Trial delayed for DuPage judge accused of reckless conduct
A scheduled trial for DuPage Judge Patrick O'Shea, who is accused of reckless misconduct for firing his gun inside his Wheaton apartment, has been delayed.
Prosecutors sought, and a Kane County judge granted, a continuance in the case until Feb. 20. The move prompted O'Shea's attorney, Terry Ekl, to file a demand for a speedy trial.
Ekl said O'Shea is "anxious" to have the case tried so he can seek to return to the bench in DuPage County.
"We objected to the continuance and indicated that no compelling reason existed to put off the trial," Ekl said. "It is important that this case be resolved as soon as possible."
The case was moved to Kane County to eliminate potential conflicts of interest.
The Executive Committee of the DuPage Circuit Court, which includes the presiding judges of the court's five divisions, stripped O'Shea of his judicial duties after he was charged with the misdemeanor offense.
Trial Court Administrator John Lapinski confirmed Thursday that there have been no changes in O'Shea's status since he was removed from the bench.
The complaint against O'Shea stems from Sept. 15, when authorities say he fired a bullet through a common wall in his Wheaton apartment. His neighbors later found the bullet in their living room.
The complaint says O'Shea "pulled the trigger without first determining that the firearm was not loaded, causing the firearm to discharge, causing a bullet to enter the living area of the adjoining apartment."
If convicted, O'Shea could face a sentence ranging from court supervision to one year in DuPage County jail and fines up to $2,500.
O'Shea, 67, of the 200 block of Willow Avenue, is free on a $5,000 recognizance bond.
A neighbor noticed a hole in the west wall of her living room after returning home from work about 4 p.m. Sept. 15 and reported it to the apartment complex's management office, according to a Wheaton police report obtained by the Daily Herald through a Freedom of Information Act request.
On Sept. 24, the neighbors told police they found what appeared to be a spent bullet on their living room floor. They turned the bullet over to police along with photographs they had taken of their damaged wall.
Police reports say O'Shea gave property managers at least three different excuses for the hole, including that he accidentally put a screwdriver through the wall while hanging a mirror and that his son accidentally caused the hole while using a pneumatic nail gun.
Ekl previously called the shooting an "accidental discharge of a gun" which O'Shea believed to be unloaded.
As a condition of his bond, O'Shea was ordered to turn in all his weapons, ammunition, FOID card and concealed carry permit to Wheaton police.