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On January 25, 1990, I stood in a Cook County Circuit Court and accused the presiding judge, the Honorable Thomas J. Maloney, of extortion. I was filing a final amended post-conviction petition on behalf of Dino Titone. Titone had been convicted and sentenced to death in bench trials by Judge Maloney for participating in the murders of Aldo Fratto and Tullio Infelise. My post-conviction petition alleged that Titone's own lawyer had solicited money from Titone on behalf of Judge Maloney, and that Titone with the help of his father had ultimately paid Judge Maloney $10,000. The petition alleged that after Judge Maloney received the money, an FBI investigation of judicial corruption in Cook County—code name "Operation Greylord"—became public and that Judge Maloney convicted and sentenced Titone to death in order to cover up Maloney's felonious conduct.

Accusing a sitting judge frightened me. And I brought my own counsel, Tom Geraghty, in case Judge Maloney held me in contempt. When he read the allegations, Maloney went ballistic. He forced me to answer a series of personal questions regarding my age and place of birth.

The case was ultimately transferred to another Circuit Court judge who vacated Titone's death sentence but refused to grant Titone an evidentiary hearing to establish his claim of judicial corruption. I unsuccessfully appealed the latter ruling to the lllinois Supreme Court—which brings me to the subject of this essay.

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