Ex-Kane County deputy asks to withdraw plea, cites 'bad mood' of judge
A former Kane County sheriff deputy sentenced to 30 days in jail on a misdemeanor charge for illegally possessing prescription medication has filed a motion to withdraw her plea on claims the judge was "in a bad mood" when handing down the jail sentence, a lawyer said in court documents.
Attorney Douglas Zeit filed motions to withdraw the plea and vacate the judgment against Kimberly Zinke, and substitute Lake County Circuit Judge Patricia Fix off the case.
In the court documents obtained Wednesday, Zeit said Fix showed "bias and hostility" toward Zinke regarding the plea deal and jail sentence. Those judicial bias deprived Zinke of her rights, the document reads
"I thought the judge was extremely unfair and highly prejudicial to Kim Zinke," Zeit said after Wednesday's court hearing.
The documents say the burden of proof of bias took place when Fix left the bench immediately after issuing the jail sentence, then refused to return to court to answer legal questions regarding the sentence.
"The trial court's response to the requests of her assistance in legal matters related to the sentence was limited to relaying the message that she already issued her ruling and that she was in a bad mood," the document reads.
Fix did not offer a reaction to the documents in court Wednesday, aside from directing the motions be sent to McHenry County Chief Circuit Judge Michael J. Sullivan for review April 11.
Sullivan can choose to rule or recuse himself from the case and send it back to Lake County.
Zinke, a former Kane County sheriff deputy, was charged in June 2016 with felony counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance. It was alleged she kept medications that were to be delivered to an evidence vault at the Kane County sheriff's office.
As part of the investigation, authorities placed marked pill bottles in a prescription dropbox in the Pingree Grove Police Department lobby April 16, 2015. Officers used cameras to see if Zinke delivered the medication to the sheriff's office. The marked bottles never made it.
The case was initially sent to McHenry County courts, but prosecutors kicked the case to Lake County because Kimberly Zinke's husband, Andrew, served as McHenry County undersheriff for former Sheriff Ken Nygren for four years.
Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Reggie Matthews was assigned as special prosecutor, and he and Zeit worked out a plea deal to have Kimberly Zinke plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of attempted unlawful possession of a controlled substance. The felony charges were dropped as part of the guilty plea. Zinke also entered into an Alford plea, meaning she admitted the prosecution could prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt but she did not concede guilt.
During the March 1 hearing, Fix sentenced Zinke to 12 months of conditional discharge in addition to the 30 days in jail. Of the jail sentence, Zinke was required to serve seven days immediately, with the remaining 23 days stayed until the end of the conditional discharge sentence.
Zinke served one day in Lake County jail, due to credit for time already served and day-for-day credits.