St. Clair County Board candidate James Haywood, Jr. of Cahokia has moved to expunge records of a felony charge that he violated an absentee ballot and lesser charges that he drove under the influence, resisted arrest, shoved an officer, and committed battery and criminal trespass.
Chief Judge John Baricevic continued proceedings on Oct. 20 and set a hearing on the motion two days after the election on Nov. 10.
Haywood beat all but one of the charges he seeks to expunge.
He pleaded guilty of criminal trespass and paid $200 in 2012, in a plea bargain that cleared him of the battery charge.
This June, he beat a charge of driving under the influence by paying $2,000 for improper lane usage, an offense he does not seek to expunge.
Last year, state’s attorney Brendan Kelly dismissed two charges that Haywood resisted arrest in Cahokia. Kelly also dropped the ballot violation charge, after letting it languish for two years.
The case started in 2013, when Cahokia police lieutenant Dennis Plew charged that Haywood unlawfully took an absentee ballot for deposit into the mail.
Associate Judge Heinz Rudolf signed an arrest warrant and set bail at $100,000, or $10,000 cash.
Haywood retained lawyers at Crowder and Scoggins, in Columbia, and they entered a plea of not guilty.
Tony Gilbreth of the firm moved to reduce Haywood’s bail, writing that he and his family lacked the financial resources to post $10,000.
“Defendant is effectively being held without bail,” Gilbreth wrote.
Assistant state’s attorney Heidi Epperson objected, but circuit judge Michael Cook reduced bail to $10,000 on May 13, 2013.
Zachary Haywood of Belleville posted $1,000 cash the next day.
The following week, federal agents arrested Cook for heroin possession.
In July 2013, grand jurors indicted Haywood.
The firm of Crowder and Scroggins withdrew that August, writing that it would be unreasonably difficult to represent Haywood in an effective manner.
Haywood missed a hearing that September, and Circuit Judge Jan Fiss issued a bench warrant without bond.
Fiss quashed the warrant eight days later, and continued the case so Haywood could hire new counsel.
Fiss continued the case two more times, appointed a public defender, and continued it three more times.
In 2014, public defender Richard Sturgeon moved to dismiss the indictment. He wrote that it failed to allege how Haywood’s actions created an opportunity for fraudulent marking or tampering.
Fiss continued a hearing on the motion three times, and on a fourth occasion he wrote that the parties were involved in plea negotiations.
On March 30, 2015, he continued the hearing to April 28, 2015.
A day before the hearing, assistant state’s attorney Daniel Lewis filed a “nolle pros” motion, meaning the state wouldn’t prosecute Haywood.
“The people have, at this point, insufficient evidence to proceed to trial on this matter," Lewis wrote.
Fiss granted the motion.
The Record requested Plew’s original report at Cahokia village hall on Oct. 20.
Haywood’s motion for expungement also applies to an ordinance violation charge that he pushed and shoved an Alorton police officer in 2008.
A judge dismissed the charge when the officer failed to show up for a hearing.
The motion also applies to a charge of driving under the influence, which a judge dismissed after Haywood completed a period of court supervision in 2003.
Haywood runs on the Democrat ticket in the county’s 25th district, and Ron Gerlach runs on the Republican ticket.