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Judge, attorney mum on absence issue

Published: Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT
Lee County State's Attorney Henry S. Dixon

OREGON – Lee County State’s Attorney Henry Dixon said this week that he has “directly addressed” comments made by an Ogle County judge regarding his absence at court hearings in the case of a former city commissioner.

In an email to Sauk Valley Media, Dixon wrote that he perceived that Associate Circuit Judge Kathleen Kaufman was not aware of “several relevent facts” when she made the comments.

Dixon declined comment Friday, saying it was inappropriate for an attorney to comment publicly on judges.

A woman who answered the phone at Kaufmann’s office Friday said the judge does not comment on pending cases.

Kauffmann said during a court hearing Tuesday for James Tegtmeyer, 47, that her “patience was wearing thin” and said that if Dixon or one of his assistants did not attend a Jan. 14 pretrial, she would dismiss the case due to lack of prosecution.

Tegtmeyer, now of Green Bay, Wis., is charged with computer tampering and misdemeanor theft.

Prosecutors say he accessed and altered a program on a computer at the Shell station in Oregon without permission from the owner, Johnson Oil.

Tegtmeyer, who worked form a company that services ATMs in the area, also is accused of stealing $380 from a cash machine at the gas station.

Dixon was appointed as special prosecutor in the case at the request of Ogle County State’s Attorney Ben Roe because of a potential conflict of interest. Tegtmeyer is a former Oregon city commissioner and two-time mayoral candidate.

Kauffmann dismissed the computer tampering charge against Tegtmeyer at the prosecutors’ request on June 13 because of a constitutional issue. 

Dixon, who was not at the hearing, sent an order to the judge with Tegtmeyer’s attorney, Paul Whitcombe, asking that the charge be dismissed.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a motion to reconsider the dismissal of the charge, and it was reinstated in July.

Dixon remained the special prosecutor in the case.

Last week, Dixon’s office prosecuted Byron Adams, 54, who was convicted of first-degree murder after a 4-day trial in Lee County court.

Although he did not personally try the case, Dixon was present in court for the trial.

The verdict came down the same day as Tegtmeyer’s pretrial hearing.

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