Cameras roll during IL Supreme Court hearing in deadly E2 nightclub case

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Chicago attorneys went before the Illinois Supreme Court Wednesday in the case of a deadly nightclub stampede. And history was made as WGN broadcast the first Supreme Court case live on and our sister station CLTV.

At issue, the City of Chicago is asking the high court to vacate the appellate court decision against E2 nightclub owners Calvin Hollins and Dwain Kyles, reinstating their criminal contempt convictions.

The case all boils down to language. Appellate Court justices reversed the criminal contempt conviction in 2011, saying the language in a court order regarding building safety prior to the 2003 tragedy was ambiguous.

In 2002, a Cook County Circuit Judge issued a mandatory order to E2 saying it cannot occupy the 2nd floor. The building E2 operated in included a restaurant on the first floor, a night club on the second and a VIP area above that. A three judge appellate panel determined the circuit judge needed to be more specific and include the words not to occupy the second floor “of the building” or “of the nightclub.”

The city argued Wednesday that the order was never ambiguous, the operators never asked for clarification and no portion of the building was shut down as it should have been on the night 21 people died in the stampede.

The defendants, Kyles and Hollins, were in court for the proceedings Wednesday but would not speak to WGN afterwards as instructed by their attorneys.

It will be weeks to several months before the Supreme Court makes its decision and could send the case back to the appellate court for review.

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  • Howard Ray

    If the Illinois Supreme Court has interest in this case, then well and good. It would be fair if the court would have an interest in the entire case, not just this portion of it. Here the court is only reviewing what the city attorneys are considering to be criminal contempt charges against the owners. Where are the contempt charges against the Chicago Building Department personnel, for not enforcing the building code violations and closing the building down. Why didn't Cook County State's, Attorney Anita Alverez investigate that issue? The actions of the first responders should have and still should be investigated for failing to follow emergency protocol on the night of the catastrophe. Who could I get to take those questions to Illinois Supreme Court? Cook County State's Attorney, Anita Alverez?
    The Illinois Supreme Court should know, it should all be about fairness and a level playing field when it comes to the distribution of law among the American people. No one should be held above the law. Any statute that put any person above the law, is a flawed statute.