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posted: 8/13/2012 5:30 AM

Technicality gives convicted Elgin drug dealer a break

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An Elgin man convicted in summer 2010 of selling cocaine near a church could have his sentence reduced after successfully appealing the most serious charges in his case.

Jose L. Ortiz, 28, formerly of the 200 block of Lessenden Place, will be resentenced Thursday on felony charges of manufacture/delivery of under 15 grams of cocaine, records show.

The felony carries a sentence of between four to 15 years behind bars. He's been in jail or prison since his arrest in July 2009.

Ortiz was convicted of the cocaine delivery felony in a June 2010 bench trial before Kane County Judge Allen Anderson; he also was convicted of the more serious offense of delivery of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school, church or place of worship. That charge carries a mandatory six-to 30-year sentence without the chance for probation. Anderson gave Ortiz six years for selling a quarter ounce of cocaine to an undercover Elgin cop at the corner of Bent and Liberty streets, which prosecutors argued was 705 feet from the Emmanuel Baptist Church, 500 St. Charles St., according to court documents. Ortiz appealed and an appellate panel ruled that while the distance was correct, prosecutors did not prove that the church was being used as a church on Jan. 7, 2009, the date of the drug deal. The appellate panel ruled that the state needed to call witnesses to testify that the pictures accurately showed the church as it was in January 2009.

"The issue is whether the evidence established beyond a reasonable doubt that the building was such a building on the date of the offense," the panel wrote. "We have no way of knowing whether the Emmanuel Baptist Church existed on Jan. 7, 2009. This is a fact that the state could have easily established by eliciting testimony from someone affiliated with the church. It failed to do so."

Ortiz also is serving a four-year term for a cocaine-related conviction in Cook County, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections.

K-9 vest donation: Earlier this summer, a St. Charles businessman donated $4,500 worth of protective vests to the Kane County Sheriff's Department for the office's K9s.

Brett Milo of the Milo Group, an independent manufacturer's representative group whose business is supplying law enforcement equipment, donated the vests, which are valued at $1,500 each. The vests are similar to the ones deputies wear, except they are specifically designed for dogs. The sheriff's office said it would not have been able to buy the vests out of its normal budget.

"Sheriff (Pat) Perez thanks Brett and the Milo Group for this invaluable donation which helps support the mission of the sheriff's office and its K9 program," the department said in a news release.

For information about the office and the K9 program, visit

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