Friday, March 7, 2014

"Official Misconduct" - what is the law?

What is Illinois law of official misconduct? For starters, check out 720 ILCS 5/33-3. You may have to search further.

Let's narrow it down. When a politician or wannabe politician accepts money and then grants a favor related to official duties over which he exercises control, is that unlawful?

Plenty of Chicago politicians and bureaucrats are on the wrong side of the bars now, looking out. So the law in Illinois seems to be that you shouldn't take money and then do any favors for a contributor.

Let's say that, back in 2010 when I was running for sheriff, a person had kicked in a sizable amount of money - maybe in the area of $4,000 or $4,100. Let's say he just threw it in the pot and said, "Good luck." No quid pro quo. At the time, anyway...

And let's also say that I had been a member of the command staff at the sheriff's department while I was running for Sheriff. Some time after the contribution to my political campaign, let's say that person had an employee who got into a "little" traffic problem that, under almost all other circumstances, would have meant that he would be arrested and taken to jail.

But before he was hauled away to the jail, he called his boss. And then his boss called me. And his boss, the guy who kicked in $4,000-4,100 for my run for Sheriff, asked me if there was anything I could do. And then I called the road deputy and told him not to take the driver to jail but, instead, just issue him a Notice to Appear in court and cut him loose. No bond. Don't even make him sign the ticket.

So, what do you think?

Would I have been guilty of Official Misconduct? Did I commit a crime, if I had done what I just wrote above? What future do I think I ought to have in law enforcement, based on my action?

And, if it's not Official Misconduct, what crime did I commit? Aside from having bad manners, demonstrating poor upbringing and setting a terrible example for the people working farther down the food chain?

(Tomorrow I'll write about what I would have done.)

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