Gliniewicz trial on hold again after prosecutors file another appeal
Melodie Gliniewicz's ongoing legal battle may be in line for another lengthy delay now that Lake County prosecutors have filed an appeal to a previous court ruling involving her cellphone text messages.
Assistant State's Attorney Ken LaRue filed a motion Wednesday to send the case to the state appellate court in an effort to overturn a ruling by Judge James Booras that blocked some text messages between Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz and his widow, Melodie, from being introduced at her trial to determine if the couple conspired to misuse charitable funds.
The decision could delay the case for an undetermined amount of time while awaiting a decision. It took about 18 months for an appellate court ruling on the first appeal of a similar issue in the case.
Melodie Gliniewicz's trial, previously scheduled for July, is on indefinite hold and no new court dates have been set.
The delay didn't sit well with defense attorney Don Morrison, who said in court, "we'll see you in 18 months, judge."
Morrison and LaRue did not comment on the case after the brief court hearing Wednesday.
Text messages between Melodie and Charles Gliniewicz are the crux of the case for prosecutors, who allege she conspired with her husband to misuse thousands of dollars earmarked for the Fox Lake youth Explorer post before his death Sept. 1, 2015.
Melodie Gliniewicz, 53, of Antioch Township, has pleaded not guilty to felony unlawful use of charitable funds, conspiracy and money laundering. 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 her cellphone could be introduced at trial because she previously signed a waiver allowing officers investigating her husband's death to examine her phone records. However, Booras ruled in the same hearing that prosecutors cannot introduce text messages from Charles Gliniewicz's cellphone at her trial because he never granted law enforcement access to his phone before his death.
LaRue said some text messages between the couple were found during a data extraction of Charles Gliniewicz's phone, but were not found on Melodie Gliniewicz's phone. LaRue did not allege some messages were erased intentionally from Melodie Gliniewicz's phone, but said the text messages in question do not exist.
Morrison has argued successfully that 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.
This is the second time the appellate court is being asked to rule on these text messages. 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, which ordered Booras to hold another hearing on the issue because of the waiver Melodie Gliniewicz signed.
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.