Failed Prosecution in Fatal DWI Case Leads to Disciplinary Action


A Cook County assistant state’s attorney resigned and a second assistant was reassigned after an internal review showed they did not perform “up to professional standards” when they failed to get a conviction in a drunken-driving case that left a Chicago-area teacher dead, an office spokesman told the Chicago Tribune. Ann Monaco, 57, was struck from behind while jogging in Oak Park in July 2002. Police arrested Edgar Torres, now 30, at the scene and charged him with reckless homicide and aggravated drunken driving. Police said he had a blood-alcohol level that was three times the legal limit.

After a three-day bench trial in June, Torres was acquitted after prosecutors failed to convince the judge that Torres had been driving the van rather than his cousin Miguel Zamarron, allegedly a passenger in the vehicle and the prosecution’s lead witness. Friends of Monaco, many of whom had attended nearly every hearing, were shocked at the trial’s outcome. One of them, a criminal justice professor, wrote a letter to the Cook County state’s attorney complaining that lead prosecutor Jack Wilk and his assistant, Jamie Santini, bungled the case by failing to call some witnesses, failing to reinforce physical evidence with expert testimony, and failing to prepare witnesses for the case. After an internal investigation, Wilk resigned and Santini was reassigned.


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