Independent Experts Becoming a Danger to State Narratives


08.13.2017 by 51kikey

Backstories can help or hinder in varying ways. In relation to law and legal cases they become integral to the main story. Whether they are pertinent can often take time to materialize. Regardless they fill spaces created by the inevitable wait for progress and updates for appeals regarding possible wrongful convictions.

Melissa Calusinski’s case is just one of the unthinkable amounts of cases waiting on such an appeal. In Melissa’s case we wait upon the decision to hear Oral Arguments. This decision itself falls on that of Judge Daniel Shanes. Since attorney Kathleen Zellner’s request for Oral Arguments back in May of this year, a simmering backstory has developed involving ex-coroner of Lake County Thomas Rudd. Rudd served as Lake County coroner from 2012 and was seeking re-election for another term when documentation relating to the election was questioned. Rudd is accused of falsely witnessing nomination petition signatures in five cases back in 2016. Rudd withdrew his nomination from the election and cited possible clerical errors for the accusations against him. More pertinently Rudd also cited a  “a political witch hunt.” as the underlying current from which said accusations arose.

All involved and concerned with Melissa’s case well know of Rudd’s opinions as to her trial. When clarity involving Benjamin Kingan’s x-rays became available, Rudd championed the opinion of many, that ‘facts’ testified as to by State witnesses were in fact incorrect pertaining to the alleged skull fracture Kingan received due to the actions of Calusinski. These opinions have been well documented through both media outlets and legal appeals, some of which are listed below. Please read these. They are important in gaining a timeline for events unfolding. Whether it be Lake County Illinois, Manitowoc Wisconsin, or Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to name but a few, the inevitable time spent by the public waiting for developments in cases can be months or even years.

Donnelly says no need for special prosecutor

Rudd special prosecutor Towne indicted

2 Investigators: Dr. Rudd’s Surprising Legal Ally

Ex-coroner’s attorneys again file motion to dismiss election-related perjury charges

Is it a surprise to the reader that questions should be raised as to the discretion of experts offering their opinions on cases that oppose those of the State? Beyond Rudd’s troubles the focus must be on that of examples inevitably ahead. With regards to Thomas Rudd it is clear that the roots of his conviction are contaminated partly to do with his connections to Calusinski. The ex-County Coroner of Lake County was becoming a thorn in the State’s side.

Retiring at 60, Rudd did so to look after his terminally ill mother for the final 4 years of her life. During this period he saw problems with the present coroner at the time and then in turn with law enforcement in Lake County. Rudd decided to apply for the County Coroners position but to no avail. Disturbingly, the qualifications required to be a coroner are merely that of a high school education and a lack of felony charges against the applicant. Misdemeanours are not an issue however, only felonies. The charges against Rudd become less and less surprising. The reasoning behind the low level of qualifications needed to apply for the position can be partially explained by the sparsity of qualified people in the US. Ideally each County would wish to have a forensic pathologist as their coroner but with only approximately 500 available this becomes impossible. The United States has close to 2000 counties harboured within its 50 States and the numbers just do not work. Granted, many of the counties populations might not possibly warrant a forensic pathologist as to the amount of work generated. Still, many counties certainly do. Even if one cannot be assigned however, higher qualifications than that are presently required is surely a must?

Rudd applied once more and was this time successful. His term as County Coroner ran between 2012 to 2016 and as an elected official his tenure was protected via an open ended contract. Again, a felony conviction would be the only way to have him removed from office. So we arrive at Rudd turning himself in on 5 felony perjury charges in February of 2017. Those charges relating to his re-election campaign for Lake County Coroner.

Former Lake County coroner turns himself in on perjury charges

There has been a certain degree of dumbing down relating to this turn of events. With hints in the media that Rudd’s indictment on perjury charges could be politically motivated? Well here we do not see it that way. Rudd is clearly too outspoken but more importantly over qualified and at the same time not willing to tow the line and back up the stories that Lake County officials wish to spin. Thomas Rudd is being railroaded and it is as clear as the light of day.

The case of Trayvon Martin from Sanford, Florida who was fatally shot by George Zimmermann in 2012 centred around testimony given by Dr Shipping Bao. Bao’s position was that Martin had been held down by Zimmermann and during a one sided altercation had been shot in the heart. However, the ‘story’ that even the prosecution wanted to be heard was not that. Bao was only asked certain questions and legally one can only answer those questions given. What was Bao to do? Bao wanted the court to know his expert opinion. Clearly the State did not. Shipping Bao was fired after not giving the testimony that was required. His opinion was not what was wanted and as he did not have an open-ended contract, his tenure was terminated. Bao stood up for what was right. He told the truth and was duly fired. Rudd has ended up in a familiar position. The only difference being that the powers that be had to create a jumped up felony charge to remove him.

So, what can we do? Speaking to a very intelligent, switched on friend of mine over the past week they explained to me that up until the last couple of years they were unaware of the levels of corruption that affect each and every State of the US. Not until actually researching one case followed by another and so forth did she realise the extent of what was occurring. It’s all too easy to just accept what is put in front of you. Whether that be media controlled news stories or political debates and speeches etc you should question them and do your own research. By all means question this article too. We want you to. Find out for yourself. Educating oneself is detrimental and reading only from one source can only lead to bias and an opinion not formulated by the reader but dictated to by the writer. It’s not enough to look back in retrospect and say ‘Hell, it was patently obvious Rudd was targeted as an expose of Calusinski’s innocence.’ or ‘Dassey was clearly a tool to cement Avery’s conviction.’, even ‘Let Holtzclaw take a much needed fall for accused law enforcement corruption.’. The truth being that whilst awareness and involvement in corruption becomes more apparent so does the reaction to that. There is a reason software companies always wish to employ hackers. They are one step ahead of the game. We, as a concerned public must do the same.

There is a possibility of Melissa Calusinski becoming her own back-story. The charges against Rudd threaten to muddy the waters even further in regards to her wrongful conviction and ongoing case. Professionals such as Rudd need protection. Stories such as his are manufactured to ward off independent thinking experts who are capable of making correct judgements that are not politically motivated.

We need to do whatever we can to help protect these invaluable professionals.

More on the Melissa Calusinski case in the weeks and months to come.

Be The Rain will be following this case closely and will keep you informed as the process plays out in Lake County, Illinois.

48 HRs: The Fight For Melissa



  • mm
    James Didcock


    Writer at Non profit organisation detailing Justice Reform and Environmental Issues. Get involved and make a difference.

  • Show Comments (1)

  • JJacks

    Great article. It’s obvious they are going after Dr. Rudd because he won’t just “go along to get along”. He did the right thing after the clerical error was discovered. No crime was committed by him.

    But I fear those going after him have no such qualms. All one has to do is read Zellner’s brief on this case to see that.

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