Crime & Courts

Messages between disgraced Fox Lake cop and widow could come out at trial

Melodie Gliniewicz
Melodie Gliniewicz

Messages between former Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles “Joe” Gliniewicz and his wife could be used to help bolster the state’s criminal case against the woman.

According to a recent appellate decision, a Lake County judge should have entertained a hearing to determine whether the couple’s electronic communication could be used at trial, based on the state’s evidence that Melodie Gliniewicz consented to a police search of her phone in 2015.

Melodie Gliniewicz was charged about three months after Lake County Major Crimes Task Force investigators announced that her husband shot and killed himself on the job.

Melodie Gliniewicz is accused of playing a role in laundering money and using more than $10,000 worth of charitable funds from a nonprofit police explorer program that her husband ran.

Detectives have said the money funded a trip to Hawaii, among other, smaller personal purchases.

Melodie Gliniewicz’s attorney, Donald Morrison, previously had asked the judge to keep prosecutors from presenting any communication between the couple at trial.

Initially, the decision teetered between two kinds of protections often granted to married couples. The first keeps spouses from having to testify against one another, and the second protects them from having to testify specifically about their private commutations.

In May 2017, Judge James Booras ruled the text messages and emails were privileged, and the case was put on hold as prosecutors fought the decision in the Illinois Appellate Court.

Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Ken LaRue came back in May, however, and argued new evidence proved Melodie Gliniewicz allowed the FBI to search her phone in 2015. The newly obtained signed waiver overrode any marital protections, he said.

Still, Booras refused to go back on his previous ruling and sent the matter back to the appellate court May 31.

In a 21-page decision issued Friday, Appellate Justice Joe Birkett wrote that Booras was wrong to not reopen the hearing after learning about the signed FBI waiver.

The case will return to Lake County court on an undetermined date for a hearing.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Morrison declined to say whether he would fight the appellate court’s decision.

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