A two-year legal investigation motivated by base politics ends in a giant, fats nothing.
Illinois Lawyer Common Kwame Raoul introduced final week that there might be no legal costs filed in reference to the legal investigation into the outbreak of Legionnaires’ illness at a downstate veterans residence.
That certainly shocked lots of those that adopted the widely-publicized two-year probe.
However Raoul’s resolution was sound, primarily based on prosecutors’ evaluation that they lacked proof essential to file legal costs. The legal professional common additionally issued a warning about expectations the general public would do nicely to recollect.
“You must comply with the proof and match it as much as the legislation, and it’s a really harmful factor to have the presumption on the initiation of an investigation that there needs to be a (legal) cost,” Raoul stated.
His phrases stand in stark distinction to what transpired in October 2018, when then-Lawyer Common Lisa Madigan’s workplace disclosed its legal investigation into the Rauner administration. That, by design, raised the specter of a handcuffed former Gov. Bruce Rauner finally being paraded earlier than information cameras.
For individuals who don’t recall, there was an outbreak of Legionnaires’ illness at a Quincy veterans residence in 2015. The issue bedeviled state officers who tried to trace down and eradicate the supply of what was a severe well being risk to the house’s residents and their relations in addition to staff.
In the end, greater than 10 individuals died, and one other 80 acquired sick. The state spent substantial sums of cash to remediate the issue with out success earlier than lastly razing the power and constructing a brand new one.
The problem grew to become a political soccer — Democrats jumped everywhere in the governor and Illinois Division of Public Well being staff for his or her collective failure to eradicate the risk.
That was all nicely and good, definitely throughout the bounds of legit criticism.
However the month earlier than the November 2018 gubernatorial election between Rauner and then-candidate J.B. Pritzker, Madigan’s workplace revealed its legal investigation of Rauner et al. That’s hardly a flattering picture proper earlier than an election.
Pritzker wasted no time taking political benefit of Madigan’s effort to take political benefit of the scenario.
“Veterans, their spouses and workers continued to get sick and died on this failed governor’s watch. Their households deserve justice, and Bruce Rauner have to be held accountable,” Pritzker instructed reporters.
Pritzker separated himself from Madigan’s revelation by neglecting to say that Rauner have to be held “criminally” accountable. However that was his clear message.
So how ironic it’s that in December, Pritzker discovered himself on the defensive after a coronavirus outbreak at a LaSalle veterans residence brought on 33 deaths. He disclaimed any duty as a result of “typically due to the prevalence of the illness, as a result of we don’t precisely know every part about it, it’s not preventable for everyone.”
Pritzker didn’t want Madigan’s assist to say his eventual landslide victory. However what’s placing is that Madigan reads the identical public-opinion polls as everybody else, however nonetheless couldn’t resist mixing politics and legislation to present Pritzker an pointless increase.
The underside line is that Rauner was portrayed as a heartless public official whose intent was to depart veterans residence residents in mortal peril and, as a consequence, was only a couple steps forward of the legislation.
The phrase “intent” particularly applies as a result of one factor of proving legal conduct is proving the wrongdoer’s “intent.”
However within the Quincy case, public officers tried mightily — however failed — to eradicate the Legionnaires’ risk. Making an attempt and failing to repair an issue is the other of deliberately not fixing an issue.
Beneath these circumstances, it’s no shock Madigan’s successor dropped the case. Raoul had nothing to achieve — and far to lose — by taking a canine legal case to court docket on the energy of nonexistent proof.
There was legal responsibility. But it surely was civil, not legal. That’s why the households turned to the civil courts for compensation.
What’s equally clear is Madigan’s misuse of her authority, an insupportable abuse of the general public’s belief. Illinois is thought for its hardball politics, however Madigan stepped nicely past the bounds of propriety.