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- April 23 Video Evidence Destroyed
by Christopher Bollyn 29 March 2007
Bollyn Trial Scheduled to Begin April 23 Police Destroyed Video Evidence of Assault and TASERing
The police should have several videos, like the one below, to prove their innocence!
Every police dashboard video that documented the arrest of Bollyn was destroyed!
First of all, I want to thank the many people who have supported me in my ongoing legal struggle. It is only thanks to their concern and kindness that I have been able to challenge the unjustified police assault and malicious prosecution I have been subjected to since August 15, 2006. This ordeal has been a tremendous burden on my family - financially and emotionally. Because this case involves the police and their conduct, I have retained an expert witness on police procedures and a private investigator to help my lawyer prepare my defense.
TRIAL BEGINS APRIL 23
My trial has been rescheduled to April 23, which is now the final date. The jury trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 23, at 9:00 a.m. in Room 107 of the Circuit Court of Cook County at 2121 Euclid Ave. in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. It is very important for people interested in this case and my supporters to attend the trial, which is expected to last one or two days. I have requested a jury trial. I hope to have some media coverage of the trial as well. Today, I appeared in the Circuit Court of Cook County (Third District) before two judges. At 9 a.m., I was called with my new lawyer before Judge Thomas P. Fecarotta, who is usually a felony judge. He appeared to be filling in for Judge Hyman I. Riebman. I was the first person called and there was no court reporter present. We received most, but not all, of the material we had requested from the police through subpoenas. We received a tape, which I hope is the complete tape of my 911 call and subsequent police transmissions. Dick Williams, the attorney for the village, was in court standing beside the state's attorney to object to turning over the personal records of the three police officers involved. He also objected to presenting the body armor vests used by the tactical team. The reason we requested the vests is because the police report begins with the claim that they were "clearly marked with a badge and the word 'Police,'" which none of us saw. Judge Fecarotta told Mr. Williams that he had no standing and did not belong in court, but he sustained the objection regarding the personal and medical records of the three men involved in the attack. We were told that we could photograph the vests at the station. I wanted to see the personal and medical records of the three men in order to understand if medications or military experience may have played a role in their unusually brutal and vicious assault. Many police use anti-depressants or steroids which impair their judgment. Judge Fecarotta was unwilling to move the trial date beyond April 10. When Judge Riebman arrived with a court reporter, we appeared before Judge Riebman. The judge looked through the material that had been turned over and approved its transfer to my lawyer. Riebman also considered our request to have the date moved to April 23 and granted the request. Judge Riebman seems to be a fair and considerate judge.
CRUCIAL EVIDENCE DESTROYED
Williams shocked the court during the first session with Judge Fecarotta when he said that the police videotape evidence of the assault and TASERing had been "recycled." "Recycled" is not the right word to use in this case. Destroyed or deleted are more correct because the Hoffman Estates Police Department uses digital video recording in all of its cars. This means that the video recording of the police assault and TASERing was willfully deleted or destroyed although the police had filed criminal charges against me based on the incident they had videotaped. I asked Williams why the police department would destroy video evidence from a criminal case that was being tried in the court. He said he did not understand it either why the video evidence had been destroyed. Williams also feigned ignorance of the fact that there were at least 5 police cars on the scene during the incident. I find it hard to believe that, after 7 months, the attorney for the village is unaware that an unusually large number of police vehicles and officers were involved in this incident. Last night I tried to call Wesley Schulz, the police sergeant who denied me medical attention at the scene and during the entire time I was in police custody. This is a violation of police policy – and the law. I had been TASERed and my right elbow had been fractured yet Schulz, who was well aware of my injuries, refused to allow the paramedics to examine my condition. The state's attorney tried to complain to Judge Fecarotta about my attempts to reach Schulz by phone. Fecarotta wouldn't hear it and scolded the state's attorney for bringing such a ridiculous request up in court. "What do you want me to do," Fecarotta, a judge who usually handles felony cases, asked, "shake my finger at him?" Judge Fecarotta told the state's attorney to "act like a lawyer." If I had broken the law then the state should file charges. Ridiculed by the judge, Williams went back to Hoffman Estates and told Schulz to try another method to block my inquiries. A couple hours later I received a call from an Officer Berry from the Palatine Police Department warning me not to try to contact Sgt. Wesley Schulz again. I asked patrolman Berry why I was getting a call from the Palatine police officer about an issue with a Hoffman Estates policeman. I understand it is because Sgt. Schulz does not live in the village that he works for, but in neighboring Palatine.
Due to the incompetence and treachery of my first lawyer, Jack Craig Smeeton of Wilmette, Illinois, essential evidence has been destroyed and my case has lingered in court for an unusually long time. Smeeton did everything, acting completely against my wishes, to "railroad" me into a bench trial in which no evidence would be heard and I would accept a plea bargain. After retaining Smeeton on 29 September 2006, he did not make himself available for the first consultation before January 2007. Smeeton always acted more like the prosecutor than a defense attorney. He tried to walk out from our January meeting pretending to be upset, saying, "See you in court!" Smeeton does not have an office and never had any time for me. He was always in a hurry to get away. He humiliated me and my wife and said we have "no case." Smeeton demonstrated extreme arrogance, disrespect, and utter incompetence while misrepresenting me. The only reason we had "no case" while he was my attorney was because he refused to do any discovery. I had to fight hard to get even a copy of the full police report from him and other documents, which had been sent to him thanks to my prior FOIA requests. Smeeton did absolutely nothing except protect the police and the state. I have filed a complaint with the ARDC, a disciplinary board for attorneys in Illinois – but I will probably have to go further. Smeeton's treachery and sabotage of my case has seriously jeopardized my defense. Smeeton did not subpoena any evidence during the time as my lawyer, although I gave him a completely prepared rider thanks to Peter A. Cantwell of Cantwell & Cantwell, a LaSalle Street law firm I had considered hiring. Smeeton refused to issue any subpoenas and wasted months of valuable time which could have been used to collect crucial evidence, such as the police video of the assault. When I gave Smeeton a letter asking him to withdraw on January 31, he finally went through the motions of issuing a subpoena for the 911 tape on January 31, but his undated and un-notarized subpoena disappeared from the 911 office – if it was ever even there – and the requested 911 tape did not surface in court on February 20. Because Smeeton failed to file any subpoenas, I had to dig for the evidence myself and use FOIA requests. This has led Dick Williams to impose a gag order on the employees of the police and fire department regarding my case.
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