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This just in… Judge denies request to delay Rep. Derrick Smith’s trial

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

* From the Twitters…


Smith’s trial is scheduled to begin May 28th.

Rep. Smith is a “Yes” vote on the income tax hike extension, so that means the House has to wrap up that issue by May 27th.

* Sun-Times

U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman, obviously irritated, said Smith “should have known” when the House session would end when his trial was reset earlier this year for May 28.

Coleman was also unimpressed by Smith’s attorney Vic Henderson’s complaint that Smith had been hurt in a car accident last month.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


44 Comments
  1. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 10:48 am:

    “You’re not helping…”


  2. - John A Logan - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    By the rivers gently flowing………


  3. - Farker - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    But but but the Speaker owns every judge in the state remember??? Can’t he just pick up the phone and make it it happen lol.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    Welp, can Rep. Smith not be present until after Memorial Day?

    It’s not like the Court won’t know where he’s at.

    Can the Judge send Federal Marshall’s to the House Floor to wait for Rep. Smith to vote, then bring Smith up North?

    Can ya call in “sick ” during opening arguments of your corruption trial, to vote in the elected office you are bring charged with corrupting?


  5. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    There is some spectacular chutzpah going on when a rep. asks for a delay in his corruption trial so he can vote in the GA.

    Just imagine the thoughtsicles at work there. Is it possible that anyone, anywhere, thought that a federal judge would sign off on such a request?


  6. - Jimmy - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    I think the Judge just gave Rep. Smith a reason to appeal and, at the same time, demonstrated a bias against him that may also be used to appeal a guilty verdict (he’s innocent until proven guilty, right, so why not let the guy do his job for 3 friggin’ days)?


  7. - Anon - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    I think part of the reason for the denial was the request was made earlier. Smith knew the end of session was on May 31st for quite a while. It isn’t exactly a surprise…


  8. - Walker - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    “thoughtsicle” Word the Day

    I’m on the way to a meeting where it’s use will be glorious.


  9. - Demoralized - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    ==I think the Judge just gave Rep. Smith a reason to appeal and, at the same time, demonstrated a bias against him that may also be used to appeal a guilty verdict==

    What? How in the world is not agreeing to a date change grounds for appeal, or for that matter how does it show any bias? That. Is. Dopey.


  10. - Huh? - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:14 am:

    “U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman, obviously irritated, said Smith “should have known” when the House session would end when his trial was reset earlier this year for May 28.”

    Where is the bias? Just because he got 1 extension on the trial doesn’t mean he can get another. The judge has a point that he should have known that the house could have been in session when he asked for the first extension.

    Why should a politician be allowed to “do his job” when he has a court date? Would a judge let you do “your job” if you had a court date? I doubt it.


  11. - A guy... - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:14 am:

    Whether this moves up the vote, kills the effort or anything else, the Judge did the right thing. The same caucus that expelled him, tried to get some relief for a tax increase vote. Pretty weird.


  12. - Jimmy - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:16 am:

    I think a separation of powers argument can be made here. The judge seems to be in violation of it now.


  13. - Demoralized - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    ==I think a separation of powers argument can be made here. The judge seems to be in violation of it now.==

    Stop before you dig an even deeper hole for yourself.


  14. - Levois - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    The Speaker might as well table this legislation he wanted Smith to vote on until after the election. It’s smarter anyway. Smith is going to trial so this extension was a crapshoot!


  15. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:19 am:

    –I think a separation of powers argument can be made here.–

    Give it a shot, lol.


  16. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    == But but but the Speaker owns every judge in the state remember??? ==

    Sharon Johnson Coleman is a federal judge who was appointed, not a state judge who was elected. She’s got bigger issues to think about than Mike Madigan, Pat Quinn, Bruce Rauner or her next election.


  17. - Ahoy! - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:25 am:

    This is fair, if he wanted special treatment he shouldn’t have been caught on tape. :)


  18. - Farker - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    @FKA

    Should I have used the /snark tag? Didn’t think it was necessary but….

    My point was more about the trolls who think the speaker is omnipotent.


  19. - Secret Square - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    If Smith is found guilty or pleads guilty, I can see the Rauner ad writing itself: “The Democrats used the vote of a convicted felon to raise your taxes!”


  20. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    Look, if this was only about a trial schedule, a House vote could be held on an evening, giving Smith time to get to Springfield after court ends and back before it begins the next day.

    But I’m pretty sure the judge previously ruled his confession to the FBI agents was admissable. So he’s most likely going to plead guilty on the 27th, which effectively ends his legislative career. Madigan can work around a trial, but he can’t work around a plea deal.


  21. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:37 am:

    ===Madigan can work around a trial, but he can’t work around a plea deal.===

    The. Best. Insight.

    To that, if Smith is going to plea out, do it sooner as opposed to later, swear in the Primary Winner, and get the vote needed(?)

    They have a week to try to do it, if Smith pleas ASAP.


  22. - Motambe - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:44 am:

    It’s nice to see judicial process trump the expectation of privilege.


  23. - cover - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:44 am:

    If Rep. Smith pleads not guilty and the case goes to trial, would he be free to go back to Springfield on Saturday 5/31, the last day of session?


  24. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    ===If Rep. Smith pleads not guilty and the case goes to trial===

    No. The 27th is not an arraignment, it’s beginning of the trial, which would start, presumably, with jury selection. He already pled not guilty, but nothing prevents him from changing his plea, even after the trial begins.


  25. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    ==I think a separation of powers argument can be made here. The judge seems to be in violation of it now.==

    Please explain the “separation of powers” issue that involves a FEDERAL Judge in a Federal court, and a State legislator?! Someone needs a remedial course in civics. They’re not separate branches, they’re on two unrelated trees!


  26. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    Mea culpa, @Farker.

    It’s been harder to tell for certain with some of the recent Raunerbot comments flying around lol.


  27. - Raising Kane - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    They could still vote on the 31st….I doubt court will be in session on a Saturday.


  28. - Farker - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    @FKA

    Lol no problem!


  29. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    So, will the GA be out prior to May 31?


  30. - Gantt Chart - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    Sooooo…does some mysterious ghost in the machine magically press the absent representative’s “Yes” button during the voting?


  31. - A guy... - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    MJM knew this could happen. Just call Derek ole 61. At 60, all of them are the deciding vote. At 61, none of them are. His big concerns are 58 and 59.


  32. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    From an AP story

    == Asked if Madigan asked Smith to make the request, attorney Sheldon Sorosky told reporters, “God no.” Attorney Victor Henderson added Smith was only motivated by a sense of duty to constituents. ==

    Come again?


  33. - Rusty618 - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    What were the car accident injuries? Will his doctor write him a note to be absent? I guess this isn’t like school though!


  34. - Cook County Commoner - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    This is the federal courthouse. Last minute trial commencement changes on a high profile matter must be endorsed by God. I’ll guess Rep Smith’s atty knows this, but the call came in on tight numbers for the vote, so he was told to do it.


  35. - OldSmoky2 - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 12:27 pm:

    ==MJM knew this could happen. Just call Derek ole 61. At 60, all of them are the deciding vote. At 61, none of them are. His big concerns are 58 and 59.==

    Bingo! Someone knows how to count votes.


  36. - x ace - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 12:45 pm:

    Generally, no requirement that defendant be present during various phases of the trial. So he could and probably will be present to vote ,if needed.

    Request to continue trial probably just a delay tactic.

    Or else , like 47 th Ward said above, maybe more going on, like a Negotiated Plea.

    Who knows, but right call by Her Honor.


  37. - Just Me - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 1:41 pm:

    It isn’t like the voters of the district didn’t know he was indicted and didn’t know he would have to attend his trial to prove his innocence.


  38. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 1:46 pm:

    –to prove his innocence.–

    You never have to prove your innocence.

    But as 47 pointed out, given the admisability of his previous statements to the FBI, you have to think he’s going to make the best deal possible before a jury comes in.


  39. - Upon Further Review - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    Or the Speaker could lean on Smith to resign and have the committeemen appoint an immediate replacement to vote “Aye” before the legislature adjourns.


  40. - Dan from Springfield - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 2:38 pm:

    After reading this thread I am so relieved that there is no corruption involved here.


  41. - dupage dan - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 2:54 pm:

    Please excuse Derrick Smith from his trial on May 28, 2014. He got hurt in a car accident and is a lot of pain. He will be back to court after he feels better, or the tax hike extension bill is voted on, whichever comes first.

    Signed, Juan Epstein’s Mother


  42. - Diogenes in DuPage - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 3:04 pm:

    We have a winner — dupage dan.


  43. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 21, 14 @ 3:10 pm:

    DD with the “Mr. Kotter” reference.

    Strange times. Lot of recreational drugs about.


  44. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 8:12 am:

    The irony is almost too much - even for Illinois! You ask for a continuance so you can do the job that you’re being indicted for. If this was a movie script the producers would have this rewritten to make it more believable.


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