A judge could rule next week on whether to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a North Aurora man who was acquitted halfway through a trial that he scalded his toddler son in 2009.
Jason Barnes, 39, of the 700 block of Lloyd Lane, sued the Kane County State's Attorney's Office, investigators, officials at the Department of Children and Family Services, and others after Judge Timothy Sheldon stopped Barnes trial in June 2011 due to lack of evidence that he scalded his then 1½-year-old son in August 2009.
In December 2011, Barnes accused authorities of conspiracy and malicious prosecution, arguing prosecutors unfairly attended a civil hearing as representatives of the Child Advocacy Center in the case and investigators fed his children information to get their results authorities wanted.
"The defendants perpetuated their malicious prosecution of (Barnes) outside of the criminal proceedings which resulted in the plaintiff being deprived of contact with his children for an extended period of time. In addition, the defendants perpetuated a prosecution they knew to be baseless as a result of their rigged interview with the medical professionals," Barnes' attorney, David Centracchio, wrote in court papers filed this month. "At trial, the medical doctors who treated the children state they did not believe the burns could have occurred as the defendants contended. The defendants lacked probable cause for both the initiation of the criminal prosecution and the intervention in the child custody proceedings."
Prosecutors want Judge Judith Brawka to dismiss Barnes' lawsuit "with prejudice," meaning it cannot be refiled in the future. A hearing is set for Thursday.
The Kane County State's Attorney's Office and other defendants have argued that prosecutors have immunity in the case and did not act with malice.
Assistant State's Attorney's Elizabeth Flood and Erin Gaeke also argue in court documents that Barnes' lawsuit lacks specific allegations as to how authorities suppressed exculpatory evidence that favored Barnes or otherwise conspired against him. "Not only has (Barnes) failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, but given the relevant jurisdictional and immunity issues, any attempt to replead will be futile," according to court documents.
The boy who was scalded lost all of his toes and had to learn to walk again. Prosecutors argued that Barnes put the boy in water that was 194 degrees. Barmes' defense was the boy and his older sister somehow got into a first-floor bathroom and turned on the sink, which was supplied by a malfunctioning water heater that had elevated temperatures.