Commission files complaint against state prosecutor for misconduct, eliciting prejudice in trial
The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission has filed a complaint against a Williamson County State’s Attorney for “appealing to racial prejudices” during a murder trial.
The complaint states that Charles Garnati violated four rules of professional conduct during a July 2011 murder trial.
The case stems from the trial of Marcus Marshall on charges he fatally shot LaQuinn Hudson at a party in Marion in August 2010. Authorities said Marshall fled to Chicago after the shooting and was later apprehended.
During his closing argument, Garnati spoke of the small African-American community in Williamson County, saying that “there are some very good law-abiding citizens in that community here.” Trying to contrast how whites and blacks deal with police while referring to allegations that two black witnesses had recanted their statements, he began with the words, “Now in our white world, ladies and gentlemen ….”
Garnati also told members of the jury that African-Americans typically carry their guns in their waistbands. Marshall, a black man, was convicted by an all-white jury of murder. He was sentenced to 85 years in prison.
Garnati is currently serving his eighth four-year term as the elected state’s attorney. While he could not be reached for comment on Wednesday by the Tribune, he agreed that Marshall should be granted a new trial over the summer.
The case against Garnati will now go to a panel of the disciplinary commission’s hearing board for review. The Illinois Supreme Court will make the final decision, based on recommendations from the board.
Should Garnati be disbarred for his actions?
Is Marcus Marshall entitled to a new trial?
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