Gliniewicz case could head back to state appellate court

 
 
Updated 4/23/2019 7:08 PM
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  • Melodie Gliniewicz

    Melodie Gliniewicz

Prosecutors will decide whether to again ask the state appellate court to rule on a previous Lake County court decision involving cellphone text messages in the Melodie Gliniewicz criminal case.

Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Ken LaRue lost another bid Tuesday to have text messages from Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz's phone introduced at the future trial of his widow. That prompted LaRue to say it's "undecided" whether he will appeal to the appellate court.

Text messages between Melodie and Charles Gliniewicz are the crux of the case for prosecutors, who allege Melodie Gliniewicz conspired with her husband to misuse money earmarked for the Fox Lake youth Explorer post.

Melodie Gliniewicz, 53, of Antioch Township, has pleaded not guilty to felony unlawful use of charitable funds, conspiracy and money laundering. Authorities allege she helped her husband misuse thousands of dollars from the youth program. She could face up to seven years in prison if found guilty at trial.

Judge James Booras ruled April 10 that some text messages discovered on Melodie Gliniewicz's phone could be introduced at trial because she signed a waiver allowing the officers investigating her husband's death to examine her phone records. Booras also ruled prosecutors will not be allowed to introduce text messages from Charles Gliniewicz's phone at her trial because he never granted law enforcement access to his phone before his 2015 death.

LaRue said in a previous court hearing that specific text messages Booras blocked include several between the couple that were found during a data extraction of Charles Gliniewicz's phone but were not found on Melodie Gliniewicz's phone.

Prosecutors have not alleged Melodie Gliniewicz intentionally deleted messages before giving her phone to police; they said only the text messages in question do not exist.

Defense attorney Donald Morrison has routinely argued electronic communications between the couple are protected under Illinois marital privilege laws. Those laws ensure spouses can communicate with each other without fear of court disclosure.

If LaRue appeals Booras's decision, it would be the second request for the appellate court to rule on text messages. It also would mean another lengthy delay.

In 2017, Booras initially barred prosecutors from using all communications between the couple at trial because of marital privilege. Prosecutors sent the case to the state appellate court, where it languished for about 18 months.

The appeals court then ordered that Booras reconsider the matter because of the waiver signed by Melodie Gliniewicz.

Authorities allege Charles and Melodie Gliniewicz stole thousands of dollars from the Explorer post and used that money to pay for a trip to Hawaii, movie tickets, pornography websites and more than 400 restaurant charges.

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

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