Monday, March 27, 2006

Ryan trial judge: Trial may not be able to continue

As you can see on the previous posts, Federal Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer dismissed the two jurors from the George Ryan panel because they apparently lied about their criminal records when filling out their juror questionnaires last fall.

Two alternates will join the jury. But the judge is unsure the trial can continue.

From CBS 2 Chicago:

Pallmeyer said pointedly that there had been "a very significant investment both public and private" in the trial that by any yardstick has cost millions of dollars to hold.

"If we can proceed with this case fairly, if we can continue and continue with the jury and for them to deliberate fairly, that's what my goal would be," Pallmeyer said. "If I can proceed in a process that makes me comfortable, then that's what I intend to do."

She said however that to get deliberations going again, she would have to replace the dismissed jurors with alternates -- something defense attorneys say would violate Ryan's rights.

George H. Ryan is the former Governor of Illinois. A Republican from Kankakee, Ryan, along with lobbyist Larry Warner, is on trial for various corruption and racketeering charges.

Before he was governor, Ryan was secretary of state. Dozens of SOS employees were convicted of various graft charges, mainly for selling drivers' licenses to unqualified applicants. Several secretary of state leases and contracts were later to be discovered to be sweetheart deals. Ryan allegedly received free trips from wealthy campaign contributors, which he didn't report as income.

Of course, Ryan is probably best known as the man who commuted all 167 death sentences in Illinois to life-in-prison. That deed got George an appearance on the Oprah Show shortly after he left office, as well as international renown for his deed.

Illinoisans, particularly Republicans, have a less fond recollection of the one-time Kankakee pharmacist.

Without a doubt, George Ryan made the Illinois Republican Party what it is today.

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