You remember our good friend George Ryan who was convicted of multiple felonies committed while he was Governor and Secretary of State, including racketeering, conspiracy, mail fraud, making false statements to the FBI, and income tax violations. After the convictions, the state retirement board suspended his pension since under the Pension Code you don’t get benefits if you are “convicted of any felony relating to or arising out of or in connection with” your service.

So George took the case all the way up to the Illinois Supreme Court, arguing yeah, OK, fine, I don’t get pension for the time when I was governor and secretary of state but I wasn’t convicted for anything I did before I was Secretary of State, like since ’72 I was in the General Assembly or Lieutenant Gov. The Court said nice try, but under the plain language of the law since you committed a crime against the same employer, the state, you forfeit all your pension from the state, not just for the specific jobs during which you committed crimes. Makes sense, no?

The lone dissenter was Justice Anne Burke, the wife of powerful long-time Chicago alderman Ed Burke, who also happens to be chairman of the judicial slating committee for the Cook County Democratic Party. Justice Burke got her law degree in 1983 and in 1987 was somehow appointed by Governor Jim Thompson to be a judge. This is the same Jim Thompson that is George Ryan’s lawyer. Hmmmmmm, I wonder why she was the lone dissenter in this case. Entire opinion here.