Lake County judge tosses wiretap evidence in 2014 gang-crackdown case

See the WBEZ article related to this post.

By Matt Stanton

Who’s Driving the Bus?

Is anybody really in charge at the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office?

Operation “Shut Down the Hustle”, the much anticipated Lake County prosecution against gang activity that was announced last year with considerable fanfare, has now been undone by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s own negligence. And it was an amateur mistake.

Here’s the key point, which is paraphrased from the state’s own response. The State acknowledged that in January 2014 “FBI and local law enforcement officials met to brief Nerheim on the federal investigation, and an FBI agent informed Nerheim that one of the goals was to develop probable cause to support applications for wiretap surveillance.”

The core of Judge Strickland’s ruling is that Nerheim abdicated his responsibility to the people of Lake County. He knew about developments in this important investigation, having been briefed on it. He knew there was going to be wiretap surveillance. And he was supposed to know the plain meaning of the law: that he had to request the wiretaps personally.  But he abdicated that responsibility and left the whole matter in the hands of subordinates, who were legally prohibited from doing it. Now this major case is down the drain; and these suspected gangbangers will probably skate.

This confirms what I have been saying all along, that Nerheim isn’t really running the office. Confusion reigns as he has turned over the day to day management of the office to subordinates, including not just these two people, but also the same ones who cost the taxpayers millions of dollars through the mindless railroading of innocent people.

Nerheim is too busy planning his ladder-climbing expedition for higher office to handle the people’s business, and everybody in Lake County is paying for it!

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