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posted: 8/7/2010 12:01 AM

Embattled Kane County coroner pleads not guilty

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  • Chuck West

      Chuck West

 

Kane County Coroner Chuck West pleaded not guilty Friday to five felony counts of official misconduct.

West, 67, of the 1900 block of Country Knolls, Elgin, is accused of taking a television from the home of a deceased Carpentersville man in 2007 while acting in his official role as coroner.

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If convicted, he faces two to five years in prison or probation.

West and his attorney, Gary Johnson, had no comment Friday as they left an arraignment hearing in front of Kane County Associate Judge T. Jordan Gallagher. West wore his coroner badge and was accompanied by his wife. Special Prosecutor Charles Colburn of the Illinois Appellate Prosecutor's Office said both sides have exchanged evidence and are now preparing their cases. He declined to say whether West had been offered a plea deal.

West has said he believes the allegations are politically motivated and that he intends to stay in office until his term expires in 2012. Kane County Board members have asked him to step down.

But earlier this week, the board postponed a referendum to eliminate the elected office of coroner, which was partly prompted by West's indictment in May.

County officials now say it will be at least next spring before voters might see the issue on the ballot. West is scheduled to return to court Sept. 23.

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