Court Watch: Will County Jail Can Keep Filming Murder Defendant
Also, evidence exchanged in case involving an Oak Lawn home invasion, kidnapping and attempted murder.
The Southland's major criminal and civil cases heard in Cook County and Will County courts this week.
Leading Patch's Court Docket
FRANKFORT — The Will County jailhouse will not be required to stop filming the private conversations of a man on trial for murder, but it will need permission before printing those videos again, a Will County judge ordered on Monday.
Last year Brian Trainauskas, who was charged with first-degree murder and then solicitation of murder, alleged that a Will County sheriff’s deputy attacked him to force a confession. His attorney, George Andrews, said he became worried about their privacy when a subsequent internal affairs investigation produced a silent videotape of him and his client conversing over a laptop.
In court, Andrews argued the jailhouse could compromise his defense strategy by spying and sharing videos with the state. Judge Richard Schoenstedt disagreed, noting that safety was the real issue here, and Andrews and his client were free to converse in other places and times away from gazing cameras.
But he also ordered the jailhouse to obtain his permission before printing any videos of Andrews and Trainauskas in the future. Trainauskas’ next court hearing is Jan. 18, 2012.
In Cook County
OAK LAWN — Pretrial criminal hearings for three men accused of shooting a 24-year-old woman during an attempted burglary in Oak Lawn were continued to Jan. 12, 2012. Timmie Walton, Keon Thigpen and Kennedy Clark have each been charged with several dozen counts related to attempted murder, armed violence, kidnapping and home invasion. They pleaded not guilty. On Tuesday, prosecutors said they’re waiting on DNA analysis and have tendered other evidence to defense attorneys, including video footage.
Also from Oak Lawn, Myrna Jurcev, a community activist indicted for forging signatures on a petition to put a referendum on the election ballot, appeared for a status hearing on Nov. 29. Jurcev faces one felony charge of mutilation of election materials and a misdemeanor count of disregard of the election code. If convicted, she faces up to three years in prison. She’s due back in court at 26th Street and California in Chicago on Jan. 12.
— Oak Lawn Patch Editor Lorraine Swanson contributed to this report
Speaking of which, on Wednesday prosecutors dropped their case against Swanson after learning she had paid her outstanding parking tickets. Pulling away from a village board meeting in October, Swanson was arrested for driving on a suspended license and booked at the Oak Lawn slammer. With the ink hardly dry on her fingertips, she recounted the sojourn for readers.
In Will County
LOCKPORT — Pretrial civil hearings involving the owners of the Big Run Golf Course in Lockport were continued until Feb. 17, 2012. George Gee Jr. and others, including former Will County Board President Joseph Mikan, have been accused of bankrolling the golf course’s funds to pay for cars and houses in a lawsuit filed by the nephew of a Big Run founder. Gee used to own a large stake in the soon-to-be demolished Orland Park Plaza. He still owns Gee Insurance, where Mikan works.
NEW LENOX — Pretrial criminal hearings involving Joseph Bozen, an Orland Park man charged with grooming and indecent solicitation of minors through the Internet, were continued until Jan. 18, 2012. He has pleaded not guilty.
In civil court, a lawsuit surrounding the New Year’s Eve 2009 death of Jessica Mejia, of New Lenox, was continued until Dec. 15, when the plaintiffs are expected to present a list of dates in which to interview the defense’s witnesses. Another civil case against the driver and the owner of the car that flipped over and killed Mejia is also pending.
On the Docket Next Week
Kevin Skaritka, who’s accused of sexually molesting a teenage girl in Orland Park and Palos Hills, and his attorneys are still awaiting evidence from the state before they can begin collecting evidence of their own.
John White, one of two men who police say had knowledge of the murder of a New Lenox man and proceeded to rob his home, is being tried separately.
Michael Angel, a former District 210 employee accused of trespassing who failed to show up court hearings after taking a plea deal from the state and then ran from a police officer, will be back in court on the charge of obstructing a peace officer.
James West is accused, along with his girlfriend, of sending sexually explicit photographs and text messages to an Oak Lawn teenager. The couple is being tried separately.
A verdict will be delivered on Lazzerick Mosley, who prosecutors have reportedly said stalked and murdered a Tinley Park diesel mechanic in 2009. The trial concluded last month before Cook County Judge John J. Hynes.
Scheduled for arraignment are four men charged with Class X felonies in connection to the armed robbery of an Orland Park jewelry store.
Darrell Stephenson, a former youth soccer coach who worked in Frankfort and the surrounding area, is accused of having sexual contact with a boy.
Court Watch is published every Saturday on the south suburban Patch network.
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