As most McHenry County Blog readers know, former and future (my prediction) McHenry County Deputy Sheriff Zane Seipler is seeking appointment of a Special Prosecutor from Judge Thomas Meyer to probe whether Sheriff Keith Nygren used county taxes to further his campaign.
Judge Meyer seemed uninterested in the big exhibit of supposed wrongdoing which Seipler attorney Blake Horwitz brought to court.
Meyer mentioned that he was aware of what the Sheriff and McHenry County Board Chairman Ken Koehler had told the Northwest Herald.
When one of the attorneys brought up subpoenas which Seipler attorney Horwitz had served on the Sheriff’s Department, Judge Meyer quashed them.
As he ruled that the subpoenas could not be enforced, Judge Meyer said that it was not the responsibility of Siepler’s attorney to make the criminal case against Nygren, that that would be the task of the Special Prosecutor, if one were named.
Judge Meyer said his decision about naming a Special Prosecutor would be made based solely upon whether McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi was unavailable or had a conflict of interest, two conditions containing in the statute which states when a Special Prosecutor can be named.
Nevertheless, I was curious as to what information the subpoenas requested that the Judge apparently had no interest in reviewing. So I filed a Freedom of Information request.
The subpoenas are dated September 19, 2011, with a return date of October 6th.
The first is for Undersheriff Andy Zinke. It asks for “Any and all documents in your possession or control which contain a seven pointed star as an emblem and/or symbol of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department within the document. Petitioner is not requesting documents which are the subject matter of law enforcement privilege.”
The second, dated September 19th, is to John Trotter.
It requests, “Any and all documents in your possession or control which concern the placement of a seven pointed star on any wall(s) within the Sheriff’s Department and onto any any official vehicles, motorcycles, trailers, snowmobiles, golf carts of the department (see rider).”
The rider explains that financial records are being sought, including “receipts, financial transactions, payment to a contractor, subcontractor for work performed concerning the placement of the seven pointed star.”
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A couple of thoughts occurred while writing this piece.
I have watched Judge Meyer for many hours, starting with the Northwest Herald’s case against me.
Many times while waiting for that case and two cases involving Zane Seipler (the FOP arbitration administrative review case and the Special Prosecutor case), I have arrived early and seen his deliberate style and well-reasoned judgements.
I can’t believe he would be influenced by misleading information in a newspaper indicating that the price of a Special Prosecutor would have to be as egregious as the amount billed by Tonigan and McQueen.
Indeed, McHenry County already has a $30,000 per year arrangement with the Illinois State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor, which has gone unmentioned in the Northwest Herald, to the best of my knowledge, but about which I reported in August. County Board Chairman Ken Koehler signs the resolution each year. The contract includes trial assistance, such as, acting as a Special Prosecutor for no extra cost, except for incidentals like copying and other miscellaneous costs.
Nor do I believe Judge Meyer could be influenced by the Northwest Herald’s editorial urging him to drop the request for a Special Prosecutor based on the fiasco that resulted from Tonigan’s failed efforts any more than he considered the influence of the county’s dominant newspaper in its case against me.
What I don’t understand is the Judge’s apparent lack of interest in evidence of the Sheriff’s alleged use of his office for political purposes. Does he believe the allegations and exhibites themselves are serious enough to consider appointing a Special Prosecutors?
We’ll probably never know. As my son tells me when I try to understand his thought processes:
“It’s my mind.”