DANVILLE – U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gerald Fines of Danville slammed the brakes on a trial over attorney Gary Peel's divorce contract, calling off the trial on a day's notice.
Fines had planned to hear the dispute Feb. 3, as visiting judge at the federal courthouse in East St. Louis. On Feb. 3 he continued it.
Something changed his mind quickly, for three days earlier he had denied a motion of Peel's former wife, Deborah J. Peel, to continue the trial.
The Feb. 2 docket does not cite any reconsideration of Deborah J. Peel's motion. Fines apparently continued the trial without a motion from either side.
Fines did not reset the trial. He set a status conference in three months.
Fines must decide whether the divorce contract the Peels signed in 2003 divided their property or obligated Gary Peel to maintain or support Deborah J. Peel.
According to Gary Peel, the contract divided property. If so, his bankruptcy would freeze her claims and she would stand in line with his bank and other creditors.
According to Deborah J. Peel, the contract required maintenance. If so, the bankruptcy would not apply to her claims and he would have to resume regular payments to her.
Gary Peel still faces a day in court this month, over his Jeep and his watch.
Bankruptcy Judge James Coachys has set a Feb. 17 hearing on a motion to turn over to the court Gary Peel's 2002 Grand Cherokee and his TAG Heuer watch.
Bankruptcy trustee Carla Randolph wrote in the motion that she requested $5,100 for the Jeep and $2,500 for the watch. She wrote that she did not receive the funds.