Speculation Abounds As To Melissa Calusinski Appeal, As Filing Not Yet Made Public.



Image result for melissa calusinski

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.

Melissa Calusinski’s request for ‘Oral Argument’. Filed in May 2017.

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.

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Mike Nerheim. State Attorney for Lake County, Illinois.

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


  • mm
    James Didcock


    Writer at betherain.org Non profit organisation detailing Justice Reform and Environmental Issues. Get involved and make a difference.

  • Show Comments (6)

  • JJacks

    I hope I’m wrong, but sealing their reply has a “political” feel to it. Wouldn’t surprise me if they come back with an Alford Plea.

    Unless the State had nothing to hide, they wouldn’t have provided TWO sets of X-Rays. It was misleading as hell, there is NO excuse for the State Prosecutor to do this.

    I hope I’m wrong and Melissa is exonerated. The Civil Suit is begging to be filed 🙂

  • HBarrett

    Melissa would never admit to anything,there never was an skull fracture. The jury kept hearing he died from a skull fracture from a 2 to 3 story fall. That their last witness said he touched it which was false testimony. So in light of all this I doubt the jury would have found her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt!

    • mm
      James Didcock

      I agree with everything you said Helen. Either Dr. Montez committed perjury on the stand or he is incompetent in mistaking a suture for a fracture. One way or the other, there was no fracture.

  • Isabell Cardonick

    There is SO much evidence that Melissa is innocent. There simply was no murder. Poor little Ben died of a prior head injury that was never taken care of by his family/pediatrician. The real crime here is the injustice that Melissa has suffered. She has had years of her life stolen from her by Nerheim and his cronies. They are the guilty ones!

  • Jodie Nettelhorst

    Thank you for your article James. We need to keep Melisa and her case in the news and on people’s minds until she is free.

    I read the article that Mike Nerheim co-authored. Although it sounds nice I am extremely skeptical. I asked him in an email last March, 2017 if his Independent Review Board or Case Review Panel, of which he seems particularly proud, ever had a chance to review Melissa’s case. This is his response

    “This case was the first case that I reviewed upon taking office in 2012. I reviewed the case prior to establishing the Case Review Panel so the case was not formally presented to them because they were not in existence at the time of my review. They are aware of the case and all of the defendant’s assertions though.”

    This is another one of his responses. “I can tell you that I thoroughly reviewed the entire case and believe that Melissa Calusinski is guilty. If I believed otherwise, I would say so.”

    It is hard for me to believe anything he says if he can watch Melissa’s interrogation and walk away believing she is guilty.

    • mm
      James Didcock

      Thank you for your comment Jodie. Sadly some review boards or CUI’s are more competent than others. If Kathleen is granted an Oral Argument before the judges at the Appeals Court in Elgin then we will likely see some progress. She will get Melissa out. Keep the faith.

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