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Dude Ain't Doin' Himself Any Favors

By Sam Bakken in News on Oct 7, 2005 9:13AM

On August 28, 2001 somebody shot Chicago Detective Joseph M. Airhart in the head—leaving him paralyzed and only semiconscious to this day. In the trial's opening statements on Wednesday, prosecutor Robert Milan, first assistant to the Cook County State's Attorney, said it was Daniel Salley.

The prosecution says that Salley, angry over an IRS investigation he says ruined his tax-preparation business, robbed a South Side bank twice in August 2001. Four days after the second robbery police and federal agents went to Salley's fiancee's South Side apartment to arrest him. Prosecutors say that during the raid Salley shot Airhart (the first officer to enter the apartment) and would not allow anyone in to help the injured officer for two hours saying, "If you guys come in, it will be a blood bath."

Salley's various outbursts (one accusing Judge Joan Lefkow of worshipping Satan), the court's doubts about his mental fitness and the court appointing, and Salley dismissing, four attorneys have all contributed to the four year delay in his trial.

10_2005_jumpsuit.jpgSalley, who pled not guilty, is now representing himself and did not deliver his opening statements today saying he needed time to read over documents he'd recently received from prosecutors. Salley does have "standby counsel" sitting nearby to answer any legal questions he might have. We think Salley's first question should be whether arguing his case wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, as he did on Wednesday, may bias what should be an impartial jury.