News on Lake County, Illinois’ response to ‘Oral Argument’, requested by Melissa Calusinski’s attorneys has been slow to Materialise. Since Ms. Calusinski’s filing in May of this year, the state’s continued requests for extensions were exhausted with their final request to the 2nd District’s Appeals Court in Elgin Illinois, coming back in September of this year. The deadline for the filing of their response was rescheduled for Nov. 21.
Be The Rain contacted the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Erin Cartwright Weinstein to inquire if the state’s response was available. We were informed that nothing had been filed as of close of business on Nov. 21. Reasons for the unavailability of the state’s filing were potentially manifold.
Filings need only be postmarked as to the due date of deadlines. Dependant on the mode of delivery, the actual date of receipt can vary, with standard mailing often taking a matter of days to reach its intended destination. Added to that, the timing of the state’s response fell 2 days prior to the Thanksgiving public holiday. With most, but not all Judicial Offices closed on the following day after Thanksgiving, the next possible date for an update from the Clerk’s Office was Monday 27. Nov.
Further requests over the week following Thanksgiving, offered more clarity as to the filing. News from the 2nd District’s Appeals Court in Elgin, Illinois, suggested that the state’s response was ‘Under Seal’ or ‘In Camera.’ Lake County, presently does not file electronically. To receive any ‘Public Records,’ one may visit the Clerk’s Office and make copies of records for an undisclosed fee. When viewing Ms. Calusinski’s docket, no updates as to legal filings had, or have been made for more than a year. No record for Ms. Calusinski’s request for ‘Oral Argument’, filed in May of 2017 appears on the docket.
Paul Calusinski, father of appellate Melissa Calusinski, posted on Social Media on Tues. 28 with the following message: ‘We will be posting the brief from the state att[orney] as soon [as] KZ [Kathleen Zellner, Ms. Calusinski’s attorney] gives us the ok. Just came in, stand by/I will post the brief asap.’
News that the state’s response was not available for public consumption as yet does not necessarily bode well or badly for Ms. Calusinski. What it does suggest however, is the possibility of sensitive information in relation to her appeal.
Whilst news from Mike Nerheim, State Attorney for Lake County has been slow in materialising, the fact that his response has been guarded offers hope to those that feel Ms Calusinski’s conviction for the murder of Benjamin Kingan in January of 2009 was unjust.
A recent article, co-penned by Mr. Nerheim, published via ‘The Hill’, spoke of ‘wrongful convictions threatening public trust in justice.’ The hope that Lake County will endeavour to follow in the footsteps of Cook County, and its State Attorney, Kim Foxx, in progressive steps such as the formation of Conviction Integrity Units offers hope that possible miscarriages of justice can be righted.
Be The Rain will offer a further, more in depth update to Ms. Calusinski’s appeal once the state’s response has been made available to the public. With the number of wrongful convictions being overturned increasing yearly, through the advancements in not only forensic testing, but also the willingness of State Attorneys to revisit possible miscarriages of justice, added to the confidence in Ms. Calusinski’s highly lauded defence attorney’s, we are hopeful that Ms. Calusinski’s appeal will be heard before the 2nd District’s Appeals Court.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or queries relating to this article via either:
email- jdidcock@betherain or twitter- JamesDidcock@51kikey
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