Madison - St. Clair Record

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Korean War veteran, senior status federal judge will preside over Duebbert’s suit against local public officials

Federal Court

By Record News | Jul 23, 2019

Wood and Rosenstengel

CHICAGO – For a suit claiming St. Clair County tried to frame Circuit Judge Ron Duebbert for a felony, Chief Judge Diane Wood of the U.S. Seventh Circuit chose a man who witnessed the end of the Korean War at the border. 

According to a biography that Senior Central District Judge Richard Mills provided to the Lincoln Library, he interrogated prisoners of war.

He’s 90 years old. 

Wood assigned Duebbert’s suit to him on July 17, after all three Southern District judges recused themselves. 

Michael Lawder of St. Louis filed the suit on July 2, alleging malicious prosecution, due process violation, and conspiracy. 

Named in the suit are the county and former state’s attorney Brendan Kelly, the current acting state police director. 

Duebbert also has named the city of Belleville and police detectives Daniel Collins and Timothy Crimm; prosecutors David Robinson and Lorinda Lamken-Finnell and their employer, the State’s Attorneys’ Appellate Prosecutor; Carlos Rodriguez, a client from Duebbert’s past criminal defense practice and Belleville lawyer Alex Enyart, who represented Rodriguez in 2017. 

Rodriguez alleged sexual abuse, and Lamken-Finnell brought charges. 

She dismissed them last year after Rodriguez decided not to testify. 

Lawder wrote that defendants withheld evidence, suborned perjury, and coerced witnesses to produce false evidence. 

He wrote that they instituted and continued the proceedings maliciously. 

Chief District Judge Nancy Rosenstengel reported the triple recusal to Wood, who assigned Mills. 

Mills was born in Beardstown in 1929, and grew up in Jacksonville. 

The Army drafted him in 1952, and trained him in counter intelligence. He went to Korea in early 1953, and joined an intelligence corps. 

He interrogated prisoners and line crossers, those in civilian clothes trying to cross into South Korea. 

Mills returned to the states in 1954, earned a law degree from Mercer University in 1957, and began practicing law. 

He advanced from Cass County state’s attorney to circuit judge to Fourth District appellate judge. 

In 1985, President Reagan appointed him to the Central District court. He achieved senior status in 1997. 

Senior judges don’t have to take assignments they don’t want. 

The first reaction from a defendant happened on July 23, when Brian Funk and Julie Bruch of Northbrook entered appearances for Belleville and its detectives.  

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U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

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