Baricevic appoints Marion attorney in Young DUI case

Ann Knef Dec. 18, 2006, 6:58am

Marion attorney Randy Patchett has been appointed special state's attorney to prosecute the Dec. 3 DUI arrest of St. Clair County Circuit Judge Patrick Young.

Patchett, a former chairman of the Williamson County Republican Party, was appointed by interim Chief Judge John Baricevic on Monday.

"...Mr. Randy Patchett is hereby appointed Special Prosecutor in the matter of the traffic crash on December 3, 2006, at the intersection Frank Scott Parkway and Dutch Hollow Road in Belleville," Baricevic wrote.

Circuit Judge Jan Fiss was Young's passenger, but was not charged. According to the Belleville Police Department's report, Fiss was seen attempting to conceal a can of beer and reportedly poured out a can of Bud Light at the accident scene. He stepped down as chief judge following the incident.

St. Clair County State's Attorney Bob Haida filed a motion asking that a special prosecutor from the Illinois Appellate Prosecutor's office be appointed because of a potential conflict of interest. Young and Fiss are assigned to major criminal cases being prosecuted by Haida's office.

"Mr. Patchett shall have the same power and authority in relation to such cause and proceeding as the State's Attorney would have had if present and attending to the same," Baricevic wrote.

The defense filed an objection to the appointment of a prosecutor from the Illinois Appellate Prosecutor's office.

In his order, Baricevic wrote that the statute governing appointment of special prosecutors indicates that a "competent attorney" be appointed when the state's attorney is unable.

"The statute does not provide for a procedure by which the state's attorney recommends a special assistant, nor does the statute allow the defendant to have a voice in the appointment process," Baricevic wrote.

"The defendant may file a motion suggesting that a special prosecutor has a conflict and should be removed, but that motion does not lie until a prosecutor has been appointed.

"I therefore will not rule on the defense motion for conflict as it is not timely filed, is premature, and thus moot," he wrote.

Patchett has served as Williamson County State's Attorney and as judge of the Illinois Court of Claims.

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