Crime: Melodie Gliniewicz Fox Lake theft case headed back to appellate court - PressFrom - US
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CrimeMelodie Gliniewicz Fox Lake theft case headed back to appellate court

21:55  15 may  2019
21:55  15 may  2019 Source:   chicagotribune.com

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Melodie Gliniewicz Fox Lake theft case headed back to appellate court© Lake County Sheriff's Office

The Melodie Gliniewicz theft case is headed back to the state appellate court over the issue of whether marital privilege protects certain texts between Gliniewicz and her late husband from being allowed as evidence at trial.

Assistant State’s Attorney Kenneth LaRue told Lake County Circuit Judge James Booras Wednesday morning at a status hearing that the state was filing an appeal contesting Booras’ recent ruling that the texts in question cannot be used as evidence.

Gliniewicz has pleaded not guilty to charges of misuse of charitable funds and money laundering in the case, which stems from an alleged series of thefts from funds belonging to the former Fox Lake Police Explorer unit, run by her late husband, Fox Lake Police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz.

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The new filing is the second time the State’s Attorney’s Office has taken the issue to the 2nd District Appellate Court.

Previously, when Booras ruled the texts could not be used and declined to hold a hearing on the privilege issue, the state appealed and eventually won, with the court ruling the hearing must be held.

Last month Booras held the hearing, and despite claims from LaRue that the texts the state wants to introduce as evidence “prove” the theft case against Gliniewicz, Booras again ruled in favor of the defense contention that the texts are off-limits due to marital privilege protection.

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The latest appeal will likely be at the appellate court level for at least several months, putting the case on hold again, attorneys said.

Booras said Wednesday that everything, including a Fox Lake Pension Board hearing on whether Gliniewicz should get her husband’s pension for the Fox Lake Police Department, is “moot” while the case is at the appellate level.

Fox Lake representatives have told the court the village is willing to wait until the end of the criminal case before holding a pension hearing for Gliniewicz, but also that there are concerns she will seek the pension without a full hearing before the village’s Pension Board.

Booras has issued a gag order on the case, preventing attorneys and other parties from discussing it outside of court.

In his ruling last month, Booras said texts between the defendant and her late husband, found on his phone but not hers, are protected by marital privilege.

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LaRue had argued that the texts in question are key to the case and should at least be introduced as circumstantial evidence at trial.

“Those messages, as you will read, prove the case,” LaRue said at the hearing.

He also questioned why the texts appear on Joe Gliniewicz’s phone but not Melodie Gliniewicz’s mobile phone, and suggested she deleted them before voluntarily turning over the phone.

Although deleted texts can be recovered by law enforcement, investigators did not attempt to find the data when they searched Melodie Gliniewicz’s phone, LaRue said.

Due to the gag order, content of the texts are not being made public.

As to the texts, Booras said in his ruling last month that because Melodie Gliniewicz had signed a consent to search her phone in October 2015, she had effectively waived marital privilege for her phone, but not the phone belonging to her late husband.

Because the texts were found on his phone but not hers, they will not be allowed at trial, Booras ruled.

Defense attorney Donald Morrison said at last month’s hearing that the reason the texts were deleted from Melodie Gliniewicz’s phone is “irrelevant,” and that there are several reasons texts may be removed from a phone.

Booras said that while Gliniewicz may have deleted the texts, there are other possibilities as well, including a change of phones or memory cards.

Authorities have said Joe Gliniewicz, who ran the Explorer program, shot and killed himself in 2015, staging it to look like a homicide on duty after realizing the alleged thefts were under investigation.

Prosecutors allege that Melodie Gliniewicz participated in her late husband's alleged scheme to siphon money from the Explorer youth policing program for personal expenses such as dining and entertainment.

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Twitter @jimnewton5

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