For Speaker Michael Madigan, Court of Public Opinion Wields the Gavel

The Illinois House Speaker has not been charged with a crime, and if that ever were to happen, he would be entitled to a presumption of innocence. The court of public opinion is a different story.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (Bloomberg via Getty Images)

BGA President David Greising writes every other week for the Chicago Tribune Opinion section.

Public Official A has not been charged with a crime, and if that ever were to happen, he would be entitled to a presumption of innocence. He would have his day in court.

The court of public opinion is a different story. The judges and juries of the people’s tribunal render verdicts in split seconds. They require little evidence or deliberation.

Then there are the corridors of power — Public Official A’s home base. The accumulation and exercise of power has defined him for decades. And the fact that his power is at risk could be as terrifying to him as anything else.

Let the record show that Public Official A is the speaker of the Illinois House, Michael J. Madigan. U.S. Attorney John Lausch identified him by occupation in the charging documents involving Commonwealth Edison last month.

Read more at chicagotribune.com.