Des Plaines alderman weighing appeal in trespassing case
Des Plaines 4th Ward Alderman Dick Sayad could decide as early as Thursday whether to appeal the guilty verdict in his misdemeanor criminal trespassing case.
Sayad said he's still thinking about it, and will discuss his options with his attorney Thursday.
"I'm looking at every aspect of the trial and will evaluate what my next move is, or if I should just let it alone and let it go and accept the punishment," he said.
Sayad, who was found guilty by Cook County Judge Michael Hood June 16, has until July 15 to decide. The 12-year alderman was sentenced to 18 months of court supervision, fined $500 and ordered to pay $869 in court costs and fees.
It stems from a Feb. 25 incident in which Sayad walked into a resident's house unannounced to discuss complaints about an unshoveled sidewalk.
Sayad testified he knocked on an outside door and rang the doorbell two or three times, and after hearing no response looked through a window and saw what he believed was a community stairway leading to a second-floor apartment. He opened the door, went upstairs, then knocked on a second door that was opened by the homeowner, Dave Uhrich.
Uhrich testified that he was shocked and upset that someone had come into his house uninvited.
Sayad's attorney, James Tatooles, argued that Sayad had no criminal intent, and was performing his official duties as an alderman.
But the judge said Sayad went about those duties the wrong way when he opened the outside door and went upstairs to Uhrich's second floor music studio.
Despite his arrest, Sayad won re-election in April.
Tatooles said Wednesday if Sayad does decide to appeal, a state appellate court would take up the matter. Tatooles and Cook County prosecutors would file written arguments, then a three-judge panel would evaluate the evidence, including transcripts from previous court hearings. The judges could ask to hear oral arguments from the attorneys or decide off the transcripts and written arguments.
Tatooles said it's not typical to appeal a misdemeanor.
"You have to be practical about it," Tatooles said. "The people in Des Plaines adore the guy. I don't think it will make a difference in the community because they love him. He went above the call of duty and got into a jam.
"I'm leaning toward not filing an appeal, but it's up to him. He's the client."