Judge rejects access to Laquan McDonald’s juvenile records again

(CHICAGO) Lawyers for Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke will not be able to access Laquan McDonald’s juvenile court records, a Cook County judge ruled on Wednesday for the second time, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

In August, Patricia Martin, the presiding judge of the child protection division of the Juvenile Court, denied the request from defense attorneys, who had argued that they needed to review McDonald’s file to prepare for trial.

Some members of Van Dyke’s defense team appeared before Martin again Wednesday to see if she changed her mind.

She didn’t.

Van Dyke is accused of shooting 17-year-old McDonald 16 times in October 2014.

Just last month, Van Dyke’s lawyers made a separate request to see McDonald’s private files to Judge Vincent Gaughan, who is presiding over the officer’s murder case.

While Gaughan asked the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to turn over 8,200 pages of McDonald’s juvenile court records, he said he will first analyze them himself to see if they are relevant for the officer’s trial.

Defense attorney Daniel Herbert, at the time, noted the “significant” amount of PCP in McDonald’s system and his “erratic behavior” before his death and said he needed to browse the records to see if the teenager had a medical condition or was on medication.

Gaughan has not yet announced his findings on whether any of the files are relevant for the defense.

Christopher Nelson, a spokesman for special prosecutor Kane County State’s Attorney Joseph McMahon, said he could not legally comment on Wednesday’s ruling since the matter was in juvenile court.

Defense attorneys don’t plan to appeal Martin’s decision, according to their spokeswoman Anne Kavanagh.

McDonald’s juvenile court records, usually confidential, were made public to the Chicago Sun-Times and other media outlets late last year after the graphic dashcam video of McDonald’s death in the 4100 block of South Pulaski was made public.

Abuse and neglect complaints began when McDonald was a toddler. He became a ward of the state at age 3, was in and out of foster care, and had a history of arrests for drugs and petty crimes, according to those records.

— Chicago Sun-Times