Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A lawyer's advice

"Frank Gosser said an attorney's supposed to give his client his best advice 'even when they don't want to hear it.'"

That sentence appears in a article following Attorney Gosser's resignation as attorney for the McHenry County Mental Health Board.

The statement caused me to think about who is the attorney for the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. Many people would say Lou Bianchi is. Lou is the McHenry County State's Attorney, an independent, elected official of McHenry County and not beholden to the sheriff. By law, I believe the State's Attorney is the legal counsel for a county sheriff.

So why does the Sheriff and the McHenry County Sheriff's Department spend so much money every year with the Itasca-based law firm, The Sotos Law Firm P.C.?

Could the answer lie in Attorney Gosser's statement?

If Lou Bianchi, as State's Attorney, were to give his client, the Sheriff, the best advice (that the Sheriff did not want to hear), in what position would that place the Sheriff? If the Sheriff hires his own attorney, will that attorney give him his best advice that the Sheriff wants to hear?

What would be an example of this?

Remember an arbitrator's decision that Sheriff Nygren didn't like? The Sheriff appealed to the McHenry County Circuit Court and didn't like the decision there.

So the Sheriff appealed to the Illinois Appellate Court. He didn't like their decision, either.

So he appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court. It refused to hear his appeal.

How much did all that cost? Did Attorney Sotos tell Nygren that he was wasting his (our) money? Did the sheriff tell him to appeal, anyway?

Would Lou Bianchi have told the Sheriff, following Judge Meyer's decision in the McHenry County Circuit Court, "Give it up, Keith. You are not going to win."

Another example is the case of Jerome and Carla Pavlin, Crystal Lake-area senior citizens who were roughed up by deputies and who won a lawsuit against the Sheriff's Department. Charges never should have been filed against them in the first place. Once they were (March 2008), they should have been dismissed a long time before they finally were (July 2009).

I was in court on the day that they were dismissed. The Assistant State's Attorney told Mr. and Mrs. Pavlin that the charges were being dismissed "with prejudice" and then she explained to them, while still standing in front of the judge, that that meant charges were not going to be re-filed against them. Smack! Take that, Sheriff Nygren! And a Federal judge ruled that the deputies had illegally entered the Pavlin home.

I believe if the State's Attorney had gotten the full story much sooner, the charges would never have been filed or would have quickly been dropped. Instead, the Pavlins incurred substantial expense to defend themselves.

This is why McHenry County voters must elect a new face to the Office of Sheriff in November, 2014. A clean sweep at the top of the Sheriff's Department is absolutely required to restore the faith of the public and the morale of the deputies. The "gang" on the inside must be broken up. It can no longer be tolerated for deputies to break the laws and get away with it. This statement applies only to certain deputies.

Most of the deputies (male and female) are the "good guys". But they are afraid to speak out. They have watched what has happened to Zane Seipler, Scott Milliman and others. So they keep their heads down, work their shifts and get away from the Department. This must change!


Lance Tankman said...

I didnt know this much about Woodstock lawyers thanks for sharing!

Gus said...

I don't usually publish comments with links, but this link goes to the website of a Canadian law firm with an office in Woodstock - Woodstock, Ontario, Canada.