Monday, July 5, 2010

Another lawsuit against MCSD!

In an article on this blog on August 29, 2009, I wrote about McHenry County Sheriff's Department Corrections Officer Elias Fortoso, who was placed on paid administrative leave following reports of "custodial sexual misconduct" with inmates.

What brought Fortoso's case to mind?

On April 6th Jana Nelson filed a civil rights lawsuit against Fortoso, Sheriff Keith Nygren and the County of McHenry. If you have access to cases and have an interest, check out Case Number 1:2010cv02109 in the Illinois Northern District Court.

January, February, March, April and May of 2009 were not the best of months for Nelson, who found herself charged with traffic violations and felonies in several jurisdictions. Circuit Court records indicated she might be the guest of the Illinois Department of Corrections for ten years.

A check on pending cases in McHenry County Circuit Court shows that Judge Prather is waiting to greet Fortoso at 9:00AM on July 30th, but that's "just" a status hearing for a trial date. Fortoso has already has ten court dates. Early ones were the usual, and then the games began with continuance after continuance after continuance.

I wonder if anyone (like maybe the Court Administrator) has done a study to determine not only the number of continuances in court cases, but the "real" reasons for them. If it is just stalling and the routine granting of delays, then the judges need to drop the gavels and put a stop to it. Judges grant 30 days, and they ought to expect that meaningful work on a case will be done during that period.

What does a spreadsheet of cases for and against the McHenry County Sheriff's Department look like? What is the financial exposure to the County with these cases? What is the estimate of legal expenses for these cases?

No doubt that any Sheriff's Department will find itself involved in some court cases? Some will be frivilous, but they have to be defended. Others?

Like to know more about the Fortoso case? Go to and search for Fortoso. If he's innocent or found Not Guilty, too much time has passed to determine this. And if he's not? Too much time has passed to determine this.

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