LaSalle Co. (ECWd) -
In the practice of law, judicial estoppel is an estoppel that precludes a party from taking a position in a case that is contrary to a position it has taken in earlier legal proceedings. It would appear that Towne has in fact taken a contrary position in legal briefs. Is this another legal problem for Towne and yet another example of Towne's inability to follow the rules of justice?
When LaSalle County State’s Attorney Brian Towne created his own illegal police force, S.A.F.E., in 2011 the purpose was to have his officers stop interstate motorists in the hopes of finding drugs and money (See Supreme Court Brief page 11) Towne’s police force only patrolled Interstate 80 in LaSalle County.
In June 2015, the Third District Appellate Court ruled that Towne’s police force, SAFE, was without legal authority. “If we were to accept that tortured construction, investigators would, in fact, be police officers, and the three enunciated duties of the appointed State's Attorney special investigators would be rendered superfluous.” (See Appellate Court Opinion page 15) After the Appellate Court ruled SAFE was illegal, Towne appealed the issue to the Illinois Supreme Court.
In the State’s brief (Towne’s brief) the first argument made to the Supreme Court in an attempt to get the highest Court in Illinois to say that a State’s Attorney can create his own police force, the Attorney General on behalf of Towne and the State, argues that a State’s Attorney has, “an affirmative responsibility to investigate suspected illegal activity when it is not adequately dealt with by other agencies.” (See Pg. 21 of the Brief) The suspected illegal activity would be the possession and/or trafficking of cannabis and other drugs. This illegal activity was not being adequately dealt with by other agencies such as the Illinois State Police or any of the other numerous law enforcement agencies in LaSalle County, as implied in the brief.
Towne’s Supreme Court brief also states, “Indeed, State’s Attorney special investigators can be such a valuable resource for local law enforcement agencies with limited resources and expertise that they are often involved in criminal investigations from the very beginning.” (See Pg. 24 of the Brief)
To justify his illegal police force to the Illinois Supreme Court, Towne argues that he had to create his own police force because the issue of drug possession and trafficking on Interstate 80 was not being adequately dealt with by other agencies, which would be the Illinois State Police or other law enforcement agencies, due to their limited resources and lack of expertise.
Well, Towne’s argument to the Supreme Court is absolutely contradictory to the arguments he made to the Circuit Court in support of SAFE back in 2012. In May 2012, when the first challenge to SAFE was made in the case of People v. Huls, Towne stated in his sworn pleading in a response to a motion to disqualify him as prosecutor and later argued at trial that, "The Spring Valley Police Department provides an experienced narcotics investigator to S.A.F.E. Spring Valley Police Department is the lone "arresting agency" for purposes of the statute and receives the 65% share of property or cash.” (See State’s Response to Motion to Disqualify page 4) (See article proving that statement was a lie) The Spring Valley Police Department is a local law enforcement agency in a town of approximately 5,500 people. Of note, the Spring Valley Police Department is not even located within LaSalle County.
In 2012, Towne argues the Spring Valley Police Department, a local law enforcement agency, provides to SAFE an experienced narcotics investigator. Then in 2016, Towne argues that he had to create SAFE because the issue of drugs was not being adequately addressed by other agencies, which would be the Illinois State Police or other local law enforcement agencies, due to their limited resources and expertise.
Considering the SAFE officers are a Spring Valley Police Department Officer (local law enforcement) and two retired Illinois State Troopers, did these officers suddenly have more expertise once they were SAFE officers than when they were local law enforcement officers and State troopers?
Two legal briefs that directly conflict with a key component of their argument, expertise. This shows that Towne will say whatever he needs to say in any particular situation.
Stay tuned for more updates on the judicial concerns related to LaSalle County State's Attorney Brian Towne.
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