A judge in the Chicago area is making news after he invoked the Jussie Smollett case during a similar proceeding in his courtroom — though in this case, the defendant wasn’t rich, famous or powerful.
And his most scathing remarks were saved for Kim Foxx, State’s Attorney for Cook County who has borne much of the criticism for letting Smollett off in his alleged hoax attack case.
According to WFLD-TV, Cook County Judge Marc Martin agreed with Candace Clark, a defendant who said she was the victim of what the station called “a Kim Foxx double standard.”
Like Smollett, Clark was charged with filing a false police report. Prosecutors allege she let an acquaintance use her bank account and then reported the money as being stolen to police. She denies the charges.
Unlike Smollett, however, Clark was offered a more onerous deal by prosecutors even though she’s a first-time offender.
“On April 11, just before Martin expressed his astonishment at Clark’s treatment, the prosecutor assigned to the case had filled out paperwork for a ‘deferred prosecution,’ which would have required Clark to pay back approximately $2,500 — as well as attend periodic court hearings, get a G.E.D. and either show proof of a job or do community service, said Wendy Schilling, Clark’s assistant public defender,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Smollett didn’t receive a deferred prosecution, of course, and whatever fines he received were fairly easy to pay off. Clark, who works overnight at Home Depot unloading trucks and taking care of plants, can’t do so as easily.
In court, Judge Martin lambasted the prosecution.
“I’d like to know why Ms. Clark is being treated differently than Jussie Smollett,” Judge Martin said. “It’s a disorderly conduct case [false] reporting — a lot less egregious than Mr. Smollett’s case. I have a problem with it. Why is she being treated differently?”
Allison Kudzy, the prosecutor handling the case, told the judge that “each case is reviewed individually based on the facts, the investigation and the position of the victims in this case.”
“Well, Ms. Clark is not a movie star, she doesn’t have a high-price lawyer, although, her lawyer is very good,” Martin said.
“And this smells, big time. I didn’t create this mess, your office created this mess. And your explanation is unsatisfactory to this court. She’s being treated differently.”
He then said that both sides need to “take a step back and re-evaluate the situation.”
“I was very shocked. I was ecstatic,” the 21-year-old Clark said.
Foxx’s office declined comment, as there was “pending litigation” involved. However, the judge has a point. Smollett’s alleged crimes were far more egregious, and yet prosecutors still wanted to extract more from Clark than they did from a man who created a national outrage over what prosecutors maintain was a fake attack.
There’s no universe where what Kim Foxx did qualifies as excellence in prosecutorial discretion. By pointing this out, Judge Martin exposed her sins before the courtroom — the kind of courtroom that Jussie Smollett ought to have been in.
Even in a low-profile case such as Clark’s, with no real wider sociopolitical implications, she was given a stricter plea deal than the “Empire” star was.
In fact, Smollett didn’t even have to plea. All he had to do was surrender his bond, do some desultory “community service” with Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and the charges were no more.
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