Kane County courts start dismantling electronic monitoring

Kane County has begun dismantling its electronic monitoring program that keeps tabs on criminal defendants who are not in jail, after the county board this week preliminarily approved a 2018 budget that cut all funding for the program.

Judges in the felony courtrooms Friday were telling defendants the electronic monitoring is no longer available, even though the new fiscal year doesn't begin until Dec. 1.

Chief Judge Susan Clancy Boles told the board's judicial and public safety committee Thursday that Court Services is also notifying all program participants, by mail, that they will have a hearing in the next 30 to 45 days to review the conditions of their bonds. Their monitoring devices will be removed at those hearings, she said. By Jan. 1, Court Services hopes to have collected all the monitors and shipped them back to the company that does the monitoring.

Sheriff Don Kramer told the committee he expects as many as 30 of the people could end up being jailed. That would put the jail over capacity, and he would likely have to board inmates at other counties' jails.

Electronic monitoring can be adjusted, depending on the conditions the judge sets. A person can be confined to their residence, or allowed to go to school, work, medical appointments and worship. One kind of monitoring uses GPS to determine whether a person is too close to an area they are prohibited from being at, such as the home or workplace of complainants in domestic violence cases.

There are 102 people on electronic home monitoring and 75 on GPS. Of the total, 97 are in the community, and the rest are in jail because they haven't posted the bond also required in their cases.

As for starting now, Lisa Aust, Court Services administrator, explained: "We need to decommission the program in an orderly and controlled way, and start before the end of this fiscal year in order to have this accomplished at the beginning of the next fiscal year." She said some cases may require several hearings.

Anklets off

One of the first hearings will happen Monday, for Scott Turyna, a St. Charles resident accused of trying to murder his wife by firing five gunshots at her in May 2016 in the driveway of their home. Prosecutors say he beat his wife, threatened to kill her, and knocked a phone out of her hand when she tried to call police.

Turyna was in court Friday - and due to return Monday - when Judge D.J. Tegeler informed him and his attorneys about the monitoring situation. Turyna's now-ex-wife, who was in the audience, gave a little gasp.

Tegeler said she will be offered the chance to testify at Monday's hearing.

Turyna is free on $50,000 bond. He is accused of violating the conditions of bond in June 2016, when he came within 1,500 feet of his ex-wife's home. His attorney contends that Turyna was merely visiting a bank, and that the attorney had given him incorrect advice about the limits.

Neighboring DuPage, Kendall, Cook and McHenry counties offer GPS or other electronic monitoring programs. So does Lake County.

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