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People of Illinois v Marcus Marshall

  IL Prosecutor Charles Garnati Branded Racist by Media  
  Murder Conviction and 85 Year Sentence Thrown Out  
  Black Defendant (Marcus Marshall), black victim (LaQuinn Hudson), all white jury, white prosecutor (Garnati), white defense attorney (Thomas Mansfield), white judge  
  Defense attorney, & former prosecutor, Thomas Mansfield criticized for not objecting to race related prosecutor comments - thereby not preserving the record for appeal. A basic attorney skill, and a duty to his client.  
  Williamson County State's Attorney Charles Garnati is reported to be the longest serving prosecutor in the state of Illinois - first elected in 1984.  

Some quotes from Charles R Garnati’s statements to the all-white jury:

“And I am not saying that the whole black community is like that, ladies and gentleman. There are some very good law-abiding citizens in that community here in Marion.”

“Now in our white world, ladies and gentlemen...”

“And in the black community, that is where they keep their handguns … in their waistbands ladies and gentleman, with something covering it.”

  Marcus Marshall's girlfriend, Deanna L Rose, reported that she paid defense attorney Tom Mansfield at least $50,000, and felt that she got virtually nothing for her money.  
  On 28 June 2012 the Times quoted Steve Greenberg Esq as saying: “I think the prosecutor and the defense attorneys (during Marshall's trial) are a disgrace to the legal profession.”  

On 28 June 2012 the Southern Illinoisan reported Marshall’s appeal attorney, Steve Greenberg, as saying that Garnati’s closing argument was intended to inflame racial prejudice on the all-white jury, and that Garnati’s language harkens back to the Deep South of 70 years ago. Greenberg said of Garnati’s language “I think it’s disgusting, it’s offensive……….I think it’s unfitting for any individual let alone an attorney. I certainly don’t think that he’s fit to be a state’s attorney.”

The Southern Illinoisan reported that Steve Greenberg had written to the Illinois Supreme Court, and quoted Greenberg as saying “This is just basic right and wrong….You don’t stand in front of a jury and tell them that because people are of a certain race or certain religion that they think a certain way. That’s called bigotry. You don’t argue bigotry, you don’t argue prejudice.”

The Southern Illinoisan quoted William Schroeder, professor of law at the SIU School of Law, as saying “I was shocked that someone would say something like that, one because of the obvious racial overtones and the like, but also it is totally wrong as a matter of law,”

The Southern Illinoisan reported that Steve Greenberg had harsh criticism for Marcus Marshall’s defense attorney, Thomas Mansfield of Murphysboro, and quoted Greenberg as saying “Marshall’s defense council didn’t object to the closing argument.”


On 28 June 2013 the Chicago Tribune reported that Marshall’s appeal attorney, Steve Greenberg, said it was “wonderful” that the prosecutors had confessed their error to the Illinois Appellate Court, but he said that Garnati should have admitted earlier that the closing had deprived Marshall of a fair trial. “They didn’t do anything until they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar…….They should have admitted error right from the start. I wonder how many other people down there have been the victim of a racist argument.”

Steve Greenberg’s comment would seem to be supported by the evidence, WSILTV reported that in a September 2011 interview (approx 2 months after the trial) Garnati was interviewed and said of Marshall "He was given a fair trail. There is no doubt in my mind,"


On 28 June 2012 the Times quoted Steve Greenberg as saying: “I think the prosecutor and the defense attorneys (during Marshall's trial) are a disgrace to the legal profession.”


On 13 September 2013, the Illinois 5th District Appellate Court threw out Marcus Marshall’s murder conviction ruling that Williamson County State’s Attorney Charles R Garnati’s arguments to an all-white jury were “an egregious and consistent theme throughout the trial” and amounted to “naked prejudice”. The Court went on to say “That there were multiple instances of such racial prejudice is all the more reason to warrant a new trial for Marshall”.


On 16 September 2013 the American Bar Association (ABA) Journal reported that Garnati told jurors they needed to understand “the culture of the black community here in Marion," and “In their mindset, the biggest sin that you could—that you can commit is to be a snitch in the community. The biggest sin that you could commit is to ever cooperate with the police on anything. It’s sin to even cooperate when one of your own people gets brutally gunned down and is left to bleed to death. And I am not saying that the whole black community is like that, ladies and gentlemen. There are some very good law-abiding citizens in that community here in Marion. But the evidence has shown that again, for whatever reasons, there is an intense dislike and even hatred for the police.”


On 17 September 2013 a reader comment posted on the St Louis Post-Dispatch website by Lewis Gainor of Chicago read:

“Coincidence: 226 years ago our Constitution was signed into law. The Founding Fathers envisioned a nation based on liberty and due process of law.

To think that more than two centuries later, the government would use tactics like these to convict a person of a crime... This is exactly what the Founding Fathers anticipated and the reason they adopted the Bill of Rights.

The guilt of the accused is irrelevant at this stage. The issue is whether we condone a prosecutor seeking to deprive a person of his constitutionally-guaranteed liberty based on racist arguments.

It is a tragedy that this prosecutor will be deemed beyond reproach by the body that disciplines lawyers in Illinois (eg, ARDC). To think that a lawyer could steal $1 from a client and lose his law license, but a prosecutor could knowingly seek to imprison a defendant through hate speech without punishment is a travesty.

There aren't enough words to condemn the conduct of the prosecutor in this case.


On 4 December 2013 the Chicago Tribune reported:

The state agency that disciplines lawyers has accused a longtime state's attorney in a southern Illinois county of unprofessional conduct, saying his use of racially charged language at a murder trial "served no purpose other than to appeal to racial prejudice."

In making its complaint public Wednesday, the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission said Williamson County State's Attorney Charles Garnati violated four rules of professional conduct. His behavior during a July 2011 murder trial "tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or legal profession into disrepute," the commission concluded.


WSILTV quoted appeal attorney Steve Greenberg as saying (about Garnati): This was the most blatant appeal to prejudice I've ever seen,……….The man should never, ever practice law again, in my opinion,…..The fact that he is the state's attorney of a county and making charging decisions that affect people's lives, and he has these views makes him unfit for the position."


On 5 December 2013 This Week in Blackness (TWIB) accused Garnati of saying or inferring: “but “most” Black folks are so mistrusting of the police that they are willing to lie to protect a fellow Black person charged with a crime”


On 10 December 2013 The Open File (a website devoted to prosecutorial misconduct & accountability) said:

“Garnati told the jury that people in the black community were distrustful of police and discouraged one another from working with law enforcement to solve crimes. He contrasted what he called this “mindset” in the black community with the “law-abiding” predisposition of people in the “white world””

  News Media Links here  
  Appeal Court Findings here (PDF)  

Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) Complaint Documents here



If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, S African opponent of apartheid


Marion, Illinois - Chuck Garnati's "White World" Looks Very Green from Space



Ku Klux Klan (KKK) - Does the 'Hooded Order' still exist ?

Apparently yes - Wikipedia claims 8,000 members as of 2012




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