What happens when you want to cross the border at 2200 N. Seminary and enter the McHenry County Government Center? Whose building is it, anyway?
At the main public (west) entrance and at the less-frequently used east entrance to the Government Center are "border" checkpoints. So far, you don't have to show your identification card or state your name, but you are required to pass through electronic scanners and to empty your pockets into plastic trays.
What goes in the trays? Pens, pencils, keys, wallets, purses, coins and all metallic objects that will cause the walk-through scanner alarm to sound an alert. Quite often, a belt buckle will trigger the alarm, requiring the wearer to back up through the scanner, remove the belt and buckle, and pass again through the scanner.
Posted on the front doors is a list of prohibited items: guns, knifes, box cutters, pepper spray, cameras, tape recorders and other items that would pose a threat if used as a weapon inside the courthouse. What happens if you have any of these items with you when you attempt to enter the courthouse?
Aside from guns, you will be asked to take the prohibited item(s) back to your vehicle. If you don't wish to (for example, you are late for court), then the court security officer (CSO) will tell you that you can turn in the item AND that it will not be returned to you.
In the first week in August I followed a woman through the security line and she had a prohibited item. She told the CSO to keep it. He explained that it would not be returned to her and had her deposit it in a box that contained other items which he said had been forfeited that day.
Now, suppose you enter the courthouse and place all pocket items in the plastic tray to be examined by the CSO. He will feel and flex a man's wallet to be sure it contains no stiff item that might be used as a weapon, check the cell phone (to be sure it's not a bomb), click a ballpoint pen (to be sure it's really a pen and not a bomb). Let's also suppose that in addition to those items are some paper items.
Should it matter what those paper items are? Can the CSO prevent a person from carrying any paper items (file folders, notes, business cards) into the courthouse? Should the CSO prevent a person from taking such items into the building?
What if a CSO spots some item that he might recognize as a small political campaign card among the papers? Should he tell the bearer that such printed material is not allowed into the courthouse "because this is Sheriff Nygren's building"?
Does such material become "paraphernalia" just because a CSO declares it to be so? Can a CSO confiscate it without making any written record? Can a CSO who confiscates paper (not remotely close to any prohibited item) refuse to identify himself or refuse to reveal his employee badge number?
This is Woodstock. This is McHenry County. This is not Russia. This is not Mexico. This is not China or Bolivia.
Is a CSO confiscating such paper campaign cards actually committing a crime (theft) by taking such paper from a person entering the courthouse?
If there is a General Order by the Sheriff or the Chief of Court Security to confiscate such material? If I walk in with some political literature of Sheriff Keith Nygren, will it be confiscated?
You had better belief that, as soon as I return to Woodstock, I shall make my first stop the McHenry County Government Center, and I'll just happen to have some "paper" for my campaign with me. If I am prevented from entering a public building or said paper is taken from me, it will take the Woodstock Police about five minutes to get there and there will be a big stink.
The Government Center is not the Sheriff's building. This building belongs to the People. The sheriff is only in charge of security of the building.