Duebbert at swearing in
EAST ST. LOUIS – Circuit Judge Ron Duebbert claims in federal court that former St. Clair County state’s attorney Brendan Kelly and others fabricated evidence to charge him with sexual abuse in 2017.
He sued Kelly and the county on July 2, alleging malicious prosecution, due process violation, and conspiracy.
His lawyer, Michael Lawder of St. Louis, claims $10 million in compensatory damages plus punitive damages.
“Ronald Duebbert’s reputation has been defamed and damaged severely,” he wrote.
Prosecutors dismissed charges against Duebbert last year.
Kelly resigned his post as state’s attorney upon his appointment by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to head the Illinois State Police.
Kelly responded that it would be "clearly improper to comment while Judge Duebbert's case is pending before the Judicial Inquiry Board and while any civil matters involving my former office are pending."
Duebbert’s complaint named nine other defendants.
He sued former client Carlos Rodriguez and lawyer Alex Enyart, who represented Rodriguez in 2017.
He sued the city of Belleville and detectives Daniel Collins and Timothy Crimm.
He sued prosecutors David Robinson and Lorinda Lamken-Finnell, along with their employers at Illinois State’s Attorneys’ Appellate Prosecutor and the state itself.
Defendants allegedly conspired to accomplish an unlawful purpose by unlawful mean by withholding evidence, suborning perjury, and coercing witnesses to produce false evidence, the suit says.
Defendants allegedly subjected Duebbert to a judicial proceeding for which there was no probable cause.
The lawsuit further states that defendants instituted and continued the proceedings maliciously and made statements they knew were false and perjured.
Their acts and conduct were “extreme and outrageous,” the suit claims.
The suit alleges Kelly directed a “so called” investigation and controlled it until he handed it to Lamken-Finnell and Robinson; Kelly allegedly continued to participate and was personally involved in directing or consenting to fabrication and suppression of evidence.
Rodriguez allegedly swore one or more false affidavits that formed the sole basis of the investigation.
Enyart allegedly helped procure the false affidavits.
According to a timeline laid out in the lawsuit, Duebbert had represented Rodriguez since 2011 in a significant number of criminal matters.
On Sept. 26, 2016, Rodriguez was charged with a felony offense of aggravated fleeing and attempting to elude police.
At arraignment on Sept. 27, Rodriguez informed the court that he retained Duebbert as private defense attorney.
Rodriguez contacted Duebbert through friend Amy Parrack, and Duebbert agreed to represent him again.
On Sept. 28, Parrack made an initial $1,300 payment; on Sept. 30, Duebbert negotiated a bond reduction from $50,000 to $10,000 at 10 percent, or $1,000.
On the same date, Parrack asked Duebbert for a $1,000 refund; Duebbert authorized it and Parrack posted it for bond.
On Oct. 18, Duebbert served a discovery motion on Kelly.
After Duebbert’s election on Nov. 8 (2016), Duebbert arranged to transfer Rodriguez’s case to attorney Dedra Brock-Moore.
In the meantime, an evaluation found Rodriguez suffered from a significant addiction to certain illegal drugs, according to the suit.
Brock-Moore negotiated a disposition. In exchange for a plea, Rodriguez was fined $500 and sentenced to 18 months of conditional discharge with 24 months of probation. As a special condition of probation, Rodriguez would be required to complete intensive drug treatment, and on completion of probation, he could petition to dismiss the felony.
Rodriguez pleaded guilty on Aug. 22, 2017, and made no statement regarding any problem with Brock-Moore or Duebbert.
On Sept. 15, Enyart filed a motion to withdraw the plea, stating that Duebbert, Brock-Moore, and judge Jan Fiss failed to tell Rodriguez his driver’s license would be revoked.
On Sept.. 27, Rodriguez and Enyart presented to Belleville police; Enyart presented detective Collins with an affidavit.
The suit alleges that Rodriguez refused to make a statement on the record or off.
Collins and detective Crimm then applied for a warrant.
The suit alleges that defendants were all aware of the falsity of the Rodriguez affidavit.
After a warrant was issued, Kelly moved for appointment of a special prosecutor on Oct. 5, and judge Andrew Gleeson granted it on that date.
Enyart amended the motion on Oct. 23, to include an affidavit alleging Duebbert abused Rodriguez.
On Oct. 25, Enyart sent Lamken-Finnell and other defendants a text message that Rodriguez embellished what happened.
Fiss granted the motion to withdraw the plea on Oct. 31, without objection from the state.
On Nov. 6, the lawsuit says, Kelly, Crimm, Lamken-Finnell, and Robinson charged Duebbert with two felonies and two misdemeanors.
The suit claims they chose not to present their slight evidence to a grand jury on charges that carried possible sentences of two to five years.
Defendants allegedly possessed Enyart’s text message but didn’t provide it with their first promulgation of discovery.
On Feb. 18, 2018, Robinson sent a plea agreement to Duebbert in cooperation with Lamken-Finnell and Kelly, the lawsuit alleges, asking Duebbert to plead guilty, pay a $1,000 fine, and agree to a month’s sentence in county jail.
On June 19, 2018, Duebbert moved for production of all additional electronic communication among prosecutors and Enyart.
The court granted the motion on June 26, 2018; defendants later dismissed all four counts. Since then, no further charges have been brought.
The suit points out that Duebbert has not been allowed to serve as a duly elected judge for more than two years.
The ordeal has allegedly caused intense distress, sickness, humiliation, anxiety, shame, depression, sleep disruption, deprivation of enjoyment of life, deprivation of work, and fear of police.
Duebbert has demanded trial by jury.