Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Casciaro - no new trial

Yesterday's result in Mario Casciaro's request for a new trial was no surprise to me. Casciaro and his attorney, Brian Telander, were arguing for a new trial on what seem to me to be a number of valid points.

Not the least of which was that Judge Prather had shut Telander down in closing arguments in the trial by telling him, in front of the jury, to "wrap it up". Did that unfairly influence the jury? Did it say to the jury that prather considered Telander's arguments as a waste of her time, the Court's time and the jury's time? Ya think?

This is the case in which Shane Lamb "knocked down" Brian Carrick inside Val's Food in Johnsburg in December 2002 and, as some believe, killed him. Yet the McHenry County State's Attorney Office arranged for Lamb to get immunity to testify against Casciaro.

More recently, Lamb was charged with Battery in a McHenry County case filed November 5, 2012, and pled out on Sept. 11th before Judge (guess who?) ...  That would be Judge Sharon Prather. And what great punishment did Lamb get? Less than $700 court costs on the two charges; no time in jail beyond the 86 days served; one-year conditional discharge.

The same Judge Prather who must have thought Lamb to be a righteous citizen deserving of immunity. Oh, barf...

Attorney Telander has solid legal arguments and, no doubt, expected Judge Prather never to admit to any errors in her courtroom. So appearing yesterday was merely a step along the legal trail, and the next stop will be the Appellate Court.

Mick Combs, Chief of the Criminal Division of the McHenry County State's Attorney Office, told the reporter for the Northwest Herald that he wasn't  surprised that Casciaro's requests would be denied. Well, no one was surprised. But did the State's Attorney Office "prevail"? Sounds nice, but Judge Prather was just protecting her courtroom, not the State's Attorney Office.

Was Casciaro railroaded? Has any defendant ever been "railroaded" in a McHenry County Court by the State's Attorney Office? I didn't attend Casciaro's trials, but I've heard the train pass through courtrooms at 2200 N. Seminary in Woodstock. Maybe that's the cause of any hearing impairment I have. A loud train whistle in a closed space is hard on those little hairs in the ears that are affected by loud noises. And by flapping arms, too.

But the legal reasoning for Judge Prather's decision yesterday sold it for me. In the words of the prosecutor, "It's a bunch of nonsense." 

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