McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi has clarified his relationship with the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department in a letter to Blake Horwitz, the attorney for former Deputy Sheriff Zane Seipler.
Read the text below to which I have added paragraphing to make it easier to read on a screen:
Mr. Blake Horwitz
The Blake Horwitz Law Firm
Two First National Plaza
20 S. Clark Street Ste. 500
Chicago, IL 60603
Dear Mr. Horwitz,
One of the goals set when I took office in 2004 was to minimize the use of outside counsel by maximizing the use of our civil division attorneys. We have accomplished that and with the exception of a few conflict cases, at a great savings to the taxpayers (estimated savings of $10,000.00 a week).
I am also proud of the fact that we have successfully defended the Sheriff in the several lawsuits brought against him and his office, never having lost a case, settling only two. This has also resulted in tax savings.
I am hoping this background helps explain our response to your recent letter.
During these past 6 years, as mentioned above, we have successfully defeated a great number of law suits filed against the Sheriff and his office.
Should we investigate the alleged complaints outlined in your Motion to Appoint a Special Prosecutor and/or prosecute the Sheriff for the alleged conduct, we could not continue to represent him in the lawsuits filed against him.
Furthermore, we may, in that case, be prohibited from representing the “People” in any criminal prosecution initiated by his deputies.
Having to hire outside counsel in those cases could be an enormous burden, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, of dollars of expense and costs to the County and the McHenry County taxpayers.
Accordingly, with very few minor exceptions, our office would not investigate the Sheriff, nor prosecute him, under circumstances where allegations have been made such as those asserted by your client in his Petition to Appoint a Special Prosecutor to Investigate Sheriff Nygren.
We want to make it clear that this Office of State’s Attorney has not, and will not, investigate the claims outlined in Mr. Seipler’s Petition and your recent letter for the reasons stated above.
With regards to a Special Prosecutor, our position has been and will always be the same, and that is, that one of three choices be utilized to act as special prosecutor:
- The Illinois Appellate Prosecutor,
- Attorney General, or
- a State’s Attorney from another county.
Any one of these options would result in no additional cost to the county and taxpayers. An annual fee is paid to the Appellate Prosecutor to represent the county in cases such as this, and accordingly, they remain open and available to act in that capacity.
Very truly yours,
Louis A. Bianchi
Chick to enlarge the letter below: