Martin Preib

Award-winning Writer

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Filtering by Category: Howard Morgan

Support for Cops Sold Out by Quinn

We're repeating an interview with Police Officer John Wrigley, who was shot in 2005 during a traffic stop. Two other cops were also shot. The offender, Howard Morgan, was eventually convicted of four counts of attempted murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison. 

Last year, former Governor Quinn inexplicably commuted Morgan's sentence without any explanation, perhaps the most disgusting betrayal of law enforcement in the last 20 years. 

Neither Mayor Emanuel nor newly elected Governor Bruce Rauner had anything to say about this blatant violation of the criminal justice system. 

Now Morgan and his supporters are gearing up to try and get him pardoned. 

Please support of the victims at the State of Illinois Building 100 W. Randolph, Chicago, Illinois on July 8, 2015, at 9:00 a.m., or send representatives from your departments. The petitioner usually has several uninformed supporters at all of his court dates. It would be helpful to have officers and civilians who are familiar with all the facts to support the officers.



Quinn Pardons Reveal City's True Clout

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Recent pardons and sentence commutations by outgoing Governor Quinn reveal the real clout that runs the city and state, as well as the real character of those who enjoy this clout.

 Governor Quinn secretly, and without explanation, released a man, Howard Morgan, from prison this week, a man who tried to murder four police officers in 2005. Three of them were wounded. The case played out in two arenas, the court of law and the court of public opinion. In the court of law a vast body of evidence pointed to the guilt of Morgan, who shot the police officers during a traffic stop on the west side.

 As the case unfolded, a vast public relations machine perfected over thirty years in Chicago was unleashed against the cops. Some of this public relations propaganda trickled into the courtroom. In this campaign, no accusation against the cops was off limits: racist executioners, robbers, incompetents, thugs, conspirators, all these were leveled against the four police officers in an Al Sharpton-like campaign, against officers who were merely investigating the sound of gunshots in an area filled with violence.

 There was also the strange alliance of race agitators with credentialed academics in this case. These well-dressed talking heads with advanced degrees tried to put a civilized face on the street hustle to free Morgan and vilify the officers.

 It had some effect in the first trial. There was bitter discord among the jurors. A few held out for Howard, to the disgust of the other jurors.

 A hung jury was declared.

 But the second trial was another story. In this trial, Morgan’s attorneys had exhausted every legal trick, every conspiracy theory. The jury came back in a few hours: Guilty on four counts of attempted murder.

 Morgan got 40 years. All his appeals failed.  

 Case closed, right?

 Nope. In the waning moments of his scandal-plagued administration, Democratic Governor Pat Quinn secretly commuted Morgan’s sentence. He did so without even talking to the officers to hear their side of the story, to hear what they had gone through that night and in the years during the trial. Quinn just took a knife and stuck it in their backs, not only to these officers, but to the entire law enforcement community.

 It must be powerful juice, indeed, to compel someone in such a prestigious position as governor into such a dirty, cowardly, despicable act; that is, juice coupled with an elected official already lacking in any moral character.

 But there are other measures of the clout behind this decision. Consider the reaction in the city to the fact that four officers were almost murdered and the shooter against them walked out of prison in defiance of the entire legal system that convicted him.

 Did newly-elected Governor Rauner address the outrage?

 No. The Governor who says things are going to change in Illinois didn’t say a word about it.

 Did Mayor Emanuel, the man who expects the police to patrol some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city condemn the decision and make a public statement about how badly the officers had been betrayed?

 Nope.

 Did the Aldermen? No, they kept silent like a collection of obedient sheep.

 Did the media? Stupid question. This is a city with newspapers like the Chicago Tribune, the Sun Times, and the Chicago Reader, who have obtained their news stories from this public relations machine for 30 years. Nothing scares them more than having to admit what this machine actually is.

 Did the prosecutor? Well, Alvarez did denounce the decision…for about thirty seconds.

 It’s nice to know when you are a cop in Chicago, the entire political, legal, and media establishment has your back, especially when someone pulls a gun on you and guns you down for no reason.  

 In the public relations court, the party line will be sold that Quinn was acting from some higher purpose, that his actions were in some way heroic.

 But who are the real heroes in the Morgan narrative, four cops who were fired upon as they investigated a possible shooting, who acted courageously and legally in the worst scenario a police officer can face, even to the point of ceasing to fire at Morgan when he ran out of bullets, even though he had just fired on them 17 times, the cops who endured almost ten years of persecution in the media by Morgan and his supporters, but pressed on with their case based on evidence, along with state’s attorneys Dan Groth and Phyllis Porcelli Warren, who, denied a closing argument in the first trial, slowly and methodically took a legal knife to the theories posited by Morgan’s attorneys in the closing argument of the second trial, until the defense case was little more than a legal corpse on the courtroom floor?

 Or was it Governor Quinn, who sneaked into his office, signed the commutation papers in secret, without any explanation, and than ran off into the night so that he would not have to answer questions, undermining everything these officers and prosecutors had endured and accomplished over a decade?

 Who are the real heroes?

 To understand specifically who are the people that have such powerful clout, one only has to look at Quinn’s other commutation in his last days.

 Consider the sentence commutation of Willie Johnson, for example. Johnson was the central witness in a wrongful conviction scam by Northwestern University's law school.

 The wrongful conviction movement, which began in Chicago, is based on getting inmates out of prison by claiming some police or prosecutorial oversight or abuse.

 This movement has extorted hundreds of millions of dollars from cities and states in lawsuits over inmates they have gotten out of prison. They are relentless, and little care what actually happened in a crime. The Howard Morgan case is proof enough of that, for it was the same players and strategies working on behalf of Johnson that were also employed in getting Howard Morgan out of prison.

 Over the last 30 years, they have amassed great political and legal clout. Judges fear them. Prosecutors fear them. Spineless governors fear them. Quivering journalists fear them, so much so that letting out killers has become an industry in the Crooked City.

 Back to Johnson.

 Johnson was a gang member who had been shot along with two other gang members in a gang dispute. The other two men died. It was Johnson’s testimony that put two offenders in prison for the murders. As is the case in so many wrongful conviction bids, suddenly Johnson emerged after some 17 years to recant his trial testimony about the two men who shot him.

 Johnson’s recantation was the lynchpin in Northwestern Law School's wrongful conviction claim. Northwestern lawyers hoped Johnson's recantation would spring the two offenders from life sentences. Once freed, they would no doubt seek a multi-million dollar settlement.

 But Northwestern’s plans hit a speed bump. Johnson made his recantation statement in court. Both the prosecutor and the judge in the case rejected Johnson’s story. They said he was lying.

 In a rare moment when the legal system actually stood up to the kind of wild, fraudulent claims Johnson and Northwestern were making, Alvarez charged Johnson with perjury.

 Johnson pled guilty and was sentenced to prison.

 What a moment. A witness brought forth by one of the nation’s most powerful law schools in an attempt to free two killers is deemed a liar, and he pleads guilty to perjury. One would think such a story would garner tremendous coverage. Not so, the wrongful conviction movement has enough juice to stymie that.

 But the Johnson case did not involve just Northwestern. Much of the entire wrongful conviction community participated in his bid to fraudulently free two killers.

 The investigator who reportedly traveled to Lousiana to obtain the recantation from Johnson, for example, works for the law firm Loevy and Loevy. Lawyers from the University of Chicago's Law School also represented one of the inmates trying to get out prison. 

 It was University of Chicago’s Law School that was working on behalf of Howard Morgan.

 What a coincidence.

 One wonders. How could Johnson's recantation be so clearly fraudulent to a judge and the prosecutor, but not be clear to all these wrongful conviction lawyers?

 Well the Howard Morgan case sheds light on that question: Because the wrongful conviction community doesn’t really care whether their clients are guilty or not. They just want to get them out of prison.

 Then they want to parade around in their classrooms, seminars, and panel discussions telling everyone how evil the police and prosecutors are and what advocates they are for the downtrodden (by foisting a killer back on their community?).  

 But of course, in order to do this, they have to have a bunch of lackey politicians in their back pocket, people like Governor Quinn.  

 Johnson being sent to prison was a sign that the story might finally break on how the wrongful conviction syndicate works, right? It sends a powerful message to anyone thinking of lying in a murder case, right?

 Hardly. Before Johnson even had to change his sheets in his cell, Quinn secretly signed off on his commutation, and Johnson was on his way home, just like Morgan.

 That’s just the way it works in the Crooked City. 

Interview With Officer shot in 2005. Governor Releases Offender From Prison

Outgoing Governor Quinn defied the entire justice system today and commuted the sentence of a man who shot three police officers during a traffic stop. 

Here is one of the officer's harrowing account of what happened in the shooting and then what unfolded in the trial. 

 

Here is the victim statement by Officer Wrigley:

In preparation for today, I carefully thought what I would say in regards to a man who almost ended my life.  The truth is, it's extremely difficult to put into words, my emotions and my thoughts of not only that night, but also the effect the last several years have had on me, my family, and my friends.  

 On February 21, 2005, a Chicago Police Officer went to work that night, as a man with 11 years of Law Enforcement experience.  In those 11 years, he served as a Police officer in multiple jurisdictions, and served communities of people from different races, cultures, religions, and backgrounds.  He always strived to maintain a good reputation within those communities, including Chicago, because he believed in the trust that should exist between the Police and the people it serves.  And, he always strived to do his job with fairness and compassion.  That was one of the Police Officers you encountered that night Mr. Morgan. That was me.   

 The night I crossed your path I was only doing what I have done a thousand times before.  Then you made a choice...  You shot me Mr. Morgan.  I don't think we will ever know how you came to that choice, but you have shown me what type of person you are in the events that followed that night. 

 What is so reprehensible Mr. Morgan, is you have shown no remorse or even an ounce of accountability in regards to your actions and choices that night.  In fact, you have done exactly the opposite.  You have attempted to lead, and you have allowed people of our community to believe you did nothing wrong.  You have attempted to hide behind the racial fears of our community, and manipulated organizations into believing that Police corruption was the cause of me being shot that night.  The very idea goes beyond reason.   You preyed upon fears and emotions, hoping to serve your own selfish agenda.  In doing so, you have further damaged the trust between our community and the Police.  But, you couldn't hide from the facts, and the truth of this case.  You are a fraud Mr. Morgan... that's also the truth.  

 I will leave here today with my head held high, knowing the truth of this case.  Knowing that justice was served fairly upon you Mr. Morgan.  I will continue to serve our community as a Chicago Police Officer after this day... with pride, but above all else, with fairness and compassion.              

 

Will Quinn Betray Wounded Cops by Pardoning Offender?

In Chicago’s Democratic machine, no criminal conviction is ever secure. Every killer, rapist, and gang member knows that they can get out of prison.

A whole industry, called the wrongful conviction movement, is working to free them. All any offender needs is a recanted witness statement, a typographical error on a case report, or a witness to die off, and then freedom is just around the corner. The offenders could have killed as many as seven people, raped a child before murdering them, or gunned down two people in a crowded park with eight people watching.

 It doesn’t matter in the Crooked City.

There are university professors willing to help the criminals, scores of journalists hoping to add a “wrongful conviction” reversal to their resumes, and hundreds of naïve college students believing the trumped-up claims of a thug.

When all this fails, the offenders have a last resort: the Governor of Illinois.

After all, it was a decree by former Governor Ryan that exonerated killer Anthony Porter. It was another decree by Governor Ryan that let out Madison Hobley, who incinerated his own family and five others in an arson. Afterward, Ryan himself went off to prison.

Now, rumors are flying that activists are pressuring outgoing Governor Quinn to pardon a gunman who fired 17 shots at four police officers during a traffic stop in 2005.

Three of the officers were wounded. One officer, John Wrigley, sustained a wound to his chest near his heart, but the bullet was just barely stopped by his vest. Otherwise, he would have most certainly died. The officers returned fire, striking the offender some 18 times. When the offender finally ran out of bullets, the police stopped firing in return, an incredible display of discipline and adherence to the law and police procedure while under fire.

Nevertheless, the full force of the wrongful conviction movement was unleashed on those four officers. Because the offender, Howard Morgan, was black and the officers white, the agitators knew they had hope. The tripartite alliance of crooked political leaders, the media, and university academics went into gear. Every claim, no matter how ludicrous and contrary to the vast amount of evidence, was accepted as fact. Religious groups jumped in. They made a documentary.

 “Journalists” like Mary Mitchell and Charles Thomas covered only one side of the story, giving full vent to every ridiculous claim, no matter how much it contradicted the evidence or common sense. They never bothered to interview the cops or anyone on their side. Thomas refused to attend the trial when the police presented their evidence. Journalists tried to associate these officers and this incident to those of former Police Commander Jon Burge, accused of abusing suspects in the 1980s. 

What emerged from their imaginations was a fuzzy, ever-changing narrative in which four cops, two from one car and two from another, made a traffic stop and within a few moments agreed to shoot Morgan because he was black. For a while there were claims that they were robbing Morgan, but this version eventually fell aside in favor of the race story. The cops shot Morgan 18 times for no reason, they argued. Then, when Morgan stopped firing, the cops also decided to stop firing. They suddenly decided to let him live. One wonders, if the cops were racist shooters, wouldn’t it have been better for them to kill Morgan? What’s one more bullet after 18?

The theory from Morgan’s supporters was that, as three officers lay there wounded, they concocted a story within seconds that they agreed to, one that just happened to match the vast forensic evidence at the scene. Whisked away to various hospitals, they stuck with this story, having committed an attempted murder that would have sent them to prison for the rest of their lives.

Keep in mind that the officers from the two different cars were from different units and didn’t know each other. That didn’t matter. The narrative was that the officers nevertheless hatched their racist execution plot within seconds and went forward with it.

“Hey guys. Listen. We’re going to pull this black guy over and then kill him.”

“Sounds good. I’m in. Hey, do you know any good Chinese restaurants around here…?”

In the Crooked City, criminal cases unfold in two venues, the courtroom and the court of public opinion controlled by the wrongful conviction machine. The court of public opinion holds far more power than the criminal courts.

Facing endless accusations in the media that the shooting was a racist execution, flamboyant, race mongering attorney Sam Adams Jr. was able in the first trial to get a few jurors to hold out. He got a hung jury. Morgan was let out on bond, a man charged with four counts of attempted murder walking around free.

Years went by before the second trial got started. The court of public relations kicked into high gear. Officers who were almost murdered on the job endured weekly assaults on their character and actions in the media.

By the second trial, there was no evidence and no theory that could save Morgan. Prosecutor Dan Groth eviscerated two lawyers from the University of Chicago defending Howard. The jury came back: guilty on four counts of attempted murder. Finally after enduring years of accusations of racism and wrongdoing, the officers could confront Howard.

This is what Officer Wrigley said to him:

In preparation for today, I carefully thought what I would say in regards to a man who almost ended my life.  The truth is, it's extremely difficult to put into words, my emotions and my thoughts of not only that night, but also the effect the last several years have had on me, my family, and my friends.  

On February 21, 2005, a Chicago Police Officer went to work that night, as a man with 11 years of Law Enforcement experience.  In those 11 years, he served as a Police officer in multiple jurisdictions, and served communities of people from different races, cultures, religions, and backgrounds.  He always strived to maintain a good reputation within those communities, including Chicago, because he believed in the trust that should exist between the Police and the people it serves.  And, he always strived to do his job with fairness and compassion.  That was one of the Police Officers you encountered that night Mr. Morgan. That was me.   

The night I crossed your path I was only doing what I have done a thousand times before.  Then you made a choice...  You shot me Mr. Morgan.  I don't think we will ever know how you came to that choice, but you have shown me what type of person you are in the events that followed that night. 

What is so reprehensible Mr. Morgan, is you have shown no remorse or even an ounce of accountability in regards to your actions and choices that night.  In fact, you have done exactly the opposite.  You have attempted to lead, and you have allowed people of our community to believe you did nothing wrong.  You have attempted to hide behind the racial fears of our community, and manipulated organizations into believing that Police corruption was the cause of me being shot that night.  The very idea goes beyond reason.   You preyed upon fears and emotions, hoping to serve your own selfish agenda.  In doing so, you have further damaged the trust between our community and the Police.  But, you couldn't hide from the facts, and the truth of this case.  You are a fraud Mr. Morgan... that's also the truth.  

I will leave here today with my head held high, knowing the truth of this case.  Knowing that justice was served fairly upon you Mr. Morgan.  I will continue to serve our community as a Chicago Police Officer after this day... with pride, but above all else, with fairness and compassion.              

But this is Chicago. A conviction is never final. At a hearing before Morgan was sent off for a 40-year prison sentence, the wrongful conviction machine brought out its big guns. Jesse Jackson showed up and testified on behalf of Morgan, asking that he be released pending his appeal. Former Northwestern Innocence Project Professor David Protess also showed up, working the crowd that was supporting Howard. (Protess, who has since been fired from Northwestern for lying about wrongful conviction cases, was instructing the crowd on tactics to undermine Howard’s conviction. Protess had never even attended the trial.)

Off Morgan went to prison. He eventually lost all his appeals. And that was supposedly the end of that.

Not so. Now word comes out that Morgan’s supporters are apparently working Quinn’s office, hoping to get Quinn to pardon Morgan before Quinn leaves.

If they succeed, it would be one of the worst violations of the criminal justice system, a dirty, cowardly, shameful betrayal of the police.