Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pavlins v. MCSD - settled?

Rumor has it that a major Federal civil rights lawsuit against the McHenry County Sheriff's Department (MCSD) has been settled.

Jerome and Carla Pavlin filed the suit after criminal charges against them were dismissed. Felony charges had been lodged against Jerome, then 80, and Carla, then 65, following service of a warrant against their son at their home by numerous deputies of the Sheriff's Department.

After the son was in custody, the Pavlins ordered deputies out of their home. Instead, the deputies refused to leave, some wishing to search the house. Mr. and Mrs. Pavlin were manhandled and injured, and then they were arrested for resisting arrest. That would explain injuries, right? Or so deputies perhaps hoped. The charges were filed on March 15, 2008.

I met the Pavlins in the Fall of 2008. From the beginning I believed in their innocence, but I didn't write about their side of the story until the criminal case was complete.

On July 14, 2009, the charges were dismissed with prejudice. I was in the courtroom when the Assistant State's Attorney explained to Mr. and Mrs. Pavlin that "with prejudice" meant that charges would not be re-filed against them.

It is not known yet what the settlement is. The actions of the deputies involved were so heinous that the award should be high. Hopefully, the public will be informed of the settlement. The public deserves to know what the actions of the deputies that night will cost the taxpayers.

It is also not known whether disciplinary actions, if any, were taken against the deputies.

There was a court ruling previously that the warrant for their son's arrest was improperly served. The deputies were not legally entitled to enter the Pavlin residence. There are deputies at MCSD who still do not understand, or perhaps are unwilling to understand, that the entry into the Pavlin's home was illegal. The necessary training should be provided, so that such an incident does not recur.

The ruling on the illegal entry came too late for the Pavlin's son, who made a "deal" on his case. It would have cost considerable legal fees to hang on and fight. Many people understanding "dealing", because they can't afford the fight.

Mr. and Mrs. Pavlin could.

The court's decision should result in a major shake-up in the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, starting right at the top. They "circled the wagons" fast in 2008 and put together their reports. It was clear within a few months that MCSD did not have a case, but prosecution continued. The Court's decision should result in the departure of several key and line deputies from MCSD, but it probably won't.

The Pavlins left their large, nice home in McHenry County just outside Crystal Lake and moved out of state. It's a real shame when senior citizens are afraid that bullying deputies will return to their home.

Congratulations to the Pavlins for going outside McHenry County for legal advice and an attorney who had no fear of "the law" in McHenry County.

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