I too have fallen victim to the ARDC James Needles Merry go round. I was a victim in a case Assistant States Attorney Jamaal Buchanan was prosecuting. What is the first thing any competent attorney does in preparation for trial? Subpoena the evidence. Well he did not subpoena any of the evidence collected by the evidence technician at the crime scene nor the photographs that were taken, it was crucial evidence that supported my statement to police. He even neglected to submit other evidence I had given him. The ONLY thing he did was ask me questions at trial. I then submitted a complaint to the ARDC regarding this matter. The attorney for Jamaal Buchanan responded and did not provide any documents showing that Jamaal Buchanan subpoenaed the evidence or did anything in preparation for this trial, instead he provided an “answer to discovery” and photographs provided by the DEFENSE counsel. How does a prosecuting attorney show they provided competent and diligent representation by ONLY submitting documents from the defense and none showing what they did? That doesn’t make bad sense and if it weren’t so absurd it would be laughable and yes I still have all the documentation.I then received a letter from James Needles stating in part. “Your disagreements with Mr. Buchanan’s legal opinions and judgements are not evidence of misconduct.” I think any client would disagree with their attorney not issuing a subpoena for crucial evidence that supports the case and the misconduct is the lack of competence and diligence on Mr. Buchanan’s part. He then went on to say “The attorney’s decisions concerning how to pursue the matter involved matters of legal opinion and strategy, with respect to which lawyers have broad discretion” so in other words it’s acceptable for an attorney not to subpoena evidence, not to submit evidence and to do nothing in preparation for a trial, if that’s the case what do we need the ARDC for? I still don’t know why he didn’t subpoena the evidence. If I were a defendant and my attorney neglected to subpoena and submit evidence collected by an evidence technician that exonerated me I would be looking at a legal malpractice case for ineffective counsel, but since it’s a prosecutor I got the B.S “broad discretion” spiel. Everyone makes sure the rights of defendants are protected, what about the rights of victims?My advice to any victim that has a case assigned to a Cook County States Attorney do NOT leave it in the prosecutors hands to look out for your best interests, they have thousands of cases and could really care less if you get justice or not. Get involved with your own case, consult legal aide and MAKE sure that the attorney is doing what taxpayers are paying them to do because if you don’t, there is NO recourse for you.
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