July 29, 2008
JOLIET – The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office announces it will appeal Associate Judge Edward Burmila’s decision on Tuesday to dismiss drug dealing charges and release from custody a defendant alleged to have possessed more than 500 grams of cocaine and more than 700 grams of marijuana.
Judge Burmila had previously ordered the state to turn over to a defense attorney the date and time frame that an undercover police informant visited an alleged drug house.
Prosecutors, however, declined. They argued in court that turning over the information to the defense would essentially identify the undercover police informant and could jeopardize the informant’s safety. The prosecution also argued the judge had abused his discretion in ordering the disclosure and that the defense had not established the legal basis to show the disclosure was warranted.
The State’s Attorney’s Office will move forward immediately to file an appeal with regard to the judge’s dismissal of the case. The office’s goal is to have the charges reinstated so the state can litigate the criminal case against Donnie Creal Jr., 33, of Joliet, (Case Number 2008CF375). Creal was indicted by a Grand Jury for unlawful possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) with intent to deliver and unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver.
The cocaine charge is a Class X felony that carries a minimum sentence of 12 years in prison with no option for probation upon conviction. The cannabis charge is a Class 2 felony that carries up to seven years in prison upon conviction.
Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow praised his top prosecutors for taking such a principled position on this important case.
“These fine prosecutors displayed the utmost respect for the court and the judge. But they were placed in an impossible situation in their struggle to protect the safety of a confidential police informant during the prosecution of a major drug case,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “We are confident we will be successful on appeal and this case will be reinstated.”
Joliet Police Chief Fred Hayes, whose department executed the search warrant and arrested Creal in the drug case, commended the prosecutors for protecting the undercover informant.
“The decision by Judge Burmila to release the defendant could endanger the safety of our informant and will require the immediate and costly relocation of the informant,” Chief Hayes said. “Additionally, this ruling will have a serious chilling effect on our informant network. Law enforcement must have the ability to obtain credible information from undercover sources and then protect them from retaliation if we are to be successful in shielding our children from dangerous street drugs.”
The Will County State's Attorney's Office reminds the public that charges and indictments are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Charles B. Pelkie
(815) 530-7110 (cellular)
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