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Judge ruling: Koschman v. City of Chicago

Judge ruling: Koschman v. City of Chicago

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Published by ChadMerda
Judge ruling: Koschman v. City of Chicago
Judge ruling: Koschman v. City of Chicago

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Published by: ChadMerda on Aug 29, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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osc man v. ty o cago, et a .
THE COURT: I have given some thought to this case,obviously, before today and appreciate your arguments andwanted to make sure that I understood the case as fully as Ithink I do now.Again, I did review the complaint pretty carefullywhen I was looking at your briefs, and I think I can make afew remarks right now in connection with the ruling.This case is arguably an extraordinary one. It wasApril of 2004 when Mrs. Koschman's only son was killed in anearly morning confrontation with Richard Vanecko.Mrs. Koschman is suing Mr. Vanecko in this casehere today for wrongful death.She alleges further that all of the City andState's Attorney defendants acted in concert to deprive herof access to the courts and to deprive her of a prompt,thorough, and honest investigation of the circumstancessurrounding her son's death.She was denied the right to access to the courts,she says, until Special Prosecutor Dan Webb obtained anindictment and then a conviction years after the incident.There isn't any dispute that Mrs. Koschman was notentitled to demand prosecution. Mr. Gallagher has made thatpoint, and it's really unchallenged.She was entitled not to be deprived of access tothe courts. And for purposes of this ruling, the Court is
osc man v. ty o cago, et a .
going to assume that she, in fact, had a federal right to aprompt, thorough, and honest investigation of thecircumstances surrounding her son's death and one that didnot impede her from going forward in court and that she didnot get it.If her allegations are to be believed, many of thedefendants knew or should have known very early on ofMr. Vanecko's role in the killing of her only child. Theychose deliberately not to investigate it or to exaggerate,twist, or even manufacture evidence that minimized orexonerated Mr. Vanecko's involvement.Documents and files that should have been createdand maintained either do not exist or mysteriouslydisappeared.The defendants did not cover themselves in gloryhere, at least some of those who are identified in thecomplaint.Public servants are all too aware of the publicrelations and political implications of their decisions.Good public servants, even those who need to stand forreelection, look past those considerations and follow the laweven when that is not the popular, convenient, or politicallysavvy thing to do.So I think I must say here, with the plaintiff'slawyers, that, "Mama, don't tell your kids to be prosecutors
osc man v. ty o cago, et a .
unless they are going to be honorable ones, careful ones,honest ones, unless they are not going to manufactureevidence, unless they are not going to conspire with policeto cover things up, unless they are going to say, 'I don'tcare who the individuals involved were; I am going toinvestigate this case just as I would if the person were acomplete stranger to me or a gang member or a known felon. Iwill investigate every person fairly and honestly.'"As Ms. Koschman sees things in this case, everystate actor who established impediments to her lawsuitagainst Vanecko is liable for doing so.She has sued Mr. Vanecko here, as I pointed out,for wrongful death; but, anticipating a possible statute oflimitations defense, she alleges that if the wrongful deathcase was filed too late, that has to be laid at the door ofthe City and County defendants as well.The question before this court at this stage thatmust be focused on is whether Mrs. Koschman has stated atimely federal claim.If she has no timely federal claim, the courtrelinquishes jurisdiction over all the state claims that shehas pleaded, including a portion of the conspiracy claim, theintentional infliction of emotional distress claim, and, ofcourse, the claim against Mr. Vanecko.The parties have disputed whether she has alleged a

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