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Courting Disaster


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Former state appeals judge Gino DiVito, in his public relations role as flack and apologist for the sorry state of Illinois judiciary, engages in specious sophistry in his criticism of Bob Greene (Hot Type, August 14), and Michael Miner falls for it utterly and as swiftly as any yokel watching the shells moved around at a state fair.

First off, DiVito's odd claim that the justice system "has worked appropriately, albeit the results are disastrous" in the case of "Joe" is transparently a contradiction. No procedure with "disastrous" results can be said to have worked "appropriately."

His next dumb claim is that "the judge cannot base his ruling on stuff he knew," but only on stuff presented in court. Oh, really? Suppose you are a judge who has personally seen the sun come up in the east a hundred times--are you supposed to accept at face value the testimony of a witness who claims the sun came up in the west on a particular morning?

Judges use their personal knowledge in court all the time. Recusal is necessary only when the judge knows one of the parties. In this case, former judge DiVito should recuse himself--as a past president of the Illinois Judges Association he has a personal interest in the prestige of Illinois judiciary. He is not the man to judge Bob Greene.

But Miner gets the award for the most astonishing comment of all: "Stuck in a rut, Greene cared only about the boy." As if this was not to Greene's credit and worthy of an award. If only we had more men who cared about hurt boys sufficiently to tell myopic Heiples on our so-called courts to take a hike--more men stuck in just that rut. Miner wouldn't be one of them. It's my guess that he doesn't have any sons--if he does, I wouldn't want to be one of them.

Neil Elliott


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