Controversial St. Clair judge speaks out - KMOV.com

Controversial St. Clair judge speaks out

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Judge Ronald Duebbert (Credit: KMOV) Judge Ronald Duebbert (Credit: KMOV)
ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ill. (KMOV.com) -

On November 4th, 2016 Ronald Duebbert (R) was elected circuit judge in St. Clair County.

In January Duebbert was placed on administrative duties by presiding judge Andrew Gleeson (D) because of a pending criminal investigation involving Duebbert. 

According to court documents filed on January 4th, 2017 the St. Clair County State's Attorney filed a motion for a special prosecutor. The motion states:

1. The subject matter of this case involves the offense of Obstructing Justice in 2017 WA 17; and 

2.) MOVANT's office is unable to act on behalf of the People because charges being sought involve a suspect that is a Circuit Judge in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit. 

The obstruction case stems from a murder case involving Duebbert's former roommate David Fields. Fields is accused of killing Carl Silas on December 30th in Belleville. 

A search warrant provided to News 4 indicates Duebbert stated his last contact with Fields was at 8 p.m. on December 29th, 2016, the night before the murder. 

Phone records indicate a number tied to Duebbert's phone sent and received several text messages to Fields phone following 8 p.m. 

Duebbert's attorney Dedra Brock-Moore told News 4 she's unaware of any contact between Duebbert and Fields on December 30th, the day the murder took place. 

In addition Brock-Moore stated "even a phone call that doesn't mean they know where they are." 

Court records indicate "consent was given by Ronald Duebbert to take the phone as well as search the contents of the phone." 

Duebbert's attorney strongly disputes the statement telling News 4 Duebbert did not provide consent for investigators to take or search his phone. 

News 4 asked presiding Judge Andrew Gleeson about Duebbert's current role at the St. Clair County Courthouse while the obstruction charge is investigated. 

Gleeson stated, "you would have to ask Judge Duebbert what he does all day."

Duebbert responded saying, "I always have enough to fill my time, but the salient question is why am I not in the courtroom, not what I'm doing currently." 

He also says his elected position has been undermined since he was sworn into office on December 5th. 

On December 6th Duebbert claims some of his judicial powers were taken away by Gleeson. 

"He came in and said 'We have a problem.' I said, 'we do?' He said, 'David Fields, a felon, is living with you and I said I won't suit you up if he's living with you.' And I said, Why? He said, 'well because,'" according to Duebbert. 

Gleeson tells News 4 he reassigned felony arraignments to a different judge because Duebbert lived with a felon, and Gleeson did not want future rulings made by Duebbert tainted or called into question. Gleeson stands by his decision. 

Duebbert says the living arrangement broke no laws, and received all necessary approval because Fields was required to register his address. 

Duebbert's attorney feels some of the backlash faced by Duebbert is political. 

"If I have to be candid it's because he's a gay Republican. He's a gay Republican. He's never hid that fact. For some reason that creates prejudice that is unnecessary and unwarranted," said Brock-Moore. 

Duebbert says "no one has ever asked me to resign" and adds he has no plans to leave his job. 

Duebbert says he plans to appeal Gleeson's decision to place him on administrative duties.

"I believe the actions and activities taken by the administration in St. Clair County have thwarted the view of the people as expressed in their votes" said Duebbert. 

Gleeson says he would like resolution in the case, and adds Duebbert is entitled to due process. 

News 4 has reached out to the special prosecutor's office in Springfield, but the office has no comment on the case. 

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