Madison - St. Clair Record

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Visiting judge orders seized items from 2018 Madison County administration building raids be returned

State Court

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Feb 7, 2020

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Visiting Associate Judge Jerry Crisel of the Second Judicial Circuit ordered that all seized items during a series of 2018 raids at the Madison County administration building be returned.

Crisel filed the order Feb. 5 addressing three motions filed Nov. 21 by attorney G. Edward Moorman. Moorman filed motions to return seized items, to unseal the affidavit for a search warrant and to show cause why the special prosecutor in the investigation was not terminated.

Crisel wrote that the motion to unseal the affidavit for search a warrant is reserved at this time.

Crisel had already terminated the prosecution and investigation in a Jan. 24 order, ending the appointment of the Attorney General’s Office. The Attorney General’s Office had been appointed to take over investigation and prosecution of the case due to a conflict of interest.

Crisel wrote that the attorney general’s office reports that “it has reviewed the investigation, and does not have any pending investigation and has not filed anything in court and is not sure if it has any standing to object or not to object.”

The attorney general sent a letter to Crisel stating that “it has no interest in the matter any more (sic) and is not planning to file any charges in this matter or any further investigation from its office.”

Crisel wrote in his motion that the Attorney General’s Office is vacated after finding that all matters relating to the investigation are concluded.

Moorman, IT director Rob Dorman, attorney Amy Sholar, and Assistant Attorney General Lisa Hennely were present at the motion hearing.

The offices of county administrator Doug Hulme, Dorman and communications manager Cynthia Ellis were first searched in a mid-day raid on Jan. 10, 2018 when computers and other records were taken, prompting additional raids.

According to a press release issued by Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons following the raid, he claimed he received evidence of possible illegal conduct by unnamed county officials in the later months of 2017.

Gibbons called for the formation of a special investigative taskforce based on information provided through several sources and individuals. The task force was comprised of members of multiple state and local law enforcement agencies and had been formed to “investigate the allegations and determine the extent of any wrongdoing,” the release stated.

Roughly six months after the first raid took place, Crisel removed the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office from any investigation or prosecution of those involved in the raids and appointed the Illinois Attorney General “to carry out the task with all deliberate speed.”

He granted in part and denied in part two motions for an order finding a conflict of interest exists.

He found that “an actual conflict of interest exists between the legal duties of the State’s Attorney and the Petitioners in their capacity as current or former county officials.”

However, Crisel denied the petitioners’ request to appoint private counsel at the county’s expense, finding that “the sitting State’s Attorney is still charged with that duty, the conflict having been removed.”

The motions seeking an order of a conflict of interest were filed by Hulme, Dorman, County Board chairman Kurt Prenzler and former county employee Stephen Adler. Adler is the current executive director of the Metro East Sanitary District.

While Prenzler’s office was not subject to the raid, he joined the other county officials as a petitioner in their conflict of interest dispute.

Crisel was assigned to preside over the case on Feb. 28, 2018 after former Madison County Chief Judge David Hylla requested a visiting judge be assigned.

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