Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wyatt case continued to Aug. 29

After a short hearing today, in which brief oral arguments were made on a Motion to Dismiss, the case of Jenn Wyatt was continued to August 29.

Kim Messer, Assistant Public Defender for Wyatt, argued that the charges, as filed, did not meet the statute's requirements. Michael Combs, Assistant State's Attorney and Chief of the Criminal Division, argued that it did.

The statute (720 ILCS 5/31-4) reads, in part:
    Sec. 31-4. Obstructing justice.
    A person obstructs justice when, with intent to prevent the apprehension or obstruct the prosecution or defense of any person, he knowingly commits any of the following acts:
    (a) Destroys, alters, conceals or disguises physical evidence, plants false evidence, furnishes false information; or ..."

Here's the problem: The case of Beth Bentley is a Missing Person case. No one in authority has ever asserted that a crime has been committed. No one has been named a suspect in over two years since Beth disappeared. No one has been even named a "person-of-interest".

So anything that Jenn might have told the Woodstock Police cannot obstruct justice with intent to prevent the apprehension of any person. There is no "person". She cannot have obstructed the prosecution of any person, because no person has ever been named. Likewise, she cannot have obstructed the defense of any person. Again, there is no "person".

Did she furnish false information? First you have to prevent or obstruct; then the means of so doing come into play in this statute.

If there is no "person", then doesn't everything else fail?

Judge Condon gave himself four weeks to ponder this issue. All will be back in court on Wednesday, August 29, 9:00AM, in Courtroom 302.

Thanks to Miss Messer for speaking up. She speaks loudly, clearly and confidently at the bench. I could hear what she was saying.

I could hear most of what Mr. Combs said; not all.

And I could hear very little of what Judge Condon said. I had to wait until court recessed to ask what his ruling was in this case.

1 comment:

Stacy said...

Thank you, Gus, for keeping Beth Bentley in the news and for keeping us updated on Jenn Wyatt's court case.