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Incarcerated man asks Lopinot to reconsider dismissing $5M suit alleging malicious prosecution

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Oct 26, 2015

An incarcerated man serving time in Taylorville for attempted murder asks St. Clair County Circuit Judge Vincent Lopinot to reconsider granting St. Clair County’s and an assistant state’s attorney’s joint motion to dismiss the suit alleging malicious prosecution.

Gary Smith filed a lawsuit on July 24 against St. Clair County and Assistant State’s Attorney James Gregory Piper Jr.

According to the complaint, Smith claims Piper practiced in a mischievous manner and says he falsified paperwork in his case. Smith also claims he was improperly subjected to judicial proceedings of being a child sex offender, but says there was no probable cause.

Smith seeks damages of $5 million and demands a published retraction by Piper.

St. Clair County and Piper filed a motion to dismiss the case on Sept. 9 through attorney Katherine Porter of Becker Hoerner Thompson & Ysursa in Belleville. They argue that the plaintiff was convicted of attempted first degree murder of a minor and that the State’s Attorney’s Office ensured that Smith was placed on the correct registry in 2012 – the Murderer and Violent Offender against Youth Registry.

The defendants explain that the plaintiff was transferred from the Sex Offender Registry after it was determined that the crime was not sexually motivated.

“Because substantial evidence indicates the necessary paperwork was filed and that the plaintiff is not registered as a sex offender in the Illinois Department of Corrections database, the plaintiff’s interests and rights are no longer in controversy. A court-ordered resolution of this issue will have no practical effect,” the motion states.

Smith filed an objection pro se on Sept. 21, calling the corrected registry “too little too late.”

He argues that “it wasn’t until a lengthy fight put up by the plaintiff, after serious trauma at the hands of several inmates and staff at the Menard Correctional Center, that the amendment to the plaintiff’s sentencing order in February of 2012 was done.”

“All of that was too late to spare the plaintiff the beatings, rape, robbery, and daily abuse that all sex offenders suffer in a maximum security prison, and that is the thing this plaintiff suffered as a result of the defendants’ action.”

Circuit Judge Vincent Lopinot granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss with prejudice on Sept. 22 after the plaintiff failed to appropriately appear before the court.

On Oct. 9, Smith filed a motion to reconsider judgment, arguing that he filed a motion to obtain a “writ,” but says he did not receive any direction from the court.

He also claims the only document sent to him by the court was an order setting a status conference for Oct. 19.

“The plaintiff feels completely outmanuvered (sic) by the defense using the ‘snail mail’ to their advantage and setting the hearing dates to (sic) close for it to be reasonable for the plaintiff to respond and it creates an advantage for the defendants,” the motion states.

Smith is currently incarcerated at the Taylorville Correctional Center.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 15-L-423

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Organizations in this Story

Becker, Hoerner, Thompson & Ysursa Illinois Department of Corrections

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