Gliniewicz scores small court victory, case returns to appellate court

  • Melodie Gliniewicz

    Melodie Gliniewicz

 
 
Updated 5/31/2018 7:26 PM

The widow of Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz scored a small victory in court Thursday after a Lake County judge ruled against reopening a previous decision on text and email messages the couple shared.

Judge James Booras said prosecutors did not give a valid reason for him to hold another hearing on whether to allow at trial the electronic communication between Melodie Gliniewicz and Joseph Gliniewicz before he killed himself in September 2015.

 

Melodie Gliniewicz, 53, of Antioch Township, has pleaded not guilty to charges of unlawful use of charitable funds, conspiracy and money laundering. Authorities allege she helped her husband misuse thousands of dollars from the Fox Lake police Explorer youth program. If found guilty at trial, she could be sentenced up to seven years in prison.

Thursday's ruling by Booras sends the case back to the appellate court for a decision on whether the state will be able to introduce the couple's electronic communication at trial.

At issue is a previously missing consent form Melodie Gliniewicz signed that granted the FBI authorization to search her cellphone. Prosecutors allege her signature on the form in October 2015 gives prosecutors the right to bypass the state's marital privilege laws, allowing them to introduce the text and email messages at trial.

However, defense attorney Donald Morrison argued prosecutors did not bring up the form during previous hearings, and if they had, it would not have affected the outcome of Booras' previous decision.

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In court, Morrison said the delays mean Melodie Gliniewicz has been unable to get on with her life after the death of her husband. The case has been delayed for more than two years due to various hearings and the appellate court decision.

"All this time, Melodie Gliniewicz's life is on hold," Morrison said. "It's on hold financially, it's on hold emotionally."

Booras previously ruled the messages would not be allowed at trial because the state's marital privilege laws protect communications between a husband and wife.

However, Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Kenneth LaRue said the consent form showed she opened the door to let authorities search her phone and introduce evidence within.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

LaRue said prosecutors did not introduce the form in previous hearings because they were unable to locate it until April 2015. Once it was found, LaRue pushed to introduce it to the appellate court.

Rather than ruling on the new evidence, the appellate court sent the case back to Booras to see if he would have ruled differently.

The charges against Melodie Gliniewicz surfaced after her husband was found shot to death in a secluded area of Fox Lake on Sept. 1, 2015. Investigators initially believed he died in the line of duty but later discovered he killed himself and made it appear as if he'd been gunned down.

Investigators claimed he was trying to cover up an embezzlement of funds from the Explorer post. Authorities said the couple used those funds to pay for a trip to Hawaii, movie tickets, pornography websites and more than 400 restaurant charges.

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