Man in Cubs-Sox fan brawl seeks new trial

Updated 10/11/2012 4:12 PM
  • Boguslaw "Bob" Czapla

    Boguslaw "Bob" Czapla

A man found guilty for his part in a drunken brawl over the Cubs and White Sox at a toddler's birthday party in Huntley deserves a new trial because one of witnesses who pointed the finger at him was never called to the stand, his attorney argued Thursday.

Boguslaw "Bob" Czapla, of Elmwood Park, was sentenced to three years in prison for aggravated assault and mob action in 2011 for his role in the 2008 fight over which team was better. The Polish national was released in February and is now being held at an immigration detention center in Chicago, according to his attorney, Barb Paschen.

The fight involved four men, began with teasing and escalated into a physical altercation that ended with a man losing his eye.

At the time of the alcohol-fueled brawl, Robert Steele, formerly of Gurnee, was wearing a White Sox shirt.

Steele was kicked by Czapla's metal-tipped boot in the eye as he was lying on the ground. Steele now wears a prosthetic eye.

Steele had never met Boguslaw Czapla before.

But Steele's wife's sister was married to Jaroslaw "Jerry" Czapla, the host for his 2-year-old's birthday party. The Czaplas are brothers.

At a hearing Thursday before a panel of three judges in the Appellate Court of Illinois' Second District in Elgin, Paschen tried to make the case for why her client should get a new trial.

She pointed to a 1968 Supreme Court decision in which justices ruled it was a Sixth Amendment violation for prosecutors to introduce hearsay testimony of one of two defendants being tried together. That is, unless the defendant, whose testimony is being used, takes the stand and goes through a cross examination.

On one of the 911 tapes, Jaroslaw Czapla is heard blaming his brother for kicking Steele in the face, Paschen said.

Yet the state never called him to take the stand.

"He didn't testify at all," Paschen said. "My client didn't have a chance to challenge his accusation."

Marshall Stevens, the state's attorney's appellate prosecutor, said he didn't know why Jaroslaw Czapla wasn't called to testify.

But if the case were to be heard again, he's convinced there would still be enough evidence to convict Boguslaw Czapla a second time.

Jaroslaw Czapla pleaded guilty in 2009 to mob action and was sentenced to six months in the county jail. His homeowner's insurance also paid a $100,000 settlement to Steele.

Another man involved in the fight, Maciej "Mike" Trojnar of Elmwood Park, was charged, but fled before he could be apprehended.

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