Cases involving Kane County Coroner Charles West kept lawyers and judges busy in two separate courtrooms today.
West, who is facing five counts of official misconduct for allegedly giving a TV from a dead man’s house to two of his deputies, was in criminal court in St. Charles for a brief hearing where a judge said he would set a trial date for West in December.
Meanwhile, about an hour earlier, a judge in Geneva listened to arguments in a civil suit brought by West’s chief deputy, who is alleging that West retaliated against her when she told authorities that West gave the TV to his deputy coroners, one of whom is his son, Eric West.
West was charged with official misconduct stemming from an investigation of the death of a Carpentersville man in 2007.
Authorities allege that when West was unable to locate any next of kin for the man, he gave the TV to his son and another deputy, Lisa Gilbert, who were living together. That violated state law, which directs coroners in such situation to properly dispose of valuable property, authorities allege.
Attorney Patrick Kinnally, who is representing the coroner in the civil suit, asked Judge Robert Spence to dismiss the suit, which was brought against West in March by Loren Carrera.
After listening to Kinnally and Nils Von Keudell, who is Carrera’s attorney, the judge said he would issue his ruling in mid-November.
In the suit, Carrera contends that West harassed her by, among other actions, sleeping on her office floor and urinating on her chair after West learned that she was the source of the investigation that led to his indictment.
But Kinnally argued that Carrera failed to show how she had suffered any financial damages since she was neither fired nor demoted after West learned she had reported him to authorities.
But Von Keudell said West took Carrera out of a regular on-call rotation that affected her earnings, and that he relieved her of some duties as the most senior deputy.
“There was an above-the-law type of attitude that was going on in the office,” Von Keudell said.
West did not attend the civil suit hearing.
Meanwhile, Judge Bruce Lester set Dec. 7 for the next hearing in the criminal case and said he expected to set a trial date at a later hearing in December.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun