Uncovered Emails Show Kane County State's Attorney Knowingly Proceeded with Wrongful Prosecution
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UNCOVERED EMAILS SHOW KANE COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY KNOWINGLY PROCEEDED WITH WRONGFUL PROSECUTION
ELGIN, IL - The once concealed truth is finally being uncovered in the case People of the State of Illinois, et. al. v. Juarez, et. al., in which four anti-gang activists were wrongfully implicated as being gang members in 2010.
Newly disclosed documents show that the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office knew as early as February 2013 that Defendants had “modified their behavior and no longer associate with Latin Kings” and that they were to be removed “in the very near future” from the Elgin Police Department’s gang roster. This means the State should have dropped their case in February 2013, but deliberately proceeded with the prosecution through trial four years later before the Kane County Circuit Court eventually denied all claims by Kane County and Elgin against each man in 2017.
The lawsuit, which sought a court order prohibiting alleged gang members from being in contact with one another, originally named 85 people. The list included former Latin King members Elias Juarez, Ruben Sanchez, Oscar Sanchez, and Saul Juarez who had never been in a gang.
After becoming a follower of Jesus, Saul helped his brother Elias, and friends Oscar and Ruben leave the Latin Kings gang. After putting their old lifestyles behind them, they began to use their experiences to help others find the hope and strength to leave gang life by ministering to current members as well as mentoring at-risk children in schools.
When the Juarez and Sanchez brothers were included in the court order that labeled them as active gang members, their anti-gang efforts were dramatically curtailed and they were put through four years of unnecessary litigation.
“While many good people are working hard to lead young men out of the gangs, my brother and the Sanchez brothers have a strong, unique testimony that’s been forcefully silenced—for no valid reason—for most of a decade,” Saul Juarez said in a 2018 interview. “I wonder how many men and boys we could have reached during that time. How many wouldn’t be gang members—wouldn’t be dead—if not for the stubborn unwillingness of government officials to see the truth and use some common sense.”
People of the State of Illinois, et. al. v. Juarez, et. al. is now on remand from the Appellate Court to determine if sanctions are warranted on the State for their violations of the Illinois Supreme Court Rules based on when the State “knew or should have known that Defendants had been removed from the gang roster.”
An email disclosed on remand, reveals State’s Attorney Joseph McMahon and Kane County First Assistant State's Attorney Jody P. Gleason decided to move forward with the lawsuit despite statements from the Gang Crimes Unit that Defendants were not affiliated with the gang.
John Mauck, attorney for the Juarez and Sanchez brothers, issued the following statement:
“At every stage of this litigation we have offered Kane County and Elgin overwhelming evidence that these four young men had decisively turned from lives of crime to follow Jesus on paths of peace.
We now know that in February of 2013 the Elgin Gang Crimes Unit agreed they had left the gang. Yet Kane County attorneys doubled down and pressed on, ignoring their legal duty to disclose that evidence of their innocence. After trial in 2017, Officer David Lesko reminded them that defendants should have been dropped from the lawsuit.
Even after the IL appellate court remanded this case to the circuit court to determine when the state ‘knew or should have known’ these men were removed from the gange roster, the State refused to respond to a settlement offer by the innocent Defendants.
The illegal and unprofessional conduct by Kane County’s attorneys should alarm everyone concerned with honest government.”
A hearing is scheduled for September 23.
(See Exhibit A and B on page 19 and 21 for emails)