Double standards in government and the justice system? Can it be?
A Chicago judge blasted State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and the Cook County prosecutor’s office for dropping charges against actor Jussie Smollett while pressing forward with a similar but far less egregious charge against an “everyday” citizen for filing a false police report.
What may actually be surprising is that a fair-minded judge has surfaced in Cook County.
In his suburban Rolling Meadows courtroom, Cook County Judge Marc Martin rebuked prosecutors for the clear appearance of a double standard.
He said from the bench, “I’d like to know why Ms. Clark is being treated differently than Jussie Smollett. It’s a disorderly conduct case. A lot less egregious than Mr. Smollett’s case. I have a problem with it,” the Daily Mail reported.
The court transcript indicated prosecutor Allison Kudzy responded, “We review each case individually and make offers based on the facts of each individual case.”
If Judge Martin didn’t roll his eyes, he should have.
He did say, “Well, Ms. Clark is not a movie star, she doesn’t have a high-priced lawyer, although her lawyer’s very good. And this smells, big time. I didn’t create this mess, your office created this mess. And your explanation is unsatisfactory to this court. She’s being treated differently.
“There’s no publicity to this case,” he continued. “She doesn’t have Mark Geragos as her lawyer or Ron Safer or Judge Brown. It’s not right. And I proceed in this matter, you’re just digging yourselves further in a hole. Press gets a hold of this, it’ll be in a newspaper. Why is Ms. Clark being treated differently than Mr. Smollett?”
Smollett was initially charged with 16 felony counts after allegedly staging a fake hate crime against himself that prompted a massive police investigation.
In Candace Clark’s case, prosecutors are demanding she make restitution of $2800 and serve deferred prosecution … none of which was demanded of Smollett. Clark, who works at the Home Depot, is charged with a felony, accused of giving a friend access to her bank account and then falsely telling police that money had been stolen from it. She denies it.
“He was just asking very thoughtful questions,” said Wendy Schilling, Clark’s public defender, referring to the judge’s comments.
The attorney said that it’s not unusual for defendants like Clark to get deferred prosecution. What happened to Smollett is the outlier. “I’m just trying to zealously represent Ms. Clark and see if we can have some other resolution that is fair and equitable,” Schilling said.
So is a double standard evident between the Clark and Smollett cases? Clark said, “He has money and I don’t. Really that’s the big thing. He can pay for lawyers. I can’t. He can pay to get this thing dismissed and expunged. I can’t.”
Clark also told the Chicago Sun-Times that she was ‘very shocked’ that the judge demanded to know why she should be treated differently than Smollett.
“I was ecstatic,” she said.
Good on him.
Clark’s case has been continued to May 15.
Video by Fox 10
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