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updated: 4/17/2014 6:13 PM

Gag order placed in animal neglect case

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  • Stacy Fiebelkorn (far left) confers with her attorney, Alexis Costello, during an appearance before Kane County Associate Judge Elizabeth Flood at the Kane County Branch Court in St. Charles Thursday regarding a ruling on a gag order sought by Fiebelkorn's attorney to stop comments outside of court by county officials. Fiebelkorn has been charged with animal cruelty and neglect, two misdemeanor charges which are still pending.

      Stacy Fiebelkorn (far left) confers with her attorney, Alexis Costello, during an appearance before Kane County Associate Judge Elizabeth Flood at the Kane County Branch Court in St. Charles Thursday regarding a ruling on a gag order sought by Fiebelkorn's attorney to stop comments outside of court by county officials. Fiebelkorn has been charged with animal cruelty and neglect, two misdemeanor charges which are still pending.
    Pool photo by Shaw Media/Kane County Chronicle

  • Stacy Fiebelkorn

      Stacy Fiebelkorn

  • Stacy Fiebelkorn (far left) confers with her attorney, Alexis Costello, during an appearance before Kane County Associate Judge Elizabeth Flood at the Kane County Branch Court in St. Charles Thursday regarding a ruling on a gag order sought by Fiebelkorn's attorney to stop comments outside of court by county officials. Fiebelkorn has been charged with animal cruelty and neglect, two misdemeanor charges which are still pending.

      Stacy Fiebelkorn (far left) confers with her attorney, Alexis Costello, during an appearance before Kane County Associate Judge Elizabeth Flood at the Kane County Branch Court in St. Charles Thursday regarding a ruling on a gag order sought by Fiebelkorn's attorney to stop comments outside of court by county officials. Fiebelkorn has been charged with animal cruelty and neglect, two misdemeanor charges which are still pending.
    Pool photo by Shaw Media/Kane County Chronicle

 
 

Kane County Animal Control and sheriff's department workers are now prohibited from discussing details of a case in which an Elgin woman has been charged with animal cruelty and neglect.

Kane County Circuit Court Associate Judge Elizabeth Flood Thursday granted a request by an attorney for defendant Stacy Fiebelkorn, 34, to prohibit workers, including Animal Control Director Robert Sauceda, from making statements outside of court proceedings regarding:

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• The character, credibility, reputation or criminal record of parties on the case;

• Expected testimony and witnesses;

• Results of any tests of any animals in the case;

• Any identifying or revealing the nature of any evidence that might be presented at trial.

Flood said she did so to preserve Fiebelkorn's right to a fair trial, and that the order will stand until the trial is through, or until Fiebelkorn waives her right to a trial by jury. Fiebelkorn has not indicated her trial preference.

"Quotes by Mr. Sauceda give me concern ... I do believe he is speaking on behalf of an agency, and not as a private citizen," Flood said after reviewing 46 media reports attached to the request.

Flood specifically cited articles from the Daily Herald, including a March 6 article in which Sauceda said he "broke down Monday night when I got home" after seeing the conditions of Fiebelkorn's animals on a Hampshire farm, and a March 8 article in which he said "it's a mess," after finding two dead goats in a 12-inch pile of hay and feces.

Defense attorney Jamie Wombacher had argued in her written request that their statements "contain factual misstatements and assumptions that pose a serious and imminent threat of heightening public condemnation" of Fiebelkorn.

Authorities documented 10 dead animals on that farm, and two on a farm she had used in Maple Park. Dozens of other animals on the Hampshire farm did not have adequate food; their water supplies were frozen; hoofs were overgrown; and some had medical problems, including abscesses and hernias, according to testimony given during a hearing in March about whether the animals should be immediately forfeited.

Fiebelkorn's next court date is 9 a.m. May 15.

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