St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert Haida said at a hearing on Sept. 15 that he would order Sheriff Rick Watson to stop leaks from the investigation of the murder of Carl Silas.
Haida told defense counsel Brittany Kimble of Maywood, who represents suspect David Fields, to prepare an order for his signature.
The order he signed Friday afternoon restrains the Sheriff's department from releasing "any personal information, including but not limited to phone call logs, video calls, commissary reports to any non law enforcement agency."
The sheriff is further restrained from releasing "any official reports to the media or any non-law enforcement agency unless granted by leave of court."
Kimble complained to Haida that a Belleville newspaper published video of a jail visit and entries from a visitor’s log.
“I was very distressed about the release,” Haida said. “I am concerned from the administration of justice standpoint.
“We have a potential that our jury pool is tainted.”
Haida asked Kimble if she was concerned other information might be leaked, and she said, “Yes.”
Kimble said earlier in the hearing that she had received discovery, from prosecutors, twice since being told she had received all of it.
“With this trickling discovery and leaking documents, it just seems this is not right,” Kimble said.
Special prosecutor Charles Colburn read a portion of the news article about Watson’s effort to retrieve the jail visit video.
Kimble said the newspaper’s account showed it obtained the video without filing a request.
She summarized the newspaper’s explanation as, “Oh, we called and they gave it to us.”
Haida said, “I want to stop it…In my opinion, something has gone awry.”
Kimble said, “I’d say the media knows a little too much.”
Haida set a status conference on Nov. 9, and said he would set a trial date then.
Colburn entered his appearance as special prosecutor, replacing Matt Goetten.
Fields is alleged to have shot Silas dead before dawn on Dec. 30, while Silas slept in a Belleville apartment.
The case against Fields became sensationalized due to a connection he had with St. Clair County Circuit Judge Ronald Duebbert.
Last fall, while Duebbert ran for circuit judge, Fields completed a prison sentence for domestic battery and briefly stayed at Duebbert’s home.
Duebbert had only served about one month as a judge before he was reassigned to administrative duties on Jan. 3. He was reassigned by Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson who had stated the move was due to Duebbert’s connection to Fields, 20.
The state’s judicial inquiry board (JIB) and a St. Clair County grand jury opened investigations into Duebbert’s conduct around the time of the murder.
On Jan. 4, Gleeson approved a request for the appointment of a special prosecutor to decide whether Duebbert should be charged with obstruction of justice related to the Silas murder case.
Potential obstruction of justice charges were outlined in a letter St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly sent to the Judicial Inquiry Board on Jan. 7.
Neither investigation - the grand jury, which on July 14 heard matters involving Duebbert - nor the JIB case has resulted in the filing of charges against Duebbert.
After obtaining a copy of the St. Clair County Coroner's death investigation report through a Freedom of Information Act request in July, the Record reported that witnesses who at first accused Fields of shooting Silas, shifted the blame to a stranger four hours later during interviews with authorities.