In 1982, Michael Baxton Sr. was convicted of two felony counts of burglary. He was a convicted felon for seven years until a Madison County judge vacated those convictions and expunged the records.
Four months ago, News 4 obtained records showing Baxton was convicted of those felonies. Baxton's name was blacked out on every document except one. That record showed Baxton, identified by name, and identified him as being convicted of a felony. The Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board used that document, and others, to build a case against Baxton. Eventually, the Board determined Baxton had been a convicted felon, and therefore, should not be a cop.
The Board took away Baxton's police certification. The village of Alorton, where Baxton was Police Chief, removed Baxton as Chief until the case is resolved.
Baxton's appeal was denied.
Baxton kept fighting, and he looks like he may win. Yesterday, St. Clair County judge Stephen McGlinn ordered the state "to immediately recertify Michael Baxton, Sr. as a law enforcement officer in Illinois." The judge also wrote that "ILETSB actions have resulted in significant damage to Mr. Baxton. He lost employment. He was falsely designated a liar and a felon." The judge also directed the Circuit Clerk to "seal the entire record received from ILETSB and keep it under seal."
Anthony Gilbreth, one of Baxton's attorneys, told me "our client is satisfied with the outcome. We hope that the Board acts promptly and follows the order so that Mike can get back to serving his community as a law enforcement officer."
Kevin McClain, the ILETSB Executive Director, insists that the board's decision to take away Baxton's certification "was well founded and correct." McClain told me he will consult with the Attorney General's office and consider an appeal.
Sources say Baxton is the leading candidate for the vacant police chief job in East St. Louis.