Maag wants to prevent prosecutors from saying 'plaintiff attorney' at trial

Steve Gonzalez Dec. 5, 2007, 7:45am

Thomas Gordon Maag

Clyde Kuehn

Thomas Maag doesn't want evidence related to his position as a "prominent Madison County plaintiff's attorney" brought up in court while being prosecuted for soliciting a prostitute, according to a recent court filing.

Maag, who was arrested by the Granite City Police Department on Nov. 2, has a court appearance Thursday in Granite City.

One of his attorneys, Clyde Kuehn, filed a motion in limine Nov. 30 asking that any reference to Maag's father's former position as an appellate judge, or his father's attempt to become a supreme court judge, be kept out of the case.

Maag was taken into custody by police on a Friday night at 9:58 p.m. and later posted $105 bail. His 2004 Chevrolet Impala was impounded. He has pleaded not guilty and has requested a speedy trial.

Maag is an attorney with the Wendler Law firm in Edwardsville.

"The defense fears that certain jurors may harbor animosity towards him based on his position as a plaintiff attorney," Kuehn wrote in the motion.

"The same possibility exists concerning the realization, by particular jurors, that the defendant is the son of Gordon Maag, who's name became well known during his campaign for the Supreme Court," Kuehn wrote.

Kuehn argues that any evidence of Maag's employment or his father are "irrelevant" and claims that it may prejudice Maag's jury.

Kuehn, a former St. Clair County Circuit Judge and Fifth District Appellate Judge, worked with Gordon Maag in Mt. Vernon.

Kuehn also wants any questioning by the state, as well as any argument by the state, to relate to the concept that in order to acquit, the jury must believe Maag and disbelieve its witnesses.

Citing case law from People v. Young Kuehn wrote, "The practice of asking a criminal defendant to comment on the veracity of other witnesses who have testified against him has consistently and repeatedly been condemned…because such questions intrude on the jury's function of determining the credibility of witnesses and serve to demean and ridicule the defendant."

Kuehn also argues that that type of questioning denies criminal defendants their constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial.

Kuehn wants any comments by the state that either vouch for the credibility of their witnesses or express their opinion regarding Maag's guilt banned.

He argues that it has long been held that it is improper for a state's attorney to vouch for the credibility of witnesses.

Kuehn also wants any evidence that Maag remained silent and asked for an attorney to be banned arguing it is a well established principal of law that post-arrest silence may not be used at trial.

In addition to the motion in limine, Kuehn filed a motion for additional discovery in the case pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 412.

According to Kuehn, Supreme Court Rule 412 requires that the state shall inform defense counsel if there has been any electronic surveillance, including wiretapping, of conversation to which the accused was a party.

Kuehn claims the police report references a telephone conversation where Maag allegedly made arrangements to pay for sexual intercourse.

"The defendant is quite certain that an audio recording of his conversation with Detective Lori Perkins would belie the truth of her allegations, and demonstrate that neither sexual intercourse, nor sexual contact, were part of the 'girlfriend experience' that was arranged," Kuehn writes.

Kuehn argues because Maag is certain that a recording will illustrate that sexual solicitation did not occur, the surveillance is not only discoverable, but constitutes exculpatory material that must be disclosed.

Kuehn also seeks the names and addresses of the other men arrested in the sting operation arguing that each of them are potential witnesses for the defense.

Edwardsville lawyer Michael Reid posted Maag's bail and then entered his appearance on Maag's behalf.

According to state statute 725 ILCS 5/110-13 which deals with persons prohibited from furnishing bail, subsection A states, "No attorney at law practicing in this State and no official authorized to admit another to bail or to accept bail shall furnish any part of any security for bail in any criminal action or any proceeding nor shall any such person act as surety for any accused admitted to bail."

The statute is vague when it comes to what, if any, punishment accompanies the statute's violation.

Madison County State's Attorney Bill Mudge said he is not going to file charges against Reid. Mudge also said he reported the conduct to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

Reid shares a law office with family attorney Amanda Verett, a plaintiff in a personal injury suit against Pizza Hut. Maag listed Verett as his emergency contact on his arrest form.

Verett filed suit against Pizza Hut and Troy Police officer Clarence Jackson alleging she was injured when walking out the door of Pizza Hut on Feb. 12, when she held open the door to allow herself and Jackson to exit.

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