Update Regarding "Donations" in Plea Bargaining Cases

In a follow-up article regarding "donations" in plea bargaining cases, the Bellville News-Democrat is reporting that in March 2011 an individual was required to donate $22,500 to a police drug task force and Sheriff's task force as part of a plea bargain in a drug case. The defendant also received probation. The article went on to describe some of the responses to the revelations in the earlier article regarding the use of such "donations."

Based on the BND's Sunday article, the Illinois State Bar Association issued this statement Monday concerning the practice of plea bargains that include payments to funds controlled by the office of the prosecutor or police in the case:

"It's not our place to comment on the legality or ethics of the practice, but it does raise concerns that the public's perception of our justice system may be undermined," said Charles J. Northrup, general counsel to the bar association. Northrup is a frequent lecturer on matters of legal professional ethics.

Kathy Twine, executive director of the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, said that state law prevented her from making any comment. The board's regulations state it can initiate its own investigation of a judge.

James Grogan, deputy administrator and general counsel to the state Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, also said he could not comment except to note that the commission can begin an investigation of an attorney, including a prosecutor, without waiting for a citizen's complaint.
Read the entire article here.


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