March 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
Nebraska high court again rules father’s consent necessary for adoption
For a second time, the Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that a father who was intentionally misled about the birth of his child can stop the baby’s adoption.
In a ruling Friday, the state’s high court said the consent of the father, listed in court documents as Jeremiah J., is required by state law for the child to be put up for adoption. Further, the high court said the child’s mother, identified as Dakota D., failed to prove Jeremiah met any of the exceptions for consent because she did not show he had abandoned her or the child or that he would be an unfit parent.
Jeremiah learned in June 2011 that Dakota, his ex-girlfriend, was pregnant. Five months later, he was contacted by an adoption agency caseworker who told him he had been identified as the baby’s father and that Dakota planned to put the baby, due Feb. 18, 2012, up for adoption, according to court documents. Jeremiah told the caseworker he did not want that, then tried many times to reach Dakota, but she did not return his calls, records say.
The child was born Feb. 9, but Jeremiah was not told of the birth. He contacted Dakota on Feb. 13, but she did not tell him the baby had been born. Jeremiah also repeatedly called the hospital and caseworker to try to learn of the birth, but they refused to tell him, citing privacy policies. The adoption was put on hold after Jeremiah filed his appeal.
Dakota later testified in court that she did not tell Jeremiah of the child’s birth because she did not want him to know about it during the five days he had to object to the adoption.
A Hall County court ruled in the mother’s favor, saying Jeremiah could have hired an attorney sooner, but the Nebraska Supreme Court reversed that ruling last year, noting the mother’s deception. The lower court then ruled in Jeremiah’s favor, and Dakota appealed, arguing he is not a fit parent because he has an unstable work history, has used drugs and has a criminal record, among other things.
She also argued that Jeremiah neglected the child after she was born, and did not provide financial support for her or the child.
But the state’s high court rejected those arguments Friday, saying Jeremiah’s criminal record consisted of misdemeanor convictions as a teen. The court also noted that Jeremiah has denied any drug use, and that he has a stable job paying more than $12 an hour.
“And in any event, low income or an unstable job history does not alone establish parental unfitness,” Nebraska Supreme Court Justice Michael McCormack wrote for the court.
The high court also rejected arguments that Jeremiah did not provide financial support.
“Dakota clearly does not want to have Jeremiah in the life of the child, and she chose to not provide Jeremiah with a fair opportunity to offer financial support,” McCormack wrote.
Jeremiah’s attorney, Mark Porto of Grand Island, said the next step will be to file a paternity action in an effort to establish custody and visitation issues.
“He’s thrilled that he’ll be able to be a part of his daughter’s life,” Porto said.
An attorney for Dakota did not immediately return a message left Friday.
Weller children file lawsuit against state DSHS look for scrib link great pleading to educate for future ….
March 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
Weller children file lawsuit against state DSHS
Attorney says agency was told of peril many times before acting
Buy this photoSandra and Jeffrey Weller enter Judge Barbara Johnson’s courtroom for sentencing in Clark County Superior Court March 20, 2013. The Wellers were convicted of imprisoning, starving and beating their adopted twins. Sandra received a sentence of 20 years, and Jeffrey received 21 years. (Steven Lane/The Columbian)
Five children who were abused by their parents in Vancouver have filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the state, alleging that the Department of Social and Health Services failed to adequately respond to dozens of complaints about their welfare over an eight-year period.
Jeffrey and Sandra Weller of Vancouver each were sentenced March 20, 2013, to two decades in prison for imprisoning, starving and beating their adopted twins. A Clark County jury found Sandra Weller guilty of nine separate counts related to the twins’ abuse; Jeffrey Weller was found guilty of 13, related to both the twins’ abuse and assaults against the couple’s biological children.
The children’s Seattle attorney, David Moody, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the children Friday in Clark Superior Court.
One of the children’s teachers alone warned the DSHS a dozen times about possible abuse of the children and urged that they be removed from the Weller home, Moody said.
“He has documents he kept,” Moody said Friday. “He has voice-mail messages. There are a number of educators from the local school district who voiced serious warnings to DSHS over a period of years.”
“Those concerns were ignored every time,” he said.
The lawsuit follows a $54 million tort claim the children filed Dec. 18 with the DSHS. Tort claims give public agencies a 60-day notice of a lawsuit and allows them an opportunity to settle a case before litigation.
In this case, the children received no response, Moody said.
John Wiley, a DSHS spokesman, said the agency often does respond to and resolve tort claims prior to litigation.
“However, this case is complex, involving numerous plaintiffs alleging negligence based on activities that occurred over a number of years. As such, it requires more than the statutory 60 days to analyze and investigate the merits of the plaintiffs’ claim,” Wiley said. “It would not be in the taxpayers’ best interest to quickly make a settlement offer on a $54 million claim without a reasonable and diligent investigation into that claim by the state.”
Wiley said the agency has no other comment on the lawsuit at this time.
“We’ll let the court decide the merits of the case,” he said. “We don’t comment on the merits of the case.”
The lawsuit also alleges that the DSHS failed to obtain Sandra Weller’s Child Protective Services history in California, where she adopted the twins with her ex-husband. There were seven referrals about Sandra Weller’s possibly abusing and neglecting the twins and some other foster children who were in her care between 1998 and 2002, the lawsuit states. At one point, the state of California revoked her foster care license and took the twins into protective custody, according to the lawsuit.
Some of the complaints that Washington caseworkers allegedly ignored included allegations of threats against one of the twins’ lives and withholding food as punishment, according to the lawsuit.
For example, in April 2004, the DSHS received a complaint that Sandra Weller had told the 8-year-old female twin that, “If I had a knife right now, you would be gone,” according to the lawsuit. A month later, the agency received another complaint that the twins were “so stressed they are literally pulling their hair out,” the lawsuit states.
In September 2004, there was a complaint that the Wellers locked food cabinets in the house and locked the children in their room, which had an alarm on the door, the lawsuit says.
DSHS social workers visited the Weller home in October 2004. On Nov. 1, 2004, the social worker concluded that the allegations of negligent treatment or maltreatment were “unfounded,” according to the lawsuit.
The DSHS finally removed the children from the Weller home Oct. 7, 2011, after one of the twins left a note about their abuse at her therapist’s office.
“Please, help,” the twin wrote. “Behind the laundry room door is a big wooden stick covered in blood. They use it on me and (my brother) … If you leave without us, we’ll all ran (sic) away.”
The twins were substantially underweight and malnourished when they were taken into state custody, according to testimony at the Wellers’ trial.
They also testified at trial that Jeffrey Weller, often at the instruction of Sandra, regularly beat them with a 42-inch-long piece of scrap lumber. Police investigators found it stained with blood.
Moody, the children’s attorney, specializes in civil litigation against the DSHS related to the abuse of children or vulnerable adults. He said he won the largest jury verdict award against the DSHS — $17.8 million — in February 2000 in a vulnerable adult abuse case in Pierce County in which he demonstrated that the DSHS was negligent by inadequately investigating abuse allegations.
March 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
Copyright, Child Custody and Cocaine in the County Courts
June 11, 2013 § Leave a comment
Copyright, Child Custody and Cocaine in the County Courts
Once upon a time there was The Steele Law Firm LLC, IL SOS records show it was formed by a 2006 University of Minnesota Law school graduate, John Lawrence Steele Jr. Esq. Billed as a family law firm in 2008 -2011, the Chicago, IL practice, the Steele Law Firm LLC was fighting custody battles and purported pornography pirates. Yes, budding family law attorney, John Steele was devoted to saving children and the tranny porn industry! He started filing suits against 1000′s of John Does, dubbed himself the “pirate slayer” and set out to make cool millions! Despite John Steele having a fine ring to it for a porn name, perhaps the Steele Law Firm wasn’t catchy enough for copyright trolling; seems Steele decided to try on some other names: Media Copyright Group, Steele Hansmeier, Prenda, Anti-Piracy Law Group and the Chicago Family Law Group LLC. Maybe it still wasn’t quite the right fit because in a rather complex web of “stories”, Steele claims to have retired, sold his family law firm to Peter R. Olson of the Peter Olson Law Firm and blogger extraordinaire Solo in Chicago.
Craigslist, where the finest lawyers come to but and sell law firms!
Now, according to a Solo in Chicago blog post by Glenview, IL native and Domestic Relations attorney, Peter R. Olson Esq. – in October 2008 he was checking out Craigslist, looking for God knows what; and he found a law firm for sale. By golly, it just happened to belong to his buddy, John the Pirate Slayer Steele! Despite the fact that Peter Olson had his own law firm and his Des Plaines condo was being foreclosed on and he was being sued by multiple creditors the purchase of a family law firm associated with pornography must have struck him as a solid investment.
No offense to Craigslist! Craigslist is great! Everyone knows that you can get some wonderful and affordable items on Craigslist: intimate encounters, a dorm fridge, slightly used slipcovers, re-homed lawn gnome, law firms – you know, really important stuff! A quick look at the Cook County docket shows that Mr. Steele seems to have dropped all but one or two of his special family clients in the summer / fall of 2011. But who needs clients when you’ve got a *found it on Craigslist* law firm to control! There is still no clarity about who actually owns the Steele Law Firm turned Chicago Family Law Group. Court documents show over a year of changing names, attorney, and firms numbers and stories with no end or truth in sight. Surely, NO ONE has ANY suspicion that they are laundering copyright money through that family law firm. No, doubt the Criminal Investigations Unit of the IRS won’t have any questions about Steele or Olson’s explanation about THAT firm. <cough*cough> Especially after that deposition about not paying any taxes! Nevis? St. Kitts? Offshore accounts? Trusts? Really? Come on guys who owns the CFLG?
So what happens when lawyers go rogue?
Despite Steele’s claims of retirement and the Prenda was solely owned by attorney, Paul A Duffy, Steele seemed to be popping up all over the country at all sorts of court dates. As Steele showed up in court room after court room, some other things seemed to follow. Yes, it was an outcry from many of extortion, lies, belligerent pleadings, threats in the hallway, improper service, questionable rulings in questionable places, and altered states. Claims of identity theft, forgeries, and out and out lies. It seems everyone affiliated with Steele stands accused of being involved with fraud. In time it seems most of the country caught on to the tricks and were no longer going to be fooled by troll games. On May 6th 2013, the Honorable Otis D Wright II issued an order for sanctions against Steele and some his minions in the form of 81k, a referral to the IRS criminal investigations unit and United States Attorney Office and the state and federal bar associations. Further, Judge Wright used words like “moral turpitude” as he described Steele, his minions and their business model. Still Cook County and St. Claire County seemed to be very willing to indulge the same behaviors that other federal court judges felt to be possibly criminal in nature. Oh the men of Prenda fought hard to sue the internet or anyone that dared to speak out about their experiences with Prenda or Steele and they fought to do it in St. Claire County. Gosh, hate much?
Rut-Ro-Raggy! The Feds want to talk to ya!
But it seems that there is a little problem, the Feds are in St. Clair County. Moreover, it seems that a buddy of Steele, James Fogarty was dealing some coke to some judges, Cook and Christ. Christ died of an overdose of cocaine allegedly provided to him by Fogarty. It looks that the drugs and mess don’t begin or end there or with those three people or that court system.
Bloomberg News and fightcopyrighttrolls.com both touched on the Steele – Forgarty connection or at least what they knew about at the time. But is there more to that story? Read the news of the impact that cocaine had in the St. Clair court cases, is it any different in Will County or Cook County?
There were a lot of questionable rulings and the cocaine / dealer connection now explains much of how those rulings came to be in St. Clair Co. but what about the other counties?
Great! We’ve got judges on drugs making rulings for their dealer and Steele is sending dealers to do his dirty work.
How can the average litigant stand a chance of receiving any sort of justice when they are up against attorneys that are allowed to practice despite the overwhelming evidence of their abuse and misuse of the legal process. Seriously, what sort of world do we live in where it’s okay for a lawyer to send a drug dealer to someones home to “serve them” legal papers. Papers which are now really under-fire because a tsunami of evidence has surfaced to show that the “pirate slayer” is really the honeypot pusher. Could it get anymore disgusting?
How can anyone get a shot at justice when the judge is indebted to their dealer; to keep them supplied with cocaine and heroine and to keep their drug problem a secret? It’s an environment where blackmail and extortion flourish and the innocent suffer the worst consequences. St. Clair news has already reported on how rulings were made in favor of the dealer. If you look at Cook County and Will County, is any different? When judges and lawyers get caught up in child porn, trafficking, drugs and dirty money – it’s clear that rulings are made based on vices, not the law.
What about the children in family court? Is this why so many rulings appear to defy both man and God’s law? If it’s not because of a vice, why are so many people crying out with nearly identical stories about their children being sent to live with their abuser? How does the court justify cutting off all contact with the protective parent? Now that the court has embarrassed “Parental Alienation”, how come they always seem to accuse the non-alienating parent of alienation? What is seen frequently is that the alienating parent pretends to be the “friendly parent” and accuses the other parent of PAS. The court then places the child with the REAL PA parent on the grounds that that parent will foster a relationship with the child and the other parent and then the REAL PA parent joins the court in cutting off all contact with the other parent akin to a termination of parental rights. Why isn’t THAT parental alienation? Why are children so frequently turned over to abusers despite the overwhelming evidence? There are cases where the parent is clearly involved in drugs, child pornography, sexual abuse, and other harmful behaviors and the judges punish the parent that offers the court proof. It almost seems like the more evidence the protective parent has, the worse the ruling. The parents with no evidence of abuse and false allegations win. The parents with pictures of the other parent watching child porn on the computer and witnesses of physical abuse lose. Good parents are disposable. Unlike coke and porn, good people and good parents just don’t seem to have much value anymore.
Looking at the fall out in St. Clair, the news lists some rulings that were not made because of the law or the merits of the case, the rulings were made based on vices and personal issues. This has to be eradicated. The very purpose of the legal system is to enforce the law for the betterment of society. When lawyers are allowed to use forged documents, extortion and break the law – justice is denied. Evil prevails. When judges are beholden to their dealers, the law becomes useless. The best pleading or the most skilled lawyer won’t help the case, because it’s decided on a drug deal, not the law. We might as just cancel court and send the judges home, because noting good comes of this situation.
It’s great that the FBI is investigating St. Clair, but they need to come take a look at why Judge Pornlito was allowed to sit on the bench in Will County watching porn on the county computer on the tax payer dollars while making decisions about the futures of children and families. They need to look at why the Cook County Judge(s) in the Lucy Vega case doesn’t want to see the evidence of the father allegedly watching child porn. They need to look at why so many complaints about Due Process and abusive and erratic behavior are posted on the Robing Room about Judge Raul Vega in room 3001 at the Daley Center. They need to look at why Child Representative Jerry S. Goldberg used someone with a history of domestic violence to provide “professional supervision” between alleged abusers and their children. How about the DOJ coming in to take a look at the blatant ADA violations?
It wouldn’t take a big fancy sting. It just takes sitting in a few court rooms for a few days and taking a look at the records. (The complete record)
A check on the ARDC web site shows that John Steele, Peter Olson, and Paul Duffy are still free to practice law today. The judges of Will and Cook County go unchecked.
WHERE ARE THE CHARGES?
We need more Judge Wright’s – to judge right. We need eyes on the court and people to speak out about it and not shut up until the problems are fixed. We need the FBI to look at the similarities in judgments in Will, Cook and St. Clair Co. – maybe that won’t be the only similarity they find. The common threads might be right in front of their eyes. Really, right in front of your eyes.
Thank you for visiting today’s blog posting Willcountyprose @ https://willcountyprose.wordpress.com/
Be sure to come back and read the extra special mid week blog post.
Special thanks to the good guys – doing good work. I like your suit. You do this country proud.
Thanks to the judges and attorneys that are doing a stellar job. Your services are deeply appreciated.
Justice will out!
Read more about Judge Otis D. Wright II and his outstanding command of the law and justice:
Read more about Lucy Vega’s battle to save her son:
Read more about Prenda and his purported porn piracy shakedown:
Read more about the man child rep, Jerry Goldberg used to provide professional supervision between parents and children:
Read more about the rulings St. Clair Co, IL judges made in favor of their drug dealer:
Read more about the suspected collusion between Prenda attorneys and opposing counsel in Cook co and St. Clair co.:
*Be sure to read the “Agreed Orders” linked in the FCT web site. Look familiar?
Read more about what happened to The Steele Law Firm LLC and Chicago Family Law Group LLC:
Read more about how “SJD” (Sophisticated Jane Doe) and Die Troll Die successfully kicked off a movement to fight back against abuse of the legal process:
View the interactive timeline, map and cartoons of the evolution of IMHO fraud:
The timeline has some links to some documents that you might not have expected. Over 360 & growing!
Tagged: Anti-Piracy Law Group, Arcadia Security, CFAA, child custody, child rep, child support, Copyright, Copyright Troll, corruption in family court,dhs, family court, family court corruption, FBI, gal, John Steele, JUDGE POLITO, judges, Judicial Hellhole, Kevin Hoerner, Michael O’Malley, non-custodial parent, obtaining evidence, order of protection, parental Alienating Behavior, Paul Duffy, Paul Hansmeier, PORN JUDGE, PORNLITO, Prenda Law,St.Clair county, Steve Jones, Steve Lightspeed, Title IV-D, vawa, visitation intruption
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December 27, 2013 § Leave a comment
2013: St. Clair County drug scandal – deaths, addictions and convictions
Shocking is an understatement, but it’s one way to describe a drug scandal that rocked the St. Clair County Courthouse in 2013.
St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook was arrested by federal agents on May 23 at the Belleville residence of his customary drug dealer. Cook, who had presided over criminal cases including drug felonies and murders, quickly resigned, sought treatment out of state and pleaded guilty in federal court on Nov. 8 to possessing heroin while in possession of firearms.
Cook’s arrest came two months after the death of his friend and colleague, Associate Judge Joe Christ. Cook found Christ’s body on March 10, in the Pike County hunting lodge of Cook’s father, Belleville lawyer Bruce Cook.
At the time of his death, the public was informed by St. Clair County officials that Christ, a long time prosecutor for the State’s Attorney’s office who had only been a judge for less than two weeks, died of natural causes. The public was informed months later by Pike County Sheriff Paul Petty that Christ died of cocaine intoxification.
Cook’s plea agreement with federal prosecutors recommends an 18-month sentence, three years of supervised release and a fine within guidelines. His sentencing will take place on Jan. 17. In the meantime, prosecutors on Dec. 13 filed a presentence investigation report under seal.
The agreement requires Cook to forfeit all of his weapons and ammunition, which, according to a three-page list, includes 13 shotguns, 10 rifles and 10 other firearms, as well as plenty of rounds, shells and cartridges.
In connection with Cook’s arrest, the feds also took down Cook’s supplier Sean McGilvery of Belleville. He pleaded guilty Oct. 17 to conspiring to distribute heroin. In his stipulation, McGilvery said that Cook would “pick up amounts of heroin on an almost daily basis” from his residence. He will be sentenced Jan. 23 and faces 10 years to life.
The feds separately arrested St. Clair County probation officer James Fogarty in May, after showing him text messages that implicated him as Christ’s cocaine dealer. He pleaded guilty Nov. 6 to supplying cocaine to Christ and awaits sentencing Feb. 28.
According to an FBI agent’s affidavit, Fogarty said he “did a line” with Cook and Christ and sold them a split “eight ball” of cocaine for $140 each the day before the judges went to the Pike County lodge in March. Fogarty also told the agent that the men used drugs together on multiple occasions, including golf outings, at a hunting cabin and at his Belleville residence, according to the affidavit.
Fogarty’s plea agreement calls for a five-year sentence, without extra years that federal prosecutors could recommend if they proved his crime resulted in death.
“On your best day I can give you probation,” said U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan to Fogarty. “On your worst day I can give you 30 years in the penitentiary.”
He also said, “If your involvement was such that it resulted in death or bodily harm to anyone, I won’t accept the agreement.”
Two major players in the distribution conspiracy were arrested in January, pleaded guilty in August and were sentenced in December.
Agents arrested Deborah Perkins, who ran her home at 20 Kassing Drive in Fairview Heights as a drug market, after a confidential source told them she would step off a bus in St. Louis with a load of heroin.
Feds also indicted her son, Douglas Oliver, and Eric Beckley of Centreville, as dealers under her direction.
Perkins distributed locally through Oliver, McGilvery and Beckley. Beckley pleaded guilty on Oct. 31, and awaits sentencing in March.
At sentencing on Dec. 5, Perkins and Oliver faced not only U.S. District Judge David Herndon, but also the mothers and 12 other relatives of Jessie Williams and Jennifer Herling, whose deaths resulted from their crimes.
Jenny Thomason, mother of Williams, said, “They dumped my daughter’s body.”
“They show no remorse for their actions,” Thomason said. “Because of their actions I will never get to see my daughter again. I’ll never hold her in my arms one last time.”
Chris Keel, mother of Herling, said, “I don’t see my daughter’s death as an accident.”
“Deep in my heart I know they murdered my daughter. If we robbed a bank and somebody got killed, we would all be in trouble. It was her house. It was her that went and got the drugs. It was her that gave the drugs to her son.”
Oliver accepted a 30-year sentence for selling heroin. Perkins was sentenced to 27 years for her role in the conspiracy.
Whether the drug investigation is wrapped up or ongoing remains an open question.
Oliver dropped a clue that an investigation of St. Clair County corruption continues. He told Herndon that he is cooperating with St. Clair County authorities.
Prosecutor Robert Garrison at the sentencing hearing apparently hadn’t expected him to reveal his cooperation. Garrison rose and told Herndon that because Oliver had made the statement in open court, he would confirm it.
U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton has indicted dozens of drug defendants this year without indicating whether he caught them in the same investigation that caught Cook.
One such connection popped up from the mass on Oct. 18, when Augustus Stacker of Belleville pleaded guilty of cocaine distribution.
He and the government stipulated that he supplied cocaine to Fogarty, and that one of their transactions was audio recorded on May 23.
The stipulation suggested that the investigation continues, by declaring that Stacker bought cocaine from “persons in the Southern District of Illinois.”
Another sign of ongoing investigation appeared in a detention order that Magistrate Judge Stephen Williams signed for Beckley.
Williams afforded him “reasonable opportunity for private consultation with counsel,” which a defendant would not normally need after pleading guilty.
Williams wrote that by court order or on request of a government attorney, Beckley’s prison warden must deliver him to a U.S. marshal “for the purpose of an appearance in connection with a court proceeding.”
By coincidence or not, two men in the mass of defendants pleaded guilty on Oct. 31.
Michael Scott Jr. stipulated that he sold an ounce of cocaine to a confidential informant for $1,400, on July 2 in Washington Park.
Deanthony Tillman stipulated that he sold two grams of crack to a confidential informant for $200, on June 27 in East St. Louis.
What kind of fallout has resulted from the scandal?
On Oct. 2, Circuit Judge Robert Haida ordered a new trial for murder suspect William Cosby, who was convicted by jurors on April 23.
Cosby won a new trial after trying to remove public defender Charles Baricevic, son of Chief Judge John Baricevic, from his case for failing to argue that the drug addiction of Cook corrupted his trial.
Cosby filed a pro se motion to withdraw Baricevic on Aug. 22, writing that his attorney “steadfastly refuses” to raise issues Cosby wanted to raise.
Cosby wrote that the issues concerned Cook’s “conduct, demeanor, impatience and obvious drug problem while presiding over this case.”
He wrote that he would raise more issues after receiving a transcript.
Cosby apparently didn’t know that his message had finally gotten through.
On Aug. 16, Baricevic had amended Cosby’s motion for a new trial to argue that Cook could not have conducted a fair trial.
Baricevic wrote that “criminal activity may have occurred during the course of trial.”
Haida denied Cosby’s motion to withdraw Baricevic on Aug. 27, and Baricevic represented Cosby at a hearing on Sept. 18.
Baricevic followed with a brief on Oct. 1, writing that the state was both an investigator of a sitting judge and a party to that judge’s bench.
“It defeats the purpose of a fair trial for one party to litigation to be privy to that information and not another, particularly when the unknowing party is the defendant to a first degree murder charge,” Baricevic wrote.
“The defendant cannot point to a specific instance when Judge Cook was on drugs. The defendant is neither an expert nor familiar with addicts.”
On Oct. 30, Haida granted a new trial to murder suspect Gregory Muse, who challenged his conviction by a jury in Cook’s court.
Cook presided over Muse’s trial on March 12 and 13, two and three days after he found the dead body of Christ in the Cook family hunting lodge near Pittsfield.
Public defender Erin Conner moved for a new trial for Muse in April. In August, Conner amended Muse’s motion to claim Cook’s addiction tainted the trial.
She argued that State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly should have disclosed to Muse that federal prosecutors were investigating Cook.
Conner also argued that Kelly should have filed motions to continue the trial and substitute another judge for Cook.
In September, assistant state’s attorney Deborah Phillips answered that Conner didn’t identify any error that Cook committed.
She wrote that disclosure might have compromised the investigation.
In response, Conner wrote that the state may not withhold material evidence without violating due process.
“Cook had slurred speech during the reading of the jury instructions,” Conner wrote.
“Had Defendant known that Cook’s capacity was in question, Defendant would have moved to substitute Cook.”
Drug testing for some – but not the judiciary
St. Clair County employees can expect random drug tests under a policy the county board adopted on Sept. 30.
County board members approved a policy which makes testing mandatory for employees and optional for themselves, citing a precedent (Chandler v. Miller) that lifts politicians above suspicion.
The old policy was just three sentences long, the new one is 17 pages. The policy does not encompass the judiciary.
“Random tests shall be unannounced and conducted at various times during the year,” the new policy provides.
A new employee must pass a test before starting work, and a current employee must pass one before moving up to a managerial position.
The policy also authorizes the county to test any employee for probable cause.
While the judiciary is exempt from mandatory drug testing, some judges have expressed a willingness to submit to voluntary testing and reveal results to the public, including the two candidates running for former Judge Cook’s seat – Circuit Judge Stephen McGlynn, a Republican, and Associate Judge Heinz Rudolf.
(Steve Korris contributed to this report).
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October 22, 2013 § Leave a comment
The question is the underline links of the appearance to the connections to will county court house and its players look close some went to school and other went to conferances attended with …….
Drug dealer says he sold heroin to St. Clair County judge on ‘almost daily basis’
EAST ST. LOUIS • A St. Clair County circuit court judge bought heroin on “an almost daily basis,” a drug dealer said Thursday as part of his guilty plea to federal drug conspiracy charges.
Sean D. McGilvery, 34, of Belleville, admitted that he conspired to sell heroin and said in a court document that then-St. Clair County Judge Michael N. Cook was a regular customer.
McGilvery is a key figure in a drug scandal that has rocked the St. Clair County Courthouse.
Cook was arrested in May outside McGilvery’s home and charged with misdemeanor heroin possession and a felony charge of being a drug user in possession of a firearm. The judge, who had presided over past cases involving McGilvery, has resigned from the bench but pleaded not guilty.
Cook, 43, “would come to the residence where McGilvery was residing and pick up amounts of heroin on an almost daily basis,” according to a court document that McGilvery, the federal prosecutor and the defense lawyer signed Thursday.
The case also led to charges against a St. Clair County probation officer, James Fogarty, who reportedly told an FBI agent that he sold cocaine to Cook and another judge, Joseph Christ, 49. Christ died of a cocaine overdose at a cabin owned by Cook in March, shortly after becoming an associate judge.
Cook’s trial is set for Dec. 9. Fogarty also pleaded not guilty; his trial is set for Nov. 18.
McGilvery pleaded guilty Thursday of conspiracy to distribute, and possession with intent to distribute, more than a kilogram of heroin. U.S. District Judge Michael J. Reagan set McGilvery’s sentencing for Jan. 23.
A plea deal for McGilvery calls for 10 years in prison. But the sentencing range is 10 years to life in prison. Reagan asked probation officers to pull together a report before sentencing that will detail McGilvery’s background and criminal history. This is McGilvery’s first felony conviction.
In court, McGilvery wore an orange jumpsuit marked “White County Jail.” His attorney, Rodney Holmes, said McGilvery was moved from the St. Clair County jail to White County, along the Indiana border, because dental care is better at that jail and he needed a root canal.
McGilvery has been jailed ever since his arrest. McGilvery’s attorney, Rodney Holmes, said his client is a heroin addict but hasn’t gotten any drug treatment in jail. The first time he visited his client in jail, McGilvery was in withdrawal, Holmes said.
“The first time I met with him, he was sweating and we met with a trash can” because he was vomiting from withdrawal, Holmes said.
In court Thursday, McGilvery told Reagan that he was not under the influence of drugs and hadn’t been in treatment for drug addiction in the last 60 days. McGilvery told Reagan he was thinking clearly and understood the plea. He answered “yes, sir” and “no, sir” when Reagan asked him questions.
Cook, meanwhile, is free on a $10,000 unsecured bail and reportedly went to a drug rehabilitation facility in Minnesota.
Cook had been in charge of the county’s special court for drug court offenders. Some defendants who appeared before Cook while he was a judge have sought new trials because of his drug arrest. Others have been allowed by prosecutors to withdraw guilty pleas. Among defendants who appeared before Cook was McGilvery. In 2011, Cook signed an order dismissing a drug case against McGilvery on the recommendation of prosecutors after McGilvery completed a 41-day stint in “drug school.”
Criminal complaints against McGilvery claim he conspired with Deborah A. Perkins, 65, and her son, Douglas William Oliver, 47, to deal heroin.
Court records show that Cook handled some motions delaying a criminal case in which Oliver and Perkins were accused of concealing the death of Jessica Williams, 30, originally of Collinsville, who officials believe overdosed on heroin at the pair’s home in Fairview Heights. Oliver and Perkins have pleaded guilty.
July 19, 2013 § Leave a comment