CHICAGO (CBS) -- Lake County prosecutors have begun reviewing all cases linked to Fox Lake Police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, in the wake of revelations he was embezzling funds from the department's Explorer's program before killing himself.
Lake County State's Attorney Mike Nerheim Nerheim has identified 13 convictions since 2008 in which Gliniewicz had been mentioned in police reports. He said the review is a precautionary measure in light of the taint now associated with the once-celebrated cop known as G.I. Joe.
Kent College Law professor Richard Kling said the defendants in those cases might have a new argument their convictions should be overturned. He said whether Gliniewicz's involvement in a particular case warrants an appeal depends on the circumstances.
"His name will be no basis for an appeal. How instrumental he was in terms of the crime scene, and investigation, and whether he was in charge of the crime scene investigation, that becomes more problematic. I certainly, if I were a defense lawyer in one of those cases, would be in court asking for a total review," he said.
Kling said given what's been revealed about Gliniewicz's skill at staging a crime scene, his role in any investigation – if significant – might be grounds for reversal. Authorities have said Gliniewicz killed himself two months ago, and staged the scene to look like a murder.
Meantime, the mayor of Fox Lake held a special meeting Tuesday night, where he first addressed what he called a controversy over his recent attendance of a Bears game in San Diego. It was controversial only because he went to the game with the village's embattled former police chief, Michael Behan.
It was Behan who promoted Gliniewicz to lieutenant, and resigned just before Gliniewicz's suicide.
The man whose job it is to clean up the department lashed out at Behan and others for not firing Gliniewicz earlier, even though his employee file was filled with red flags.
"Joe Gliniewicz is an individual that never should have been on this police department. He should have been gone a long time ago. Obviously, much of the information that did come out relative to his personnel file, I wasn't aware that until it had come out. But he's clearly and individual that they should have gotten rid of a long time ago." said interim Fox Lake Police Chief Michael Keller, who was brought in from the Lake County Sheriff's office to clean up the mess in the Fox Lake Police Department four days after Gliniewicz killed himself.
Instead of being fired, Gliniewicz was kept on the force, and promoted to the rank of lieutenant, despite a checkered employment history that included sexual harassment, inappropriate relationships, and seven years of theft from the village's Youth Explorer program.
Village Administrator Anne Marin was the one who checked into the village Youth Explorer accounts managed by Gliniewicz, and spotted financial irregularities, showing Gliniewicz had been looting funds for seven years.
Police have said Gliniewicz might have wanted Marrin dead, and even tried to find a hitman to kill her, fearing she would expose him as a thief.
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