Editors Note: The following is a response from Winnebago County States Attorney Paul Logli regarding Jake Richards case.
To the editor of The Rock River Times:
I am writing in response to the guest column by Jake Richards scheduled to appear in this weeks edition of the newspaper. Both he and his stepfather, Robert Sewell, were charged in December of 2002 with the felony offense of aggravated unlawful possession of special mobile equipment. On Feb. 4, 2003, Mr. Sewell pled guilty to the reduced charge of solicitation to commit the offense of theft, a misdemeanor. He was placed on court supervision for one year and fined $500. At the time he entered his guilty plea in open court, the assistant states attorney on the case informed the judge of the facts supporting the guilty plea. Essentially, Mr. Sewell paid $2,500 in cash for a Bobcat (a small earth-moving machine) that had been stolen a few hours earlier from Rock River Barge and Enterprises on Park Ridge Road in Loves Park. The owner of that company placed the value of the Bobcat and other accessories stolen with it (two scoop buckets, steel tracks, a trailer to haul it with, etc.) at more than $33,000. The case against Jake Richards involving the same stolen Bobcat is still pending and is set for a bench trial before a judge alone on Dec. 1, 2003. Illinois Supreme Court ethical rules prevent me from commenting upon the facts of this pending case, except to say that my office amended the charge against Mr. Richards to solicitation to commit the offense of theft; we intend to prosecute that case to its conclusion. Other persons accused of actually stealing the Bobcat and the accessories from the Park Ridge Road address were charged with and convicted of felony offenses.
Mr. Richards other assertions regarding crime statistics and jail population simply do not reflect the truth. Victims report crimes to local law enforcement agencies. Investigations by police officers and detectives result in the arrest and charging of defendants who populate the jail while awaiting trial or are serving sentences following conviction. Mr. Richards statement that many of these people are actually innocent simply does not reflect the actual high rate of pleas and convictions, or worse, asks the people of this community to believe that victims, witnesses, police, and court personnel are all involved in serious conspiratorial fabrications. His thoughts and opinions, while clearly his own, are far removed from reality, facts, and common sense.
Paul A. Logli (by First Deputy David D. Koski)
Winnebago County States Attorney