2014
07.27

Lawyers` `Code Of Silence` On Greylord Assailed
November 23, 1985 By Maurice Possley.

U.S. Atty. Anton Valukas Friday sharply criticized the legal profession for tolerating the corruption uncovered in the Operation Greylord investigation shortly after a federal judge cut the prison terms of three former Chicago police officers to reward the “brave step“ he said their cooperation in the case represented.

In a speech before the Chicago Bar Association`s Judiciary Committee, Valukas said he was “unaware of any single lawyer who has voluntarily come forward to simply complain about . . . misconduct or corruption within the Circuit Court of Cook County“ during the Greylord investigation.

“I believe that most lawyers and, certainly, most judges take very seriously and sacredly the admonition that they will neither lie nor cheat. But I also believe that many do not accept as their responsibility the requirement that they not tolerate those who do,“ Valukas said.

This seems very similar to the reaction to the Kids For Cash Scandal where the law enforcement and legal community in Luzerne County maintained a conspiracy of silence. There is one great difference though.

Because of Operation Greylord, the law was enacted which MANDATED the silence of lawyers where it would adversely affect the integrity of the judiciary. In KIDS FOR CASH, SILENCE/CONFIDENTIALITY WAS THE LAW. A very very unconstitutional law.

Earlier Friday, U.S. District Judge Charles R. Norgle reduced the prison terms of three former Chicago police officers whose testimony led to the Greylord conviction of former Cook County Circuit Judge Richard F. LeFevour on corruption charges.

Norgle cut the terms of James LeFevour, Arthur McCauslin and Lawrence McLain after Asst. U.S. Atty. Candace Fabri urged the judge to “place a premium“ on the cooperative efforts of the three men.

“There truly is a code of silence out there,“ she said. “These three men have indeed been branded by society.“

Norgle concurred, saying, “I`m concerned . . . with the code of silence. These three men have taken a brave step. It should be called a coward`s code of silence.“

In his speech to the bar association, Valukas said that the only individuals who were involved in court corruption and who testified in a Greylord trial were those who agreed to cooperate after being indicted or were confronted with allegations of wrongdoing and agreed to testify with a grant of immunity from prosecution.

“It must be made specific and clear that in any and every instance that you believe that some improper or illegal act has occurred that you have an obligation to do something about it. And that obligation is something more than refusing to participate yourself in criminal activity,“ he said.

“Greylord occurred because people believed that they could get away with it and because others let them,“ Valukas said.

The U.S attorney referred to comments made during a Greylord case sentencing by U.S. District Judge John F. Grady about society`s “strange view of justice“ in which “we look with favor upon those who know about wrongdoing and who remain silent about it. . . . We call them good guys.“

Valukas also told the bar group that the judicial selection process, in which judges must run “time and time again for retention or election“ is “fraught with danger“ because judges are required to raise funds to campaign.

The individuals who support the judges financially also appear before them as litigants, Valukas said. “We should be wary of any system which puts a judge in a position to decide matters other than on their merits.“

The reduction in sentences by Norgle came as federal prosecutors prepared for another round of indictments in the Greylord investigation.

Former Judge John Devine, former Court Clerk Harold Conn and former Chicago Police Officer Ira Blackwood, all convicted in Greylord and now serving prison terms, have been returned to Chicago for appearances before the Greylord grand jury.

Norgle reduced the sentence of James LeFevour, 57, first cousin of the former judge, to 18 months from 30 months. The former police officer is in the Terre Haute federal prison camp in Terre Haute, Ind.

The sentence of McCauslin, 57, was cut to 12 months from 18 months, and the sentence of McLain, 49, was reduced from 15 months in prison to 12 months in a work-release program in which he will work during the day and spend nights in jail. The two former police officers were ordered to begin serving their sentences Jan. 3.

Richard LeFevour, 54, was convicted last July 13 on 59 counts of taking bribes to fix drunken-driving cases and parking tickets over 14 years. He was sentenced by Norgle to 12 years in prison. He remains free on appeal bond.

Fabri told Norgle that the three former officers, all admitted bagmen for Richard LeFevour, “have been fully cooperative and truthful“ and all were expected to testify in future Greylord trials.

2014
07.27

Questions On Greylord Still Remain
May 03, 1987 By Joseph R. Tybor, Legal affairs writer.
Maurice Possley contributed to this report.

When the first round of indictments in the Operation Greylord investigation was announced 3 1/2 years ago, then-U.S. Atty. Dan Webb said that when the investigation was completed it would be viewed “as one of the most comprehensive, intricate and difficult undercover projects ever undertaken by a law-enforcement agency.“

The conviction last week of Judge John H. McCollom and testimony during his trial underline the grim truth in Webb`s prophecy. There has been no investigation into official corruption on the state or federal level that can match its scope or prosecutorial success.

Although the investigation appears far from over–with reports of grand-jury investigations underway into the Domestic Relations Division of Cook County Circuit Court–the success and character of the trials to date have largely muted questions raised by many at the beginning about unprecedented undercover tactics used by government agents.

These methods included penetrating the traditional sanctity of a judge`s chamber with a wiretap and the use of contrived court cases by FBI agents posing as corrupt lawyers, drunken drivers and defendants giving false statements under oath in court.

Imagine that. An undercover investigation of judicial corruption of an unprecedented magnitude… leads to the CONSPIRACY OF INCOMPREHENSIBLE SCOPE AND MAGNITUDE WHERE THE JUDICIARY IS UNDERMINED AND JUSTICE IS DENIED TO MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHILE AN ENTIRE PROFESSION OF LAWYERS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT IS MANDATED TO SILENCE/CONFIDENTIALITY WHICH PREVENTS EXPOSURE AND RESOLUTION OF THE UNCONSTITUTIONAL INJUSTICE.

THE SURVIVING VICTIMS OF THAT NATIONWIDE STATE AND FEDERAL JUDICIAL CORRUPTION AND INJUSTICE ARE RELEGATED TO (1) BEING HOMELESS/DESTITUTE, (2) INCARCERATED UNDER FALSE PRETENSES OR (3) SUICIDE.

Clearly, the response to Operation Greylord was a level of corruption by an unchecked and self-policing judiciary giving rise to injustice of a scope and magnitude that ANY government would be unwilling and unable to admit.

The United States, the world leader of democracy, has denied the most basic rights of millions of Americans and controlled the media preventing the exposure of the government’s corruption… WHILE DOING NOTHING TO ADDRESS THEIR CORRUPTION.

Even after presentment to the Judiciary and Government Representatives at state and federal levels, the Government continued to perpetrate a fraud of unfathomable proportions… AND CONTINUED TO DENY IT”S CITIZENS OF THEIR MOST BASIC RIGHTS.

Terrence Hake and David Ries were the two FBI agents who posed as corrupt lawyers and carried eavesdropping equipment to record conversations with judges and lawyers in washrooms, hallways, restaurants, chambers and courtrooms.

The investigative tactics were used with a good deal of care, according to those who once were wary of their implementation. Their validity also has been upheld by a federal appeals court against arguments that they represented frauds on the court and were an overextension of federal power.

“The phantom cases had no decent place in court,“ wrote Judge Frank Easterbrook of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago in upholding the conviction of former Associate Judge John Murphy, who like McCollom was guilty of bribe-taking in Traffic

Court.

“The government offered Murphy opportunities to sell the powers of his office and disgrace himself,“ Easterbrook said. “He accepted with alacrity.“ Easterbrook pointed out that these tactics were used throughout the investigation. “The FBI and prosecutors behaved honorably in establishing and running Operation Greylord. Operation Greylord harmed only the corrupt.“ Large questions still linger, however. Controversy persists over who and what are to blame and what some regard as the apparent failure of lawyers and judges and their institutions and regulatory agencies to cope with the causes.

Testimony at McCollom`s trial implicated with bribe-taking not only him but 25 other current or former judges and a state representative who works part-time as a court officer.

It seemed to put to rest any doubts that–although there are a high number of honest judges–corruption and its causes are systemic in the nation`s largest single-court system.

Among the witnesses at McCollom`s trial, which he ended with his guilty plea Friday, were 12 lawyers and police officers who said they paid hundreds of bribes in Traffic Court.

“What this trial shows more than any other Greylord trial to date is the depth and breadth of corruption at the Traffic Court,“ said Sheldon Zenner, who prosecuted the case with Lawrence Rosenthal, both assistant U.S. attorneys.

“It wasn`t just one bad lawyer or one bad judge or one bad cop,“

Zenner said. “It was hundreds of cops and scores of lawyers and packs of judges.“

“What this case does is leave no one who can say there were just a few people who were casually engaged in casual wrongdoing,“ said U.S. Atty. Anton Valukas.

“It was not just the number of people involved, but they were paying these bribes on a day-to-day basis over an extended period of time.“

Evidence in the convictions of Judge Raymond Sodini, who also pleaded guilty in midtrial, and 19 other defendants earlier this year for massive bribery in branch and Traffic Courts shows that the “corruption is ingrained, systemic and obviously pervasive,“ Valukas said.

So far, according to Valukas, Operation Greylord has yielded 65 indictments of judges, lawyers, police officers, deputies and court clerks.

Eight judges have been convicted; the case of one is still pending. Of those indicted, there have been 55 convictions, 8 cases are pending and 1 involves a former city attorney who has fled to Greece. There has been one acquittal: Associate Judge John Laurie.

In addition, the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission reports that 30 lawyers and judges have been disbarred or suspended because they were convicted or implicated in Operation Greylord proceedings.

An additional 27 are being prosecuted by the commission, and the Greylord-related activities of about 350 others are being investigated.

Despite these statistics, Thomas P. Sullivan, credited with beginning the Greylord investigation after he became U.S. attorney in 1977 and laying the groundwork to ensure that it was carried out ethically, takes a less than sanguine view of its impact.

“It is naive to believe that all of the corrupt judges have been identified and rooted out,“ he said.

“Most lawyers who practice here will not speak of this for publication, because they fear reprisals by the judges, but the existence of judicial corruption has been discussed among knowledgeable lawyers in Cook County for as long as I can recall.“

Sullivan believes that prosecutions alone cannot end criminal conduct and that their deterrent effect is “transient and minimal.“ Like many, he calls for a change from electing judges.

Indeed, calls for an appointive system based on merit have increased with the progress of the investigation, but there are those who fear such a system may be dominated by members of large law firms and result in an “elitist“ judiciary, cutting out minority groups and women.The investigation also has produced concern in the legal profession over failure to restore public confidence in the system.

Appearing at a Greylord panel last week marking the centennial of the Harvard Law Society of Illinois, Richard Phelan, former president of the Chicago Bar Association, criticized the Illinois Supreme Court for failing to act on a request made nearly three years ago by the association and the Chicago Council of Lawyers to conduct its own investigation and come up with proposals for changes in the Cook County courts.

Others blame the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, although that agency last week filed with the Supreme Court its annual report showing more cases and successful prosecutions of attorneys in 1986 than before.

The report also said that the commission was notified of Operation Greylord by Sullivan`s office in 1977 and later turned over records from its independent investigations into court corruption. The commission believed that federal authorities had greater resources to investigate such matters, the report said.

Since February, 1986, the report said, the U.S. attorney`s office has been giving the commission investigative information after trials are complete that result in “more complete disciplinary prosecutions“ of those implicated in Greylord.

There are many who believe that before corruption is rooted out, lawyers and judges who suspect misconduct must change their long-held views about protecting their colleagues.

“It`s real simple,“ said Robert P. Cummins, chairman of the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board and chairman of the American Bar Association`s Committee on Professional Discipline. “Lawyers and judges have got to have the guts to call misconduct into question because it seems the epidemic of improper conduct we`ve seen in Greylord was aided and abetted by people who believed they had to `play the game` and simply disregarded their professional responsibility.“

IT WOULD SEEM THAT THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CORRUPTION WAS IGNORED AND SPREAD TO LAW ORGANIZATIONS AND COURT DIVISIONS. AS A RESULT, THE PLAN TO MAKE SURE IT NEVER HAPPENED AGAIN WAS DISGUISED. BY ENACTING THE RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT INTO LAW – A JUDGE WOULD NOT BE PROSECUTED FOR JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT OR INJUSTICE. … AND IT WOULD TAKE DECADES BEFORE THEIR EFFECTIVE UNCONSTITUTIONAL LAW TO CONCEAL CORRUPTION WOULD COME TO LIGHT.

2014
07.27

Excerpt from Corruption in Cook County: Anti-Corruption Report Number 3 February 18, 2010

Operation Greylord 1980-1992

Operation Greylord was one of the first undercover federal investigations that employed listening devices in a judge’s chambers. Incriminating evidence was also collected by an undercover judge and an Assistant Cook County States Attorney, Terrence Hake. Hake was incensed by the corruption he saw. He went to the FBI and then worked undercover as a prosecutor. He became a defense attorney and continued to hand out bribes to fix phony cases slipped into the system by the FBI.20

The undercover judge, Brocton Lockwood, was from Downstate Marion, Illinois. He was assigned to Cook County to help reduce a backlog of cases.21 He befriended many of the court bailiffs and other personnel and secretly taped their conversations as they bragged about envelopes of cash, open drawers, splitting up the loot and passing bribes to judges.22

The Greylord probes and subsequent convictions exposed rampant corruption, incompetence, and influence peddling in the Cook County court system23. By the end, 15 judges, 47 lawyers and 24 police officers and court personnel were convicted or pleaded guilty.24

Among the most shocking was the conviction of Judge Thomas J. Maloney, who was found guilty of taking thousands of dollars in bribes to fix four felony cases including three murder trials.25

In the aftermath of Operation Greylord, many court reforms were implemented such as limiting conversations between judges and attorneys in hallways and other non-courtroom settings and in the way judges are appointed and assigned trials.26

However former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb concluded, “In terms of convictions, Greylord is the most successful operation in the history of undercover operations. But in terms of institutional impact, Greylord has been a miserable failure. Judges are still elected to the bench by political parties and kept there by party-dominated retention elections.”27

Two books and more than1,000 newspaper articles have been written about the indictments, trials and convictions. Yet, there is disagreement about the derivation of the name, “Greylord.” It either was named after a race horse or it refers to British jurists who don grey wigs and have been called Greylords.

20.Maurice Possley, “August 5, 1983 – Operation Greylord Investigation Revealed,” Chicago Tribune, Nov. 6, 1997.

21.James Tuohy and Rob Warden, Greylord: Justice Chicago Style, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1989.

22.“Operation Greylord Winds Down,” Chicago Tribune, Jan.1, 1992.22

23.Brocton Lockwood, Operation Greylord: Brocton Lockwood’s Story, Southern Illinois University Press, 1990.

24.Book review by Jon R. Waltz, “Supernerd Triumphant – How Judge Lockwood became Greylord’s Unlikely
Nemesis,” Chicago Tribune, Jan. 7, 1990.

25.O’Connor, Matt. “Judge Maloney Found Guilty in Corruption Case.” Chicago Tribune, April 17, 1993.

26.Trevor Jensen, “Judge headed Cook County courts – Guided judicial system during federal Greylord corruption probe.” Chicago Tribune, January 30, 2008.

27.James Tuohy and Rob Warden, Greylord: Justice Chicago Style, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1989, p. 257.

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