Quick Hits – December 20, 2019

Fake news?

Though I’ve come to despise that term, I understand why it’s caught on. Borne of eternally receding newsrooms, local newspapers don’t even pretend to apply the ethically required due diligence anymore.

To wit, when I read the coverage of the 41-year-old St. Charles certified nursing assistant who was just convicted of felony aggravated assault for purportedly “punching” a long-term care resident, it sounded like something straight out of the Kane County State’s Attorney’s mouth.

A middle-aged white woman punching an old man in what amounts to a nursing home? It doesn’t happen! So, I decided to dig, and sure enough, it took two scant five-minute phone calls to determine the truth.

The male resident, known to be violent as a result of dementia, was being led back to his room after taking a shower when HE punched the nursing assistant. Not only did two independent witnesses confirm that fact, but they testified that the nursing assistant’s response was to slap him on the hand.

It wasn’t the best  method of dealing with the attack, but it certainly wasn’t anything remotely approximating a punch.

To the State’s Attorney’s credit, they did offer her a misdemeanor plea bargain, but she and/or her attorney refused to take it. Sure, it would’ve been a conviction, but then she would’ve simply lost that job. Now, with a felony conviction, she won’t be able to get a job.

And I can’t begin fathom why they chose to go the jury route when this case screamed for a bench trial. This felony aggravated battery to a senior citizen statute bleep is just another fine example of the Illinois General Assembly going out of their way to remove any last vestige of prosecutorial and judicial discretion as they insist upon trying to kill a mosquito with a sledgehammer one more time.

Trust me, anyone who can’t get out of jury duty won’t even begin to understand the nuance involved with these kinds of laws. This woman made a stupid mistake which doesn’t amount to a felony.

But my fake news problem is this! Both the Daily Herald and Kane County Chronicle simply regurgitated the prosecutors’ press release without questioning any part of the story. And if all you’re gonna do is be a shill for the State’s Attorney, then don’t report the story.

It took me just ten minutes to get to the truth, but apparently the Daily Herald and the Chronicle couldn’t be bothered with that absurdly minimal effort. So much for journalistic standards.Nurse violence

Why do we accept women being assaulted in the workplace?

The fact that local papers have become nothing more than glorified police blotters doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the school districts, hospitals, and nursing homes who hire women with an implied job requirement of regularly being assaulted.

We’ve already covered the Burlington School District bus aide story where the violent special needs repeatedly attacked his female school bus drivers and aides. And I’m sure the nursing assistant in the previous story is not nearly the only one who’s been attacked by a violent resident in that facility.

Of course, the worst case of this utterly unacceptable reality is the Delnor nurse who was taken hostage, tortured, and raped at the hands of an escaped convict. While that story made national news, the American Nurses Association reports that 25 percent of their membership will be assaulted by a patient on the job, and their bosses expect them to simply shut up and take it.

Please tell me when this kind of violence, primarily against women, became acceptable?

I understand the difficulties in raising a special needs child, but if he or she is violent, then that shouldn’t fall on the rest of us. If your son can’t handle the school bus, then you need to drive him to school. And if he’s repeatedly abusive and violent, then the school district should send him packing.

Long-term care facilities know Alzheimer’s patients can become violent as a result of the disease, so those for-profit institutions really need to hire the appropriate security staff such that those folks are reasonably contained. And if they can’t be contained, then they need to remove them from the facility or put them in restraints.

No nurse should EVER be punched while walking a patient back to his or her room, period!

Our “non-profit” Delnor Hospital generally makes a 200 percent “profit” every year. SO they they most certainly have the resources to hire the male orderlies and security staff required to keep their nurses safe.

If a patient attacks a nurse simply because they’re unhappy, they should be charged. If a patient assaults a nurse for any reason, they should be restrained so they can’t do it a again, and a security guard should accompany any nurse who has to further deal with that patient.

I understand that drugs, anesthesia, and certain diseases can do terrible things to people, but that doesn’t mean a nurse should have to expect being assaulted at work. There’s absolutely no reason hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities can’t take every reasonable precaution to minimize these incidents, and if they don’t, they should be statutorily required to do so.

Do I have to say it again? No woman should have to go to work with the expectation of being assaulted!

 

Happy Festivus!

Since I purchased my own Christmas gifts, I know I’m gonna have a great time next week, and I certainly hope all of you do just as well as I know I will.

Meanwhile, I’m more than likely to dive directly into my traditional Christmas through New Year’s Quick Hits hiatus. If something particularly piques my interest, I may write about it, but the more feasible prospect is posting chapters from my in-process ‘Curmudgeon’ book.

So, let’s be happy, safe and get ready to move on to 2020!

 

4 thoughts on “Quick Hits – December 20, 2019

  1. Hi Jeff,
    I am the attorney who represented the CNA. I was extremely disappointed with the verdict as was my client. I wish we would have had people who thought like you as part of the jury. The outcome likely would have been different. I can 100% say the decision to go jury was the right choice. My client would agree.
    Similar to the newspapers you criticized, you do not have all the information that went into the decision.
    I generally do not discuss my client’s cases with outside parties while the case is pending. I do not believe it is in my client’s best interest. After the cases have been concluded I would be happy to chat.
    I think you know who I am. We have never met nor spoken together, but I know you have discussed other clients of mine in the past.
    I do not always agree with what you have to say. But I support your right to say it completely. If you ever reached out directly, I will share what I can as long as it is in my client’s best interest. Take care and have a Happy Holiday.
    Regards,
    BM attorney at law

    • Can you appeal the case?

    • John,

      Though I’m putting words in Brian’s mouth, it will be very difficult to appeal this one. Remember, an appeal is NOT a retrial, it’s a matter of finding fault with the trial judge.

      And not only is D. J. Tegeler reversed very often, but the appeals courts are quite loathe to overturn a jury verdict.

  2. Brian,

    Like is is with any reader, I appreciate you reaching out. And unless they sit in on the trial as I did in the Rak case, no journalist/opinion columnist/reporter can ever possibly get the whole story. Even I have my time limitations.

    My singular and main point here, of course, is the Daily Herald and Chronicle simply running the KCSAO press release is complete and utter bullshit. It’s not journalism.

    I went after Jim Fuller with it today and he didn’t respond. That’s Fuller-ese for “I have no defense.”

    But as someone who’s been frequently falsely charged, and then was forced to fall prey to a jury because of Judge Boles’ illegal substitution of the entire 16th circuit, I wouldn’t trust a jury to tell me the sky is blue. (I will win that appeal).

    Put more simply, I’ll take a bench trial every time, particularly before the following judges:

    Bill Parkhurst
    Clint Hull (though our friendship is on hold)
    Rene Cruz
    Elizabeth Flood
    John Barsanti
    Sal LoPiccolo, Jr.
    Christine Downs on a good day

    But the judge I’d trust in that regard most of all

    D. J. Tegeler!

    I’m happy to talk with anyone anytime. I didn’t reach out to you because an appeal is still a possibility, and that might make it be difficult to discuss it. And again, my point was more about the fact your client isn’t a felon. I’ll email you my phone number.

    But you’re going to have a very difficult time convincing me that a jury trial was the right thing in this case. I’m not an attorney, but I’ve rarely been wrong about out lovely legal system.

    Jeff

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