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DuPage State's Attorney Birkett Moves To Appellate Court

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 4, 2010 5:40PM

2010_11_4_birkett.bmp Longtime DuPage County State's Attorney Joseph Birkett announced yesterday that he accepted a position on the 2nd District Appellate Court. Birkett will replace retiring Judge Jack O'Malley, who withdrew his request to be retained in Tuesday's general election in August.

Birkett contacted Illinois Supreme Court Justice Bob Thomas about the vacancy last month. Thomas informed Birkett of his appointment Tuesday.

This appointment rubs us wrong due to Brikett's involvement in the long imprisonment of Rolondo Cruz, Alejandro Hernandez and Stephen Buckley for the 1983 murder of Jeanine Nicarico. Birkett wasn't the State's Attorney when the three were first convicted of the murder - that honor went to former Attorney General Jim Ryan. But Birkett was culpable for continuing to tie Cruz in particular to the case, even as it became clear that Nicarico was murdered by Brian Dugan, that DuPage County Sherrif's officials trying to convict Cruz of the crime despite evidence tying the murder to Dugan and judges kept overturning the conviction. Tribune columnist Eric Zorn last year reposted a series of his columns on Birkett's involvement in the case that are must reads as classic examples of a politician covering his ass.