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Local

Dixon's absences have judge's 'patience wearing thin'

Lee County SA has failed to show for hearings for former official

OREGON – An Ogle County judge voiced her displeasure Tuesday with a special prosecutor who has missed several court dates.

Associate Circuit Judge Kathleen Kauffmann said she will set just one more court date to give Lee County State's Attorney Henry Dixon or one of his assistants an opportunity to appear.

"My patience is wearing thin," Kauffmann said. "We're going to give the special prosecutor one more chance. If he misses the next court date, I will dismiss this case for lack of prosecution. If it's not important enough to be present, it's not important enough to go forward with."

Kauffmann set Jan. 14 as the next hearing date for former Oregon City Commissioner James Tegtmeyer, 47, who is charged with computer tampering, a Class 4 felony, and misdemeanor theft.

Tegtmeyer, who now lives in Green Bay, Wis., was chargedáMarch 20 with accessing a computer at the Shell station in Oregon without the permission of the owner, Johnson Oil, on Dec. 30 and altering a computer program.

He also is charged with the theft of $380 from a cash machine at the gas station.

At that time, Tegtmeyer was employed by a company that services ATMs at businesses in the area.

Dixon was appointed as special prosecutor in the case at the request of Ogle County State's Attorney John B. Roe because of a potential conflict of interest involving an Ogle County official.

Kauffmann dismissed the computer tampering charge against Tegtmeyer on June 13 due to a constitutional issue.

Dixon did not attend that hearing but sent an order to the judge with defense attorney Paul Whitcombe asking that the charge be dismissed.

Dixon said subsequently that the computing tampering law, which went into effect July 1, 2011, is too broad.

The state Legislature failed to assign criminal intent to the statute, Dixon said, which means it denies due process and is unconstitutional.

Whitcombe had previously raised the issue of constitutionality in a motion to dismiss.

However, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a motion to reconsider the dismissal of the charge, and it was reinstated in July with Dixon remaining as special prosecutor.

Tegtmeyer served on the Oregon City Council from 2003 to 2007 and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2007 and 2011.

A phone call to Dixon on Tuesday was not returned. A spokesperson in his office said he was tied up in a court case there.

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