Ryan’s favor to keep him out of jail. This was despite George Ryan being the cause of pain, suffering, and even death in his routine dealings as Secre-tary of State and later as Gover-nor of the State of Illinois.

George Ryan treated Illinois as his own personal fiefdom and he has no regrets or remorse for his actions.

It seemed to take forever for Ryan to actually be sent to prison – many months after he was convicted and sentenced. To let him out of jail after serving such a short portion of his 6 ½ year sentence would, in my opin-ion, be a slap in the face of every Illinois resident. Similar senti-ments have been echoed by nu-merous newspaper editorials, surveys, commentaries and blogs. My voice is just one more in the mix.

Bush has granted 171 pardons and commuted the sentence of eight people during his eight years as president. The latest round came last month when Bush issued 14 pardons. Ryan’s name was not among them, nor should it be.
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