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Letter: Special prosecutor needed for John Farrell situation

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

John Farrell and his family have my deepest sympathies as they deal with the “personal issues” from which he is suffering, as State’s Attorney Clay Campbell said Wednesday.

I wasn’t his supervisor, so I don’t know what those issues are, or even if Campbell does. Obviously, John wouldn’t have engaged in this misconduct if he were thinking clearly, but the same can be said of almost everyone who commits professional wrongdoing and/or criminal acts.

Knowing John, it’s difficult to comprehend his behavior.

That’s why I’ve called for a special prosecutor. This matter’s nature and extent must be investigated.

Decisions must be made by someone who is not torn by professional and personal conflicts, as is the case with both Campbell and myself.

I’m not calling for John’s prosecution; I’m calling for evaluation of that possibility by an uninvolved attorney. Routine conflicts normally go to the state’s attorney’s appellate prosecutor, but the connection to this office seems too close to permit investigation of a former state’s attorney.

This should be handled by a completely disinterested private attorney or the attorney general.

The public now understands that many in county government knew for months that John had misled them about his wife, Kathy, having died. They seemed willing, to begin with, to let Campbell investigate this odd personnel issue.

Unfortunately, it appears he chose to ignore it. There is no indication he tried to get John any help for his “personal issues.”

There’s no indication that anything, either personal or professional, was investigated. He inexplicably put John back on the drug court team.

What possible excuse is there for allowing a member of your staff to betray his public trust, and simultaneously doing nothing to get him the help he desperately needs.

I see two possible explanations, and both are unacceptable. Either Campbell is a totally disengaged boss, displaying utter disregard of his staff’s actions and needs, or he was on top of it and did nothing because it would be a public relations nightmare for his supposedly transparent office.

Campbell had to know Kathy was not dead in April, and he was unopposed when he began covering this up because I didn’t become a candidate until May 10. He’s in a race now, but facing election is still no excuse for not doing your job right.

Richard Schmack

Candidate for state’s attorney

Sycamore

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