A senior attorney in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration resigned on Monday after a federal judge ruled that he had purposefully concealed important evidence (and then lied about it) in a fatal Chicago police shooting trial.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Senior Corporation Counsel Jordan Marsh has worked for the city since 1997. In his 72-page opinion Monday, U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang overturned a jury’s verdict in the lawsuit brought against Marsh and the city by the family of Darius Pinex.
Pinex was killed during a January 2011 traffic stop on the South Side of Chicago. Officers Raoul Mosqueda and Gildardo Sierra testified at trial that they pulled over Pinex’s Oldsmobile because it matched the description of a vehicle wanted in connection with an earlier shooting. Later evidence emerged that showed this to be untrue. From the Tribune:
According to court records, Sierra and Mosqueda did not hear the dispatch as they originally claimed because it aired over a different radio zone. It wasn’t until the middle of the trial that Marsh admitted — outside the presence of the jury — that he had failed to turn over a recording of the dispatch that actually went out over the officers’ Zone 6 radios that night, a call that talked about a different Oldsmobile Aurora that didn’t match Pinex’s car and was not wanted in connection with a shooting.
Marsh first said he had learned about the recording that day, then later said it had been the week before trial. When the judge pressed Marsh on why he hadn’t disclosed the existence of the recording as soon as he learned of it from a police sergeant, the lawyer again backpedaled, saying it hadn’t crossed his mind that it would be something that might be helpful to the plaintiffs.
“My thought process was, I want to see what is on that (recording),” he said. “You know in retrospect I think I should have, but I wanted to talk to the sergeant and to see whether it was even relevant.”
However, Chang ruled that Marsh had “intentionally concealed” the recording. “After hiding the information, despite there being numerous times when the circumstances dictated he say something about it, Marsh said nothing, and even made misleading statements to the court when the issue arose.”
The jury had originally found in favor of the officers, but Chang has ordered a retrial. “Attorneys who might be tempted to bury late-surfacing information need to know that, if discovered, any verdict they win will be forfeit and their clients will pay the price,” he wrote. “They need to know it is not worth it.”
Steven Greenberg, attorney for the Pinex family, told DNAinfo Chicago that they are looking forward to retrying the case. “We know those officers had no right to pull those two men over,” he said. “Their entire story was fabricated. They must have been fed it.”