Man convicted of threatening to 'light up' courthouse wants to be his own attorney

Updated 1/30/2018 6:39 PM
  • Daniel Pederson

    Daniel Pederson

A California man convicted in 2016 of threatening to "light up" the Lake County courthouse and Gurnee Police Department has filed a request to serve as his own attorney in future court proceedings.

Daniel Pederson, 36, of Calabasas also has filed motions with the court to discharge public defenders Keith Grant and Jack Idlas, and he asked the court to schedule hearing to show he received ineffectual counsel during his trial. Lake County Judge Mark Levitt scheduled a hearing Friday to hear those motions.

By law, a person is allowed to file a motion to represent themselves in felony court. It's up to a judge to decide whether a person should be allowed to do so.

Pederson was convicted of making a terrorist threat after he called the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services on Sept. 12, 2014, and told an operator, "I'm going to light up the Lake County courthouse and the Gurnee Police Department."

The call came in after Pederson's driver's license was suspended in California for falling behind on child support, authorities said.

He faces up to 30 years in prison when sentenced.

Sentencing for Pederson has been on hold since April 2016, after Levitt determined Pederson was mentally unfit to understand and assist with court proceedings against him.

After Pederson's numerous stays at an Illinois Department of Health facility in Elgin, Levitt determined Jan. 11 that he was mentally fit to continue his prison sentencing. That proceeding is again on hold after Pederson filed the latest court motions.

During past Lake County court appearances, Pederson routinely interrupted proceedings with outbursts directed at his attorneys, people in the gallery, witnesses and the judge. However, on Tuesday, Pederson was not combative with Levitt in making special requests to have a legal pad of paper and a court-issued address book supplied to him in Lake County jail.

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