The Watch

News and Information for Chicago FOP members.

Did The Fox Just Get The Henhouse?

Loevy and Loevy allies moving right into the City’s Legal Department?

A top official in a prosecutor’s office that has released several inmates on the claim that they were wrongfully convicted is now moving to the city’s Corporation Counsel, sources reveal.

Katie Hill, currently the Director of Policy, Research, and Development at the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney, is reportedly moving to a top position in the Corporation Counsel headed by Ed Siskel.

Part of the Corporation Counsel’s job is to review police misconduct allegations and determine whether the city will fight them or settle. Siskel has already generated criticism by the FOP and its members for his willingness to settle cases that should go to court. He has also earned criticism for his failure to address evidence of corruption in the industry of filing misconduct claims against the police.

But Hill joining Siskel’s staff is an ominous development for police officers and taxpayers. Her short tenure as a prosecutor marked a radical transformation in the office from Foxx’s predecessor, Anita Alvarez.

Foxx, for example, initiated a slew of new policies that granted breaks to criminals, including easier bonds and raising the standards for felony charges for shoplifting. But it was Foxx’s decision to reverse the policy of Alvarez in the case of a retired Chicago detective accused of coercing statements in murder cases that signified a new era in the prosecutor’s office.

Anita Alvarez had supported convictions by former detective Ray Guevara.

But Foxx reversed this policy and began letting these inmates out. Two of the most bizarre releases were Gabriel Solache and Arturo Rivera, released after being convicted of stabbing a couple to death in 1998 and kidnapping their children. Even when prosecutors released the two men, Foxx officials bizarrely admitted the men were likely guilty of the crime.

No one benefited more from Foxx’s decision to declare war on Guevara than the wrongful conviction attorneys who have filed a litany of lawsuits against the detective since Foxx took over. The chief law firm to do so is Loevy and Loevy, the most prominent police misconduct law firm in the city.

Indeed, Loevy and Loevy just won a $17 million verdict in a key Guevara lawsuit last week, a verdict that was no doubt strongly influenced by Guevara’s decision to take the Fifth.

But with attorneys for police officers being so deeply distrustful of a prosecutor like Foxx, why would any officer testify?

“Isn’t it time we get to the truth about these alleged wrongful conviction cases? Let’s give these officers full immunity in State and Federal court so they feel free to explain the investigations without fear of losing their retirement years to endless litigation face the fear of financial ruin. The police and prosecutors who tried these cases deserve the right to defend their actions, and, most importantly, the victims’ families deserve the right to know that justice was properly or improperly dispensed,” said FOP attorney Tim Grace.

And here is the meat of just how troubling Hill’s move into the top city attorney position truly is.

Foxx was not only supported by attorneys at Loevy and Loevy during her campaign, her current policy director, Katie Hill—the woman about to move into the Corporation Counsel—is a former employee of Loevy and Loevy.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Hill is also a former public defender. She graduated from the University of Chicago Law School, where she worked at the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic’s Juvenile Justice Project.

One project within the Mandel Clinic is the Exoneration Project, described on the school’s website:

The newest project to open at the Clinic is the Exoneration Project, which represents clients who have been convicted of crimes of which they are innocent, opened in late 2007. Students working on the Project work in both state and federal courts, and are involved in all aspects of post-conviction litigation, including evaluating cases, developing evidence of innocence, filing petitions, and making motions for forensic testing.

With her background and policy changes at Foxx’s office, Hill is virtually a card-carrying member of the wrongful conviction movement.

Now she is going to work for the city attorneys whose job it is to defend accused police officers? Imagine the outrage that would follow the city hiring an attorney for the same spot who once defended Jon Burge.

Only in Chicago.

Officers are already getting thrown under the bus by the Corporation Counsel in one case after another.

Even at the last City Council meeting, aldermen approved a dubious $2.5 million settlement on a Loevy and Loevy case based on allegations that two of the city’s best officers committed misconduct on a search warrant.

Hill’s movement in the Corporation Counsel would be another example that Siskel is not backing up police officers, that his office is as much a conduit for police misconduct claims as it is an entity that is obligated to indemnify officers.

Would Hill be someone advocating to take police misconduct claims to trial rather than settle them? Hardly. Just as Foxx began rubber-stamping claims against former detective Ray Guevara, Hill would quite likely began rubber-stamping cases against police officers.

It also signifies the vast reach of Loevy and Loevy. The law firm clearly has great sway over the prosecutor’s office. Now it may have a key ally in the city’s law firms with Katie Hill.

Loevy and Loevy has established a powerful media influence. How powerful? Well, you are reading about Hill’s move to the city from a police blog, not from one of Chicago’s newspapers.

What does that indicate?