Judge agrees to do-over for Gliniewicz case ruling
A Lake County judge hit the reset button on the Melodie Gliniewicz theft case Wednesday, vacating a key ruling that preserved several of the charges against the Fox Lake police officer's widow.
Judge James Booras agreed to a motion by defense attorney Donald Morrison to vacate the earlier ruling made by Judge Victoria Rossetti, who removed herself as judge of the case for unknown reasons Sept. 12. Morrison's request was supported by Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Scott Turk in court Wednesday.
The decision stemmed from a defense effort to dismiss charges of unlawful use of charitable funds exceeding $1,000 brought against Gliniewicz, 51, of Antioch Township.
Rossetti pulled herself from the case, stating in court she wanted to avoid the appearance of impropriety due to a potential conflict of interest. No details about the potential conflict were released and Rossetti has not commented further.
Booras said in court Wednesday that "every judge has the right under the constitution" to recuse themselves from any case.
"Judge Rossetti has her reasons," he added.
Melodie Gliniewicz faces felony and misdemeanor counts of conspiracy, unlawful use of charitable funds for personal gain, and money laundering. If found guilty of all charges, she could be sentenced to a maximum seven years in prison, authorities said. Probation also would be possible.
She was charged after an investigation into her deceased husband -- Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz -- showed they had been using money donated to the Fox Lake Law Enforcement Explorer Post 300 for their own purposes, authorities said. Joe Gliniewicz killed himself Sept. 1, 2015 -- staging it to appear as if he'd been killed in the line of duty -- because he feared the thefts would be uncovered, authorities say.
Investigators found inconsistencies in financial documents involving Joe Gliniewicz while investigating his death, police said. Money from the Explorer fund was used to pay for a trip to Hawaii, coffee shop purchases, tickets for the Fox Lake Theatre, and more than 400 restaurant charges, authorities have said.
Melodie Gliniewicz, who has pleaded not guilty, served as a citizen adviser for the post. Her trial is scheduled for Nov. 14. Both sides are due back in court Nov. 11.