Part 1: The first part in the series details some of the history of our nation’s prosecutorial misconduct. Misconduct tends to be hard to detect, and when it is detected, the prosecutors are rarely punished. Many end up being promoted. One of the major reasons for committing misconduct is prosecutors are overly focused on winning convictions.
Part 2: The second article in the series delves into the prosecutorial misconduct that has been rampant in Cook County courtrooms. This misconduct may be promoted by an “Us Against Them” attitude, or a culture within the office that allows for misconduct to occur, as long as a conviction is achieved. Sometimes prosecutors are not aware that their actions are misconduct. They are rarely punished for committing misconduct.
Part 3: In the third part of the series, there is further discussion of the lack of punishment prosecutors face when they are accused of misconduct. The article specifically mentions the case of the DuPage 7, a group of prosecutors and police officers on trial for misconduct. It also discusses the difficulty faced when trying to prosecute prosecutors.
Part 4: The fourth part of the series describes Scott Arthur, a prosecutor involved in the wrongful conviction of the Ford Heights Four. Despite evidence stating otherwise, Arthur maintains the belief that the wrongfully convicted men were involved in the murder for which they were convicted. Arthur was accused of excluding African Americans from serving on the jury, a form of misconduct that was often used in trials of African Americans.
Part 5: The fifth part of the series returns to the idea that prosecutors are rarely punished for acts of misconduct. It highlights how, instead, prosecutors’ careers typically prosper, despite accusations of misconduct. It is not uncommon for a prosecutor to become judge, even if they have been unethical in their prosecutorial career.
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People vs. Banks - People vs. Banks was the first case in Illinois involving police brutality that was reversed. This case alleges that Jon Burge and his associates tortured Banks in order to get a confession from him.
People vs. Dowaliby - In People vs. Dowaliby, David Dowaliby was convicted of murdering his daughter. The basis of his conviction was a witness said he saw someone near where the body was found with a nose that looked like Mr. Dowaliby's. Ultimately, the case was reversed and Mr. Dowaliby was exonerated. CIC's own David Protess was involved in helping Mr. Dowaliby prove his innocence.
People vs. Hall - In People vs. Hall, Mr. Rizzi believed the case should be reversed due to lost evidence on the part of the prosecutors. The other judges on the case disagreed and the judgment was affirmed.
People vs. Linscott - People vs. Linscott is a case involving a wrongful conviction, as well as prosecutorial misconduct. Mr. Linscott was convicted of rape and murder on the basis that he had a dream about a murder on the night his neighbor was murdered, hairs found on the scene could not be ruled out as coming from Linscott (but did not show they were a match), and he possibly had the same blood type as the murderer. Mr. Rizzi reversed his conviction, and, eventually, Linscott was exonerated.
People vs. Payne - In People vs. Payne, Mr. Rizzi decided that excluding African Americans from serving on a jury was a violation of the sixth amendment, which states that one has a right to a jury trial by their peers. The Supreme Court of the United States had ruled that excluding jurors on the basis of race was not a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the fourteenth amendment. Mr. Rizzi was the first to write such an opinion.
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Dotson Denied Bond in Appeal, Chicago Tribune - Gary Dotson was seeking innocence for a rape conviction.The accuser recanted her testimony, claiming Dotson never raped her. Bond was denied for Dotson while his appeal was being considered, with a 3-1 ruling in favor of denying bond. Rizzi dissented in his opinion, stating that once the accuser recanted her testimony, the court had no case against Dotson.
More Black Judges Are Sought, Chicago Tribune - While serving as Appellate Court Judge, Mr. Dom Rizzi proposed that the Chicago Bar Association lead the rest of Illinois in appointing more minority judges.
New Law Urged on Judicial Vacancies, Chicago Tribune - While serving as a judge, Mr. Dom Rizzi recommended creating legislation that would help expand the number of minorities serving as judges.
Rizzi to Run for State High Court, Chicago Tribune - In 1989, Mr. Rizzi announced his intention to run for the Illinois Supreme Court. He stated he would encourage the court to be more active in administration of lower courts. He sought the endorsement of the Democratic Party.
Justices Knock Cases in Dowaliby Appeal, Chicago Tribune - Justices Dom Rizzi and Alan Greiman criticized both the prosecution's and the defense's handling of the David Dowaliby murder trial.
Ruling Upholds Law for Seniors, Chicago Tribune - Mr. Rizzi upheld a state law that allows for seniors to receive preferential treatment when trying to take their cases to trial.
Abuse Defense Booted, Chicago Tribune - Mr. Rizzi reversed the conviction of Gwen Evans, who had killed her husband after suffering eight years of domestic violence. He stated that this ruling would make defense easier for those who were victims of battered women's syndrome. This ruling officially recognized battered women's syndrome as a defense in Illinois and made it so women no longer had to provide expert witness testimony as to her condition. Evans passed away before she could be released from prison.
Appellate Court Justice Resigns, Chicago Tribune - Mr. Rizzi resigned from the Appellate Court in 1996, at the age of 64. He served as an Appellate Court judge for 18 years.