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Judge rejects sanctions call against McHenry Co. state's attorney's office

By Charles Keeshan | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 12/31/2009 4:32 PM

The McHenry County State's Attorney does not have to pay a Fox Lake man's legal costs for defending himself on an appeal ultimately determined to be without merit, a judge ruled Thursday.

Judge Gordon Graham denied Alex W. Bobnic's request for a $2,500 sanction against the prosecutor's office, finding that while unnecessary, the appeal was not filed to intentionally harass the Fox Lake man or drive up his legal costs.

"There was confusion, clearly, but I don't think it was done for purposes that were improper," Graham said.

Bobnic attorney George Kililis said he plans to appeal the decision, calling the prosecutors actions "clearly harassment."

Graham's decision comes two weeks after Kililis appeared before the court seeking the $2,500 sanction. That was the amount Kililis said Bobnic paid him to fight an appeal of a court ruling that ultimately led prosecutors to dismiss a DUI charge against him.

Bobnic, 37, was arrested near McHenry in October 2008 on allegations of drunken driving, but the misdemeanor charge was dropped after Graham granted a motion to bar improper evidence central to the case.

Prosecutors appealed, but not the ruling to bar evidence. Instead, they asked an appellate court to overturn Graham's decision to hear the defense motion.

The Illinois Appellate Prosecutor's office later refused to pursue the appeal, finding it baseless.

Kililis argued that the state's attorney's office knew the appeal was baseless, but filed it anyhow to harass Bobnic.

"They unnecessarily raised the legal fees of a man who doesn't have a job," he said. "It is really outrageous."

Assistant McHenry County State's Attorney Robert Malen dismissed those allegations, saying their intentions were valid.

"This is hardly egregious," he said. "What we have here was a case where the state, in good faith, reviewed the case with an appellate prosecutor."

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