Judge Douglas Ruling Raises
Questions of Judicial Fairness
IPSN Sept. 22, 1997
Did Cook County justice go awry in the 1992 conviction of Larry Foley? And, what role
did convicted Judge Paul Foxgrover play in the events that led to the ruling by his close
friend, Judge Loretta C. Douglas?
If Larry Foleys troubles had occurred anywhere else but in Chicagos elite
and politically clouted Beverly Hills community, you might believe that what happened to
him was all his fault.
Foley, a former high school wrestler who always seemed to get into fights helping his
friends, apparently found himself embroiled with the wrong guy.
Today, Foley is serving a six year sentence on an Attempted First Degree Murder conviction
that the facts in the case just dont seem to prove.
The smell from the criminal case is so strong, any reasonable person might conclude that
Judge Loretta C. Douglas verdict convicting Foley is ludicrous. The sentence was
excessive and unjustified. And, one might also wonder if Judge Douglas role could
have challenged her competency to continue to serve on the bench.
Political clout and friendships and behind-the-scenes maneuvers pervade this case and
overshadow other evidence that Judge Douglas refused to consider.
One fact remains that might cast a serious cloud on this case. Judge Douglas is a very
close and personal friend of former Judge Paul Foxgrover, who was
convicted in the post-Greylord investigations for stealing money paid by defendants
brought before his bench.
But, Judge Foxgrover is also a close neighbor, colleague and friend of the plaintiff,
Steven Maxwell, who brought the charges in this case against Larry Foley.
The Details of the Case:
Maxwell is a Chicago fireman whose brother is a Chicago cop and whose father taught at the
police academy. The Maxwells have friends. And their friends include many judges and
politicians. Foxgrover is a former member of the Chicago Fire Department.
Foleys friends include his stepfather, who is a retired Evergreen Park police
officer and his mother, who is on a mission to prove that her son was railroaded by an
It seems that several years ago, Foley had gotten into a high school fight with some
relatives of Maxwell.
The two young men knew each other. The two men and their families had some history
involving allegations of intimidation and harassment. Foley and Maxwells sister had
several confrontations. Maxwells sister was close friends with a powerful Evergreen
Park Police sergeant who had also hassled Foley in the past.
But on Feb. 10, 1990, events changed and the conflict went from one of two teenagers with
a longtime running feud to felony charges and suggestions that the judge in the case might
have had a conflict of interest.
On the evening of Feb. 10, 1990, at around 11:25 pm, according to Maxwells
testimony, he was looking out his front window when he saw Foley and a friend, Daniel
Faddah, drive slowly past his parked car in front of his home at 10054 S. Campbell. The
car drove by a second time. After the second pass, Maxwell asserted in his preliminary
testimony, he ran outside to see if Foley or Faddah had damaged his car, a black Trans Am.
There was no damage, but Maxwell, who said he could see Foleys face in the car 35
feet away from his frontroom window, claimed he was standing next to his car when Foley
and Faddah drove their red Escort past a third time, at a speed of about 25 miles per
According to Maxwell, Foley swung his car sideways as he passed in the narrow side street,
striking Maxwell and throwing him against the Foleys cars windshield. Foley,
according to Maxwell, continued driving after Maxwell landed on the front hood, until, a
few minutes later, Foleys car turned and Maxwell was tossed from the car into the
There were cars parked on both sides of the narrow street where Maxwell alleged the
attempted murder occurred, and the speed limit there was only 30 miles per
That was Maxwells preliminary testimony, according to records.
At the trial, however, Maxwells testimony changed. He said he was watching a video,
had noticed a car drive by, but had walked outside not to check his car for damage but
innocently to put the video in his car trunk. That is what, Maxwell later asserted, that
Foley just surprised him and used his car as a deadly weapon to strike him so hard he went
flying on the hood and windshield but not hard enough to strike the cars parked on
narrow Campbell street.
Boy, that Foley must be a race car driver to surgically single out Maxwell, strike him
going a ferocious 25 to 30 miles and hour (the speed limit) and steer his car so perfectly
that it wouldnt strike another car parked on either side on the narrow street. (Too
bad Foley wasnt driving for Princess Di. Of course, thats another Fairy Tale.)
Maxwell called Chicago Police and claimed that he had been injured in the attack by Foley.
Foley has a different story. But today, he is serving hard time at prison down in
Galesburg, a medium/maximum facility prison, finishing the first year of a six year
According to Foley, Maxwell came to his house in Evergreen Park at 10059 S. Sawyer.
Foley charges Maxwell jumped on to his car as he was parking it in front of his house.
That, Foley claims, is how Maxwell was injured. He says Maxwell began beating the
windshield with a metal object.
Foley said he had a witness with him, the same person Maxwell had claimed was the second
unidentified passenger in Foleys car.
Maxwell, Foley claimed, then sped off in his black Trans Am, wheels screeching.
Foleys mother called Evergreen Park Police after making a frantic call to her
brother. The Evergreen Park police arrived at 11:40 PM. Maxwell had called Chicago Police.
Maxwells family includes longtime Chicago cops, and he clearly had the advantage
when Chicago Police went to Foleys Evergreen Park home seeking his arrest. They were
not interested in speaking with the Evergreen Park police who were also investigating.
After an investigation by the Chicago Police, the Cook County States Attorneys
office approved felony charges of Attempted First Degree Murder against Foley.
Foley hired attorney Robert J. Clifford, and Maxwell was represented by assistant Cook
County States Attorney Joel Leighton.
During the investigation, Faddah, who was a witness for Foley, charged that he was being
intimidated and harassed by Maxwell.
The case was originally brought before Judge Frank Meekins in Bridgeview. Meekins was
later reassigned to Markham and he was replaced by Judge Loretta C. Douglas.
At first, Douglas was fair to both sides. But later, as the case went on, Douglas had
become reticent, and she began to reject many motions Foleys attorney Robert
Clifford had made, including that Maxwell was intimidating Faddah, a key witness who
disputed Maxwells story. Faddah claimed that Maxwell threatened to beat him up if he
testified on behalf of Foley. (Had it been a state witness threatened by a defense
witness, an immediate arrest warrant would have been issued and the state more than likely
would have sought prosecution.)
The entire case presented by Leighten was based on Maxwells testimony, and weak
evidence placing the incident at Campbell Street, Maxwells home, instead of at
Foleys home in Evergreen Park, more than 8 blocks away.
The only evidence Judge Douglas considered was that Maxwells knees were injured and
he had a bruised rear-end.(Maxwell had previously had meniscus cartilage surgery on the
same knees. The judge refused to consider that evidence in the case. How much pressure
would it take to re-injure those knees?) Judge Douglas also had Maxwells testimony.
Foleys attorney never denied that Maxwell had sustained some injuries in the
confrontation. Foley claims they occurred as Maxwell jumped on his moving car as he was
parking. But the real issue is, where did it all happen?
Despite all of Foleys witnesses, Douglas chose to believe the sole testimony of
Maxwell that it occurred in front of Maxwells home and not in front of Foleys
Douglas also refused to allow Attorney Clifford to introduce abundant evidence of past
violent acts by Maxwell against Foley and Foleys family. The kids and members of the
family had bad blood, which could bolster Foleys case that Maxwell had a motive to
attack him. Douglas ruled the evidence of a past feud was irrelevant. Repeated incidents
where Maxwell allegedly harassed Foley and his family, driving by the home, sitting in
front of Foleys home in the car, were all cast aside by Judge Douglas as
Oh really, Judge?
The Bottom Line:
No one is saying that someone got to Judge Loretta C. Douglas.
But, if you wanted to, Judge Paul Foxgrover would have been the man to go see.
Foxgrover lived at 10501 Talman, which was separated from Maxwells home by the large
park where Maxwell alleged he had been left by the fleeing Foley and his friend, Faddah.
You can see Foxgrovers home from Maxwells, across the park.
According to at least one judge, Maxwell made feverish efforts to influence the case on
his behalf. And Foleys attorney believes at least one contact with a judge at
Bridgeview had been made.
Other witnesses had seen Maxwell visiting the Foxgrover home nearby.
The fact is, though, that it doesnt matter whether or not influence was or was not
It doesnt matter whether the outcome of the case had anything directly to do with
Maxwells politically connected ties to Foxgrover or to other politicians or even
through the Chicago Police Department, the Evergreen Park Police Department or through the
Cook County States Attorneys office.
What matters is that the potential for wrongdoing existed.
And what really matters even more is that somehow, Foxgrover, a convicted felon himself
who was sentenced to jail for betraying the public trust by stealing money from defendants
brought before his bench, had the opportunity to influence a judge who everyone says was
his very close friend.
Who is Judge Foxgrover?
Foxgrover was charged in the post-Greylord case at about the same time the Foley case was
going to trial in 1992. Appointed an associate judge in 1984, Foxgrover did not resign his
post until June 17, 1992.
Evidence presented in the post-Greylord case showed that Foxgrover had deposited some
$50,000 in money orders in his personal bank account between January 1990 and July 1991,
money orders made out to the judge by defendants who appeared before his court.
What an idiot!
But, would it be beyond a judge like Foxgrover to try and use his friendship to influence
another judge to help his neighbor, friend and Chicago Fire Department colleague?
Foxgrover, convicted on rock solid evidence that went beyond a shadow of a doubt, was
sentenced to six years in prison for theft, official misconduct and forgery. It was like a
countryclub for the esteemed Cook County Judge.
Larry Foley, on the otherhand, whose confrontation with Steven Maxwell is questionable and
the evidence is certainly weak at best, entered Galesburg Medium/Maximum Security prison
on Sept. 20, 1996 to serve hard time.
Just this month, Foley finished the first year of his six year term. With good behavior,
Foley can be released after only serving two more years behind bars, and would serve the
remaining three years of his sentence in mandatory supervised probation.
No evidence of glass was found at Maxwells house from Foleys cars
No evidence of glass was found from Foleys cars windshield in Maxwells
clothes Maxwell said the windshield shattered when his body hit it! Leighton noted
that Maxwells nylon jacket had some snags and a gash that did not
correspond to any bodily injury.
Minute paint chips matching Foleys car were found on Maxwells. But that could
just as easily strengthen Foleys case that Maxwell may have jumped on the car.
(Clifford says Maxwell is a karate afficionado.)
No witnesses saw this so-called attempted drive by murder. (Mrs. Maxwell
called 911 and said she had not seen anything, but later told Chicago Police at the scene
that she witnessed the alleged hit and run.)
If Foley had really swerved his car to strike Maxwell on that crowded Campbell Street, why
wasnt there any damage to Maxwells black Trans Am?
Larry Foley wasnt even guilty of speeding. Before the incident, he had spent the
entire day helping his former high school coaches at a wrestling match and had just
Judge Douglas did not return telephone messages left with her court clerk aide from the Illinois
Police and Sheriffs News.
The thought that Foxgrover may or may not have been involved should be enough to convince
Governor Jim Edgar to re-examine this case. The Governor can determine if justice should
finally prevail and a man, who is more than likely innocent of these charges, should be
Then, someone might want to take another look at the Cook County Judicial System.
Just make sure you wear a gas mask when you do.
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