CHICAGO | A Cook County judge said Thursday she will give Lynwood Police and Fire Board officials one more chance to restore to the village payroll a police officer who lost his job last year.
The Police Board had dismissed Joe Marigliano for a December 2012 incident in which a criminal suspect being pursued by police was able to drive away in Marigliano's squad car. Judge Mary Mikva earlier this year ruled the Police Board’s punishment was too harsh.
Mikva on Thursday said she thought she was clear at that time Marigliano should be reinstated to the Police Department, which the Police Board has refused to do.
The judge issued a supplement to her ruling that says Marigliano’s “reinstatement is a necessity” for the village to be in compliance with the Cook County courts.
She also scheduled another hearing for Wednesday. At that time, attorneys for Marigliano say they will argue for fines against Police Board members for their actions, but Mikva said the whole thing could be “a moot point” if Marigliano is restored to the Police Department payroll by then.
Whether that will happen is questionable. Timothy Lapp, an attorney for the Police Board, has said village officials oppose restoring Marigliano because they filed a notice Thursday of intent to appeal Mikva’s ruling to the Illinois appellate court. They say if the appeals court ultimately overturns Mikva, then any time Marigliano serves this year would be wrong.
In fact, Lapp on Thursday argued that once Mikva issued her ruling in the case last month, she no longer has any jurisdiction over the matter, a claim Mikva herself strongly disagreed with.
“Are you really telling me that the Police Board can do nothing, and I can do nothing to respond?” Mikva asked of Lapp at one point during proceedings in her Daley Center courtroom.
“At this point, yes,” Lapp responded.
To which Mikva retorted, “That’s ridiculous!”
As for Marigliano’s attorney, Christopher Cooper, he said he believes the Police Board is following the lead of Village President Eugene Williams in strongly opposing Marigliano. Williams was not available Thursday to comment.
Cooper said the village needs to follow court orders, just like anyone else. In fact, he said Lynwood could put itself in compliance with Mikva’s order by returning Marigliano to the payroll, then suspending him with pay while the lawsuit is pending.
In such circumstances, Marigliano would not actually be on the streets as a working police officer.
“I’m not saying that’s what I want them to do to my client, but at least that would put them in compliance,” Cooper said. “The village isn’t even willing to do that.”