After the case was dismissed in Rolling Meadows, Ms. Melongo was indicted January 17th, 2007 in Chicago with two counts of computer tampering. The court transcript is available here. The first day in court, the state offered her a deal through her public defender. She turned the deal down. When she refused to take the deal, her public defender became disinterested and the case stalled. She decided to hire a private lawyer. In April 2008, this new lawyer told the judge, then Judge Scheier, that the second count of the indictment didn't warrant a felony under Illinois' law. Judge Schreier agreed and asked the state to re-indict. Thus the second indictment in May, 2008 and its transcript . Strangely though, instead of correcting the indictment's count to reflect a felony, the state used the opportunity to revise all the statements, false and inconsistent, that were made during the first indictment. It added another count which was never part of the complaint and the very charge that caused the new indictment, well, it was kept INTACT. It seemed as though, the state used the re-indictment to correct its mistakes, seeing that Ms. Melongo now had a lawyer who could pose a challenge. The challenge came in the form of a motion for additional discovery . The state instead of responding to the motion, asked for yet another deal, which again was turned down. Then something strange happened. Ms. Melongo's lawyer lost his motivation. He became friendly with the state, to the point he will even joke with the state in front of her. He wouldn't answer phone calls anymore, so in an email, he was told Ms. Melongo was moving forward with another lawyer.
The third lawyer was then hired. In her search for another lawyer, she made sure that the next lawyer was young and had some computer knowledge which the former lawyer didn't have. She found a young one but it turned out, he was inexperienced and once he got his money, his interest for the case ended. He never filed a single motion, let alone bother to read the case's facts. The whole time was spent arguing. He, arguing that he had more important cases and she, demanding that he spent time on hers. Noticing the lack of interest on the part of this new lawyer, the state demanded another deal. The lawyer urged the defendant to take it, but again, no deal was made. The refusal resulted in another fight and more money was requested from Ms. Melongo if she wanted something done toward her defense. Strangely though, it's through this lawyer that Ms. Melongo got the idea to represent herself, idea thrown at her in a fight. This lawyer later motioned to be excused from the case and in doing so, he gave the defendant's ENTIRE file to the state. The same day, Ms. Melongo informed the court of her intent to represent herself. The case was continued to have the matter discussed in the following hearing.
February 5th, 2009: Ms. Melongo confirmed her intent to represent herself. She asked Judge Lawrence E. Flood for a legal assistant in the form of a public defender. Judge Flood told her either she let a public defender represent her OR she represents herself without any legal assistance. Without any hesitation, she decided to go solo. After asking her questions as to her education's level and her knowledge of the law, Judge Flood handed her the file with a sarcastic remark: "You're making a big mistake..." She could hear laughters suppressed by the state and people in the court. Unlike regular people who might have been discouraged and intimidated by the scenery, the remark planted a deep seed of determination in Ms. Melongo's heart and she was eager the take the bull that was the Illinois Attorney General by the horns. To do that however, she needed to know the laws as they applied to her case. She registered to legal forums, searched the internet, visited law libraries and attended Judge Feccarota's sessions in Rolling Meadows, Room 109. Strangely though, it didn't take her long in her legal apprenticeship to discover cracks in the state's case. Her confidence went up and she was ready to go toe-to-toe against the state in a case she knew the facts to be misleading and fabricated. Overnight, she became a lawyer.
In her new capacity, her first move was to contact the newly elected Cook County State Attorney Anita Alvarez March 23rd, 2009. Since Dick Devine was the one who pushed her case to court, Ms. Melongo thought Anita Alvarez might have a more favorable position in her case. Anita Alvarez never responded back. Then she decided to meet the Illinois Inspector General , to have it investigate her case. She met with Diana L. Saltoun and Patricia A. McConnell on April 30th, 2009. Some weeks later, the Illinois Inspector General sent her this letter . Dishearted but not discouraged, her next move was to motion the state for evidences supporting the charges. She also moved to dismiss the indictment based on the fact that it was filed outside of the 60 days limit prescribed by Section 109-3.1 of the Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure Of 1963. The state has yet to respond to the motion on the evidence stating the motion to dismiss the indictment had precedence. When the state responded to her motion to dismiss, Judge Flood, who replaced the incapacited Judge Schreier, asked Ms. Melongo whether she wanted to respond or argue her motion. She chose to argue. The judge asked a second time if that's the option she wanted, she answered in the affirmative. The argument's date was set. The day of the argument, she came late and the state continued the case in her absence even though she called the judge's office to inform him of the late coming. The new argument's date was set for October 6th, 2009.
October 6th, 2009: To Ms. Melongo's surprise, Judge Flood denied her motion without bothering to hear her argument stating 'he had the right to do so...' no further explanation was ever given. Utterly shocked, Ms. Melongo told him she wanted another judge. Judge Flood asked her to come the next morning to do the paperwork. The next morning Ms. Melongo came with a motion petitioning the Chief Judge , Paul Biebel, for substitution of BOTH judge and prosecutor given the fact that the Illinois Attorney General represented a conflict of interest in her case; first, for having donated money to SALF and second, for being in business with the same organization. Undermining Ms. Melongo's objection , Judge Flood sent her motion to judge Kazmierski, who supposedly was his supervisor. Judge Kazmierski didn't take 3 minutes to review the more than 20-pages motion and to deny it. After that hard-breaking meeting, the same day, Ms. Melongo went to the clerk office and filed a 'notification of motion' to see the chief Judge, Paul Biebel. Do you remember Paul Biebel from early on? The judge who presided over the Grand Jury that issued all the subpoenas? and the same judge who was also mentioned in the above video by Carol Spizzirri? and the judge who also discovered a conflict of interest in Anita Alvarez prosecuting Jon Burge?
October 14th, 2009: When Ms. Melongo met the Chief Judge , she asked him to remove Judge Flood from her case based on what was said in the motion. Well, Chief Judge told Ms. Melongo that he presided over one of the largest criminal county in the U.S. and he didn't have time to review motions once they have been denied by another judge. Moreover, he knew Judge Kazmierski to be a good one. And what about the conflict of interest, Ms. Melongo insisted with tears in her eyes? The Chief judge, who was so keen in seeing the conflict of interest in Anita Alvarez prosecuting Jon Burge, failed to see that same conflict in Lisa Madigan prosecuting Ms. Melongo Melongo. The motion to substitute both judge and prosecutor was again dismissed and the case was sent back to judge Flood, Room 704.
October 28th, 2009: Against everyone's surprise Ms. Melongo filed her second motion to dismiss the indictment. This time based on perjuries made by detective Martin and exculpatory facts that were not mentioned by the state during the indictment. For the first time in this case, the state and the court are caught in Carol Spizzirri's web of lies. This time, Illinois Legal System will CLEARLY prove in which camp it is playing. If it decides to dismiss the indictment, then detective Martin is in big trouble and SALF is open for financial investigation. However, if for some strange reasons, the motion is denied, then the Illinois Legal System has tramped on the very laws it represents and public opinion will be the witness. Unlike the first motion, this one presents a CLEAR evidence that perjuries and non-disclosure of facts have been committed. So let's watch the state's and court's response in the next hearing, November 12th, 2009.
November 12th, 2009: After 7 months in the loop, the state finally responded to the motion for additional discovery . This would have been a good news for the defense if that response had some substance to it. However, 3 years and 7 months in the case, after an arrest warrant and two indictments, the state still can't provide evidence sustaining the charges. This due to an ONGOING investigation, when everything from the Forensic report , Kyle French email and detective Martin investigative report testified that the investigation was closed in October of 2006. Moreover, for items that don't necesitate an investigation, the state is asking the defense to EXPLAIN how the information is going to be used. We're curious to see how the state is going to explain away the perjuries and exculpatory evidence on December 8th, 2009.
December 8th, 2009: Since this case started, there has never been a better week for the defense.
- First Daniel Ferraro, the director of Investigations at the Illinois Attorney General Office, removed Shahna G. Monge as a Twitter's follower. Unbeknown to him, we had a copy of the original followers.
- At 9.30 AM, Ms. Melongo filed a Notice Of Removal at the Federal building located in Dearborn Str., Chicago.
- At around 10.00 AM, Judge Lawrence E. Flood recused himself from the case. The case is sent back to Judge Paul Biebel for judge reassignment. At the same hearing, the state also added another prosecutor in the case, a young lady named Julie Gunnigle. Ms. Melongo is now facing THREE prosecutors. What a waste of resources!!!
December 9th, 2009: The assigned judge was John J. Fleming. To Ms. Melongo's surprise, the judge's first remark was the fact that she did ask for a substitution of judge (SOJ) before. When she asked the question as to why the state's response to her motion to dismiss was filed and she a copy not handed to her? Judge Fleming started yelling at her. Using her intuition has a guide, she raised her right to substitute him right away. In Illinois, any defendant has a ONE time right to substitute a newly assigned judge within 10 days, provided the judge in question has not made any major ruling on the case. So the case was sent back to Judge Paul Biebel for re-assignment. After the hearing, Ms. Melongo went home and made some Google searches on Judge John J. Fleming. She couldn't believe the reputation surrounding him. She then realized that Judge Flood might have been forced out of the case and the Chief Judge, fearing the perjuries' motion, might have assigned Judge John J. Fleming to do the 'job'. But little did he know that Ms. Melongo had a surprise in the form of 'substituing a judge as a right'. When Ms. Melongo wanted to substitute Judge Flood, she made a motion to Paul Biebel who denied it. However, when the case wasn't going well for the State and of course for his own survival and those if his allies, Judge Flood was suddenly excused and Judge John J. Fleming assigned the case. By the way, his choice wasn't random, but a hand-picked one. Undermining the Clerk Office's system in which the assignment of judges is done through an electronic system.
December 10th, 2009: Armed with her motion to substitute the newly assigned Judge Fleming, Ms. Melongo filed a notification of motion and attached her motion to it. Thereafter, she went to Judge Fleming's courtroom. She's told that she had no hearing scheduled that day. She then went to the State Attorney Office to serve the lead prosecutor, Robert Podlasek, her newly filed notification of motion. She learned from him that a new judge has already been assigned and that an arrest warrant was on her. He asked her to follow him to the new judge's courtroom. Utterly shocked, while in the elevator, she asked the prosecutor the statute warranting a change of judge without a written motion from the defendant? The prosecutor sarcastically replied "that's the law". To which Ms. Melongo retorqued "that's not the law, that's corruption". Irritated, the prosecutor said to her "if you called me corrupt again, I will go to Judge Biebel". To aggravate him further she replied "let's go there right now, I really want to meet him". Prosecutor Podlasek shut his mouth only to reopen it before the new judge, Judge Mary M. Brosnahan. The new judge quashed the warrant and forced Prosecutor Podlasek to give Ms. Melongo his response to the motion to dismiss. Adding another blow to a prosecution team which has used every trick under the Sun to navigate its way through the Illinois Justice System. It was also revealed that day that Robert Podlasek is actually a financial prosecutor. What an irony!!! A financial prosecutor assigned to a computer tampering case, when his expertise should be used to prosecute Carol J. Spizzirri!!! And what about Mary M. Brosnahan? Nothing alarming about her on the internet. The only thing transpiring is that, she's a good Democrat and donates frequently.
Tired by the events of the day, Ms. Melongo took a bus to get to the train station. That's when she was first contacted by a dramatic creature; a creature that might well have existed in the Precambrian Era and who, by some strange natural factors, made it through the Modern Era. But before introducing you to this living, yet undiscovered and 'rare specimen' known as Ms. Pamela Taylor, a little background would be helpful in understanding why she contacted Ms. Melongo:
- To file her 'Notice Of Removal' to Federal Court, Ms. Melongo gathered all the information and statutes needed to start the removal.
- She learned that a removal ought to be filed 30 days after arraignment or before the start of the trial. Knowing that she has never been arraigned in the superceding indictment, she called her friend and discussed this on the phone. Her friend asked her to go pronto to court and get the certified clerk and docket files and to order the 06/18/09 transcript. The next day, she went to the courthouse and did exactly that. She got a
certified docket file , the judge's notes and ordered the transcript. The clerk and the docket files confirmed the fact that she was NEVER arraigned.
- She anxiously awaited the transcript and surely enough, on December 1st, 2009, she get a call from the court reporter informing her that the transcript was ready to be picked up. The transcript of that voicemail can also be viewed here.
- December 4th, 2009: Ms. Melongo rushed to the courthouse to pick up the transcript; to her surprise, the transcript contained an arraignment she wasn't aware of. At first, she believed, her former attorney arraigned her without her being present,opinion reflected in her 'Notice Of Removal', but she later realized, the arraignment was made up. The transcript was re-created to reflect an event that NEVER happened. The transcript was not only contradicting the other certified records, but it was in contradiction with itself.
- December 5th, 2009: Ms. Melongo called Ms. Laurel Laudien, the court reporter, and left a message telling her she believed the transcript to be a forgery. She also told Ms. Laudien that she will file a complaint against her and take her to court for having falsified the transcript.
- December 6th, 2009: Ms. Laurel Laudien returned the phone call and stated that Ms. Melongo was in court that day since she couldn't be arraigned without being present. When Ms. Melongo asked about the contradiction with the other court records, she hanged up not before Ms. Melongo re-affirmed her intent to file a complaint against her.
- Note: Due to Ms. Melongo's accent, all her phone conversations with Ms. Pamela Taylor have corresponding transcripts. We recommend you read the transcript while listening to the conversations. The Illinois Eavesdropping Law provides an exemption at Sec. 14-3(i) which was the basis used by Ms. Melongo to tape the conversations. This exemption is further explained by Jim Ryan, the former Illinois Attorney General, in this document.
- Then came .... Ms. Pamela Taylor. On December 10th, 2009, while riding the bus, Ms. Melongo received a phone call from her. Without letting Ms. Melongo speaks, she re-hashed Ms. Laudien answers and forced Ms. Melongo to believe those facts to be the TRUTH. Ms. Melongo hanged up. Some minutes later, Ms. Pamela Taylor called back with precise instructions on how Ms. Melongo ought to handle the situation. The transcribed version of her voicemail can be viewed here.
- Having had one of her crucial transcript changed before, this time, Ms. Melongo decided to handle the situation differently. She went to her house, got a voice recorder and called back Ms. Pamela Taylor. Her plan was to play the naive and ignorant immigrant who didn't know about American Laws. In doing this, she played a reverse psychology on Ms. Taylor. She said to herself, if Ms. Taylor give her misleading answers, then Ms. Taylor had something to hide, otherwise, the fault might be on Ms. Laudien. We will NOT tell you our opinions of the conversation, make your own opinions. Here is the conversation and the accompanying transcript.
- Smelling blood in the water, Ms. Melongo wanted to get to the SOUL of Ms. Taylor. December 15th, 2009, Ms. Taylor next business day, Ms. Melongo called again. Unfortunately, that day either she didn't have time for a lenghty conversation OR she was afraid to be caught off guard. Nevertheless, they exchanged the following words and the phone conversation was postponed for the next day. The transcript of the conversation can be viewed here.
- December 16th, 2009: Here's the phone conversation and its transcript. Though we can't comment on the conversation, nevertheless, consciously falsifying court transcripts is not only a felony but it's the HIGHEST TREASON a court official can perform. The FBI actually investigates such situations. The last time it happened in Cook County, it was called Operation Greylord. The biggest story behind these falsified transcripts is that, the very persons that are supposed to uphold the Law, Lisa Madigan and Anita Alvarez, won't hesitate to transgress the same Law to win bogus cases that personally benefit them. A lack of an arraignment is ground to TERMINATE Ms. Melongo's case. There are only three persons in the entire world who had a vested interest in that transcript. Lisa Madigan, Anita Alvarez and Ms. Melongo Melongo. Since the transcript was changed against Ms. Melongo's interest, then the ONLY persons who might have ordered such a despicable act, using Ms. Taylor and Laudien as pawns, are Lisa Madigan OR Anita Alvarez. There's no word imaginable to describe such an abuse of power and the hypocrisy surrounding it. Because there's no such word, let's just lend a word created by one of our friends and let's call the present situation, a Wowie-Kazowie.
- A complaint will be filed at the FBI office and subpoenas will be issued to get the court reporter's notes and the audio of the hearing. Next court date is January 12th, 2010.
January 12th, 2010: Ms. Melongo filed a motion to withdraw the motion to dismiss and filed an amended motion to dismiss. Pamela Taylor was also present in court in response to this subpoena. As it should have been expected, the response to the subpoena is not what was asked but merely Ms. Melongo's request for transcripts. She couldn't provide audio files, reporter's notes and email exchanges with the State Attorney or the Attorney General Office in regard to the 06/18/2009 transcript. It would have been native to expect otherwise. The good thing though, Ms. Pamela went on record about the audio files being inexistant and the court reporters' not accessible via subpoena. Unlike Ms. Pamela Taylor, another subpoena directed at Don Peters of Critical Technology was also responded. It's worth praising how a character like Don Peters can stand out in a case like this, where corruption and manipulation have become common practice. But first, do you remember the State response on the motion for additional discovery? In regard to Don Peters, the state said "The people's investigation is ongoing". To call this a lie will be an euphemism. The investigation, as far as Don Peters was concerned, was not only closed but it didn't backed-up whatever was said in the indictment. There have only been two people sofar in this case, Prosecuter Lynn Palac being the second individual, who have stood up for what they believed instead of giving into the razzle dazzle of Carol Spizzirri's powerful connections, like she so boastingly and manipulatively made people aware of. In a summary, Don Peters' response is every defense's dream. Unfortunately, we can't publish it at this time, but in it, transpires that both the Attorney General and the State Attorney, less than three weeks in the incident, were briefed on the case and were requesting evidence to be preserved. Furthermore, Don Peters states that the deletion wouldn't have been difficult to stage, something that has long time been suspected. It's marvellous to come across an individual like this who comes out of the woodwork of lies, manipulation, corruption and stands for TRUTH. Comes what might. Next Court Date January 28th, 2010.
January 28th, 2010: State responded to the defendant's Amended Motion To Dismiss. Judge Brosnahan gave the Defense some minutes to review the response before deciding on the argument's date. After reviewing the response, the defendant told the Judge that she couldn't argue the response simply because the information contained in it wasn't given to her when she filed her motion for additional discovery. She argued that the state's response in regard to that motion, mentioned a so-called pending investigation. She asked the judge to put a hold on the argument's date and force the state to provide additional discovery. The judge agreed. In the next court's date therefore, Ms. Melongo will file a Motion To Force Discovery or To Dismiss; hopefully in doing so, the information mentioned in the state's response will be available to her. Information being, among other things, the comcast bill, the forensic examination report on the IP Address and the so-called statement made by the defendant. Worth noting, although a Status Hearing has been scheduled in Federal Court, it's not until the federal judge ordered the removal that the case will be closed in Cook County. Next Court Date February 9th, 2010
February 9th, 2010: Judge Brosnahan asked the state to comply as quick as possible with the defendant's Motion To Compel Discovery Or To Dismiss. Judge also reprimanded the defendant not to cross-talk her; the defendant apologized and agreed not to do so anymore. State was unable to provide the Comcast Bill, the IP Forensic Examination as well as the defendant's Statement regarding using Comcast at the time of the incident as alleged in the state's response to her Amended Motion To Dismiss Indictment. The Judge in addition to forcing the state to produce the above information also asked Schiller Park Police's lawyer to bring Detective Martin ALL Internal Affairs Records for review and to tender to the defendant all information relevant to her subpoena. The defendant will argue both her Motion To Compel Discovery and her Motion To Dismiss Indictment on March 3rd, 2010.
March 3rd, 2010: Carol Spizzirri, Rita Mullins, Douglas Browne, Illinois Department Of Public Health all moved to quash the subpoenas sent to them through a state's Motion To Quash Subpoenas. It's understandable why the state might move to quash a subpoena sent to Illinois Department of Public Health. What raises eyebrows however, is when the state moved to quash subpoenas sent to third parties that constituted Save-A-Life Foundation board. Judge Brosnahan reversed a ruling contradicting her decision forbidding Ms. Melongo to subpoena Schiller Park Police in regard to police reports. A ruling that Ms. Melongo objected to. Another surprising move is also when Judge Brosnahan SUDDENLY decided to postpone Ms. Melongo's arguments on both motion to compel discovery and motion to dismiss. She stated Ms. Melongo MUST undergo a psychological evaluation to determine if she was fit to stand trial and defend herself. A move to which Ms. Melongo responded stating that she has been more than 3 years in the case, has done a legal job that NONE of her former lawyers came close to without showing any sign of psychological derangement. Judge Brosnahan replied, somehow disturbed, that all was irrelevant. Judge Brosnahan stated that Ms. Melongo needed a psychological evaluation because she was unable to understand her. Did the state ever asked Carol Spizzirri to undergo a psychological evaluation? If it did, it would have found out that Carol Spizzirri, not only fabricated this case from end to end by providing false statements to Randy Roberts and Dick Devine; Dick Devine who by the way, happened to be Carol Spizzirri's close friend. Judge Brosnahan forcing Ms. Melongo to undergo a psychological evaluation en lieu of letting her argue her motions is yet another move from the state and the court to block a motion to dismiss based on seven counts of perjury by Detective Martin and Three counts of prosecutorial misconduct by Joseph Podlasek. Ms. Melongo has a big surprise in store for the court in its attempt to push her out of the case by pretending she's psychologically unbalanced. This surprise will be known on April 14th, 2010.
April 14th, 2010: The same police officers that brought her to the Maywood jail the night before, picked her up the next morning. Ms. Melongo is then transported to 2610 S. California Ave. for a bond hearing. After she's released from police's custody, she stayed in a waiting room for about 2 hours before appearing in front of the bond judge. Her computer tampering prosecutors, Mr. Podlasek and Mrs. Gunnigle, were present in court. Her lawyer was not in court. The prosecutors requested a 30,000 D bond for the new eavesdropping charges and asked the judge to have Ms. Melongo's passport surrendered. With no attorney to defend her, the bond request is easily granted. The case is continued to 04/15/2010. It became apparent to her that her computer tampering prosecutors were the ones who orchestrated her new arrest.
After the bond hearing, she's taken to a cell with other female detainees. She stayed in that room about 5 hours before starting the procedures required to be booked at the Cook County jail. The procedures, among others, were to be photographed and allowed a free phone call, to undergo a mental health evaluation, a X-Ray session and finally to be taken to the female jail's division to put on the blue uniform which forms the jail clothing. By the time Ms. Melongo got to her jail's cell, it was around 2.00 am. There, she wanted to cry, no tears came. The well of emotional tears has long dried out through the four yearlong legal drought. Her thoughts then shifted to her family and to the dream she once had about coming to America. In the darkness of that sleepless night, she realized, the dream has turned into a nightmare. The nightmare of hypocrisy in its naked ugliness. With her dreams and hopes and aspirations buried and dead, she surrendered herself to the Almighty and became resolute to accept her condition as yet another episode in her challenging legal case.
April 15th, 2010: (Transcript is here) Ms. Melongo was called in front of Judge Brosnahan at around 11.30 am. When she entered the room, she was surprised that her lawyer wasn't in court. Judge Brosnahan made a recap of the case and asked the defendant if she submitted to her ordered psychological evaluation. Ms. Melongo answered in the affirmative. The judge looked through her paperwork and said that no evaluation result was sent to her. The state prosecutor, Mr. Podlasek, went on to tell the judge that the defendant caught a new case, Eavesdropping, and as such her I-Bond conditions were violated and demanded a new bond for the computer tampering charges. Furthermore, he told the judge that the defendant should surrender her passport. Ms. Melongo couldn't believe what she was hearing. Though she was no longer Pro Se, she felt the urgent need to step und and defend herself. She told the judge that the state prosecutor can't schedule a court hearing and make all those demands without notifying the lawyer assigned to the case. The judge asked who was the new lawyer and urged Podlasek to notify the defendant's attorney on the new developments. The case was continued to 04/20/2010.
April 20th, 2010: (Transcript is here) Ms. Melongo's lawyer is finally in court. After his initial presentations, Attorney ID and name, he made a summary of the case. He told the judge that since her client has been rendered indigent by the state, he requested to be appointed. Judge Brosnahan announced the result of the defendant's psychological evaluation and said she would take appointing Mr. Albukerk into advisement. The state prosecutor and Nick Albukerk then argued the new bond on the computer tampering charges. After having heard both arguments, Judge Brosnahan set the bond to 500,000 D. Linda Shelton was also in court that day to argue her Habeus on behalf of the defendant. When Judge Brosnahan refused to let her argue her motion, Linda Shelton expressed her discontentment and the judge ordered her out of her courtroom. The case was continued to 05/05/2010.
After the court hearing, Nick Albukerk came to see the defendant in a cell adjacent the courtroom. With tears in her eyes, she asked him not to withdraw. Worth noting, by that time, Mr. Albukerk hasn't received a dime yet from her. He promised he wouldn't withdraw but made it clear he needed to be paid for his services. He gave her his business card and asked her to call collect. He also volunteered to get a French translator so that Ms. Melongo's family can be notified of her arrest. She felt very relieved by the gesture.
May 5th, 2010: Nick Albukerk argued his motion to have the excessive bond reduced . He said that Eavesdropping wasn't a violent crime and that only few states consider such an act a crime. The state prosecutor, Mr. Podlasek, replied stating that the defendant posted discovery and private information on her website, that her recordings of telephone conversations between her and Pamela Taylor and the postings of said conversations on the internet amounted to cyber-terrorism. After hearing both arguments, Judge Brosnahan reduced the bond to 300,000 D, still excessive for the defendant to bond out. The case was continued to 05/12/2010.
May 12th, 2010: The state prosecutors demanded to quash all subpoenas issued by the defendant when she was Pro Se. Nick Albukerk replied that the state doesn't have the inherent power to quash a subpoena. Only a judge can do so. He also put the defendant on record regarding transfer of funds from Mr. Darryl Goldberg, the defendant's former lawyer. The hearing was continued to 05/20/2010 although the defendant had to be in court on 05/18/2010 to be assigned a judge for the eavesdropping charges.
May 18th, 2010: As a matter of formality, Ms. Melongo went to room 101 to have a judge assigned to the Eavesdropping charges. Though her lawyer wasn't in court, he already knew that Judge Brosnahan would be assigned the new charges. After being in room 101, she was sent to that judge who continued the case to 05/20/2010.
May 20th, 2010: In a grueling court hearing that lasted almost 3 hours, most subpoenas issued by the defendant while Pro Se were withdrawn. This was the result of a decision between Mr. Albukerk and his client to withdraw subpoenas irrelevant to the computer tampering charges and to keep only those that were relevant. For the ones that were not withdrawn, Judge Brosnahan ordered them to be stricken in their face and rewritten by Mr. Albukerk. The defendant was then arraigned on the Eavesdropping charges, for which she was indicted on April 27th, 2010, and the case was continued to 06/14/2010.
June 14th, 2010: Mr. Albukerk told the judge that he was in the process of rewriting the defendant's outstanding motion to dismiss the computer tampering charge as well as writing subpoenas that weren't withdrawn. The hearing was continued to 07/26/2010 for an argument on the motion to dismiss.
After the hearing Mr. Albukerk and his client also discussed filing a motion to dismiss the Eavesdropping charges.
July 26th, 2010: By the time Ms. Melongo arrived in the courtroom, the hearing had already started. Mr. Albukerk made her signed the Verified Motion To Reduce All Bonds in front of the judge. In a surprising move, the state prosecutors decided to switch election to the Eavesdropping case.
See a pattern? The day Ms. Melongo was scheduled to argue her motion to dismiss the computer tampering charges, a psychological evaluation was ordered on her and when she submitted to it, she got arrested. He new lawyer rewrote the motion to dismiss the same charges, the motion for discovery and the motion to appoint a computer expert and when scheduled to argue them, the state prosecutors switched election to the Eavesdropping case. The case was continued to 08/11/2010.
Note: Due to the switch in election, the prosecution of the computer tampering stopped in July 26th, 2010, and resumed 08/08/2012 after the eavesdropping case was dismissed. The missing court hearings between 07/26/2010 and 08/08/2012 are listed under the eavesdropping case under the section 'Chicago Courthouse'.
July 26th, 2012: When Melongo arrived in court, she learned that her hearing was at room 3A15. She went to that courtroom along with two of her friends and waited for her case to be called. Once called and after the initial presentations, the judge filed his written order dismissing the eavesdropping case.
Afterward, the judge asked Mr. Podlasek about his response to the defendant's motion to dismiss. The prosecutor stated that he wanted the defendant to acknowledge the motion before he could respond. The judge said that the defendant acknowledged it at the previous hearing and that he didn't want to hear any argument about the existence of that motion. Mr. Podlasek asked for more than a month to respond. The defendant objected arguing that the said motion was already three years old. The judge granted the prosecutor's request.
Afterward, Melongo presented a fax rebutting the prosecutor's statement of not being aware of her pending motion to dismiss. The judge declined to read the document stating that the issue was already closed. Next, she presented a filed memorandum wherein the Illinois Attorney General was throwing the Cook County State Attorney under the bus regarding her two cases. The judge read part of the document and put it in the defendant's file. To close the hearing, the defendant filed a motion demanding trial. The judge granted the filing upon the prosecutor's objection. The case was continued to 08/28/2012.
August 28th, 2012:
When Ms. Melongo got to the courthouse, she was informed at the front desk that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 504. She arrived late in her courtroom and upon arrival, she saw Mr. Michael Hood, the Illinois Attorney General Director of the criminal division, and Mr. Podlasek, her prosecutor, enter the judge's chambers. After their meeting, her case was called.
After the initial presentations, Mr. Hood said that he needed additional 10 days to comply with his subpoena. The judge granted his request. Afterward, Mr. Podlasek tendered his response to the defendant's motion to dismiss her computer tampering charges. He also tendered the response to Mrs. Carol Spizzirri's subpoena. The judge acknowledged receiving some subpoenas' responses but said he would review them before tending them to the defendant.
Afterward, Ms. Melongo brought up the issue of the Canadian subpoena and that of Detective Martin's subpoena. Regarding the first subpoena, wherein she was requesting funds to register that subpoena to Canada, the judge said he would rule on it at the next hearing. He went on to grant her request to compel Detective Martin to testify when she argued her motion to dismiss.
After reviewing the subpoenas Ms. Melongo's had just filed, Mr. Podlasek objected to certain of them. Ms. Melongo reminded the judge that she saw no point in his objections since the subpoenas had already been granted. The judge quashed the subpoena to Cook County Sheriff, stating that he lacked jurisdiction given that the case was dismissed. Though he initially only allowed the defendant to request court transcripts in response to the subpoena to the Cook County Court Reporter Administrator office, upon objection of the defendant, he said she should bring the transcripts referencing those court hearings in order for him to properly make a ruling.
To conclude, Ms. Melongo brought up the issue of Mrs. Pamela Taylor handling of her appeal. Though she questioned his jurisdiction on the subject, the judge stated that the court reporters were the ones gathering the records for the appeal. The case was continued to 09/06/2012.
September 6th, 2012:
Ms. Melongo was informed at the front desk that her hearing was at 3A15. After the initial presentations, she tendered Tabor's and Laurel's transcripts to Judge Goebel asking for an order to have the audio-tapes of those transcripts. Judge Goebel said that Tabor's transcript was incomplete and stated that he would rule once an accurate transcript was presented. Afterward, the judge gave her various subpoenas responses and asked both parties to review them.
A lady from the Illinois Attorney General was also present in court and returned the subpoenas' responses from the Criminal Division and the Charity Trust. When Mr. Podlasek requested to review the files alone, Ms. Melongo objected telling the judge that Mr. Podlasek shouldn't view them ex-parte. The judge put the case on recall allowing both parties to review the documents. Mr. Zu from the state attorney's office was assisting Mr. Podlasek that day. The two parties sat in a separate room and went through the responses of the Illinois Attorney General Criminal Division, the Illinois Attorney General Charity Trust, the Melbourne IT and finally the response of Anderson Hospital. After the review, Mr. Podlasek said he wasn't objecting to anything and Ms. Melongo promised to scan those responses and give them to him in a USB
.Afterward they discussed about the Canadian's subpoena but couldn't come to an agreement, they let the judge decide.
When the case was recalled, the defendant brought up the issue of the Canadian subpoena arguing that the two parties couldn't reach an agreement and that she needed money to hire a lawyer in Canada in order to register her American subpoena in Nova Scotia. The subpoena aimed at finding the author of the gmail email accusing her of accessing Save A Life computers and servers. The state objected to the Canadian subpoena, arguing that Mr. Burns who once owned WebHSP, Save A Life Foundation's website hosting at the time of the alleged intrusion, was making himself available to provide the information on the contested email. Ms. Melongo replied telling the judge that she needed the personal information of the email's author and refused to subpoena Mr. Burns to get that information. The judge ruled in favor of the state but urged the state to provide the sought after information to the defendant.
Ms. Melongo then asked the judge to reconsider his decision to quash the subpoena to the Cook County Sheriff after the dismissal of her eavesdropping case. She presented the notification of Motion granted in May 22nd of 2012 and stated that the judge lacked jurisdiction to quash that subpoena after the case was disposed of. The judge nevertheless said he wouldn't reconsider his decision and Ms. Melongo, out of respect, decided not to pursue the issue. He granted her leave to subpoena Northwest Recovery. He also granted her request to have Carol Spizzirri testify during the argument on her motion to dismiss.
When Ms. Melongo brought up the issue of the state refusing to provide discovery material, the judge urged the state to put at her disposal any information that he was still withholding. The case was continued to 10/09/2012.
September 25th, 2012: When Ms. Melongo learned that her hearing was in room 609, she went there and waited for her case to be called. After the initial presentations, she asked leave to subpoena Shahna G. Monge for documents, she also asked for an order to bring her computer to court during the argument on her motion to dismiss.
When she presented an accurate transcript of Mrs.Tabor, the Court Reporter in Rolling Meadows, the judge gave the transcript to Mr. Podlasek for review. He said he would rule on it once the motion to dismiss was settled. Mr. Podlasek afterward told the judge that he was objecting to the subpoena sent to Carol Spizzirri arguing that it would cost money to the state and that the defendant should show proof that she didn't have money arguing that she once stated that if she couldn't hire a lawyer, it wasn't for lack of funds. The judge asked him to put his objection in writing and continued the case to 10/03/2012.
October 3rd, 2012:
The case was heard in room 702. The defendant and state filed each separate motion. After the initial presentations, the judge gave each party time to review the motions. When the case was recalled, the judge asked the defendant to proceed with her motion to have Carol Spizzirri's subpoena stand. The defendant argued that under the Confrontation and Compulsory clauses of the Sixth Amendment, she had the right to subpoena Mrs. Spizzirri. That Mrs. Spizzirri, as the complainant in the case, knew that at some points that she would be called to testify; nevertheless she left the State of Illinois and was using the safety of another state to avoid being subpoenaed.
The state argued that Mrs. Spizzirri or Ms. Shahna Monge weren't material to the argument on the motion to dismiss and that he wasn't planning of calling them to witness, that as such those two witnesses couldn't be compelled to appear based on an Interstate Compact Agreement of Out-Of-State witnesses. The judge granted the state's motion and told the defendant that she hadn't filed an Interstate Compact Agreement. Though the defendant was upset about the outcome, she nevertheless accepted the defeat.
Finally Ms. Melongo filed a motion to show cause for Brian Salerno stating that he refused to comply with her subpoena although he was the first-responder and expert in the case. She also showed the judge a letter from his lawyer, Mr. Thomas Dillon, forbading the defendant to contact his client. The judge stated there would be a hearing in the issue after the motion to dismissed is settled. The case was continued to 10/09/2012.
October 9th, 2012: ( Transcript is here. )
When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she talked with Patrick Fazio who wanted to take shots of her going and entering the courthouse. Once she was done Mr. Fazio, she was informed at the front desk that Judge Goebel was presiding in room 207. At the courtroom, she started reading her material while waiting to be called.
When her case was called, Judge Goebel put it on recall at 1.00pm. She went outside with Mr. Fazio who decided to interview her instead of waiting until after her argument. Outside the courthouse, he interviewed her in a little park having a white fountain. California Avenue runs at both sides of that park. Mr. Fazio briefly told her what the interview would be about. Afterward, Bob, his cameramen, put a microphone on Ms. Melongo and the interview started.
Mr. Fazio, among others, asked questions about her stay in jail, her emotions at the severity of her bond, the eavesdropping case and its impact on the law in Illinois and the cyber-laws project between Carol Spizzirri and the Illinois Attorney General office. At the end of the interview, Ms. Melongo thanked her former lawyers, the bloggers, her friends and her mother. Once the interview was done, the cameraman took additional shots of her walking with Mr. Fazio. At the end of the shootings, the group got to know each other. Ms. Melongo and her friend asked various questions to Mr. Fazio and his crew, the questions ranged from his work as a reporter, to his interest in the story and to when the story will air. At quarter to one, she cut the chitchat and rushed to the courthouse. Her friend went to eat something at the cafeteria. On her way to her courtroom, feeling hungry, she bought herself some Danish cake.
When her case was recalled, after the initial presentations, Mr. Podlasek, the prosecutor, complained about the defendant withholding his USB. Ms. Melongo informed the judge that she wanted to put it on the record first that copies of subpoenas were given to him. Once he received the USB's device, the defendant requested information about the gmail account attached as exhibit to his motion. She reminded the judge that Mr. Podlasek objected to the Canadian Subpoena stating he would provide that information. When the prosecutor became evasive, the judge urged him to provide the said information, the judge further stated that without the said information, that document wouldn't be allowed to go to trial. Once the issue was settled, the defendant got a table and a chair, she plugged in her laptop and arranged her papers on the table.
She started by asking Det. Martin about his experience as a detective. She gradually switched to the investigation that led to her computer tampering charges. She asked questions of whether any expert hired by Save A Life Foundation was able to point the defendant as the intruder or the author of the deletion or the person who changed the password that deleted files, to all of those questions, he responded in the negative.
She also asked questions about his subpoenas to Comcast. Mr. Martin responded stating that the defendant didn't have an account with Comcast, that Comcast never stated that the IP address was assigned to a modem billed to her home and that the IP address was traceable to her house. When the defendant's asked questions about the preservation of evidence from Save A Life Foundation's computers and servers, he answered stating that the evidence was never preserved.
When the defendant asked if he ever watched the ABC's report on Save A Life Foundation's, the prosecutor objected and the judge sustained. The defendant rested her case.
When it came time to cross-examine detective Martin, the prosecutor asked various questions related to his conversation with the defendant, to the gmail email, to the evidence returned by Shahna Monge. The detective told the court that after being Mirandized, the defendant told him that she accessed Save A Life Foundation's web server, Carol Spizzirri's email and forwarded the emails to herself. He further stated that the IP address he focused on during his investigation was the same that accessed the computers according to the gmail's email and Shahna Monge's report. Though the defendant objected to the state prosecutor's introduction of Shahna Monge's report, the judge let the state prosecutor proceed. The prosecutor further asked about the remote access software, GoToMyPC, and about the information found on the defendant's laptop related to that software that proved the intrusion. The defendant decided it was useless to object. She focused on taking notes.
Once Mr. Podlasek was done cross-examining, the judge brought the hearing to an end and postponed the defendant's rebuttal to coming Monday. The defendant urged the judge to ask the prosecutor to provide the information pertaining to the gmail's exhibit. The judge did exactly that. The case was continued to 10/15/2012.
October 11th, 2012: The defendant filed a motion to advance her case that was heard in room 3A15. She requested a free copy of the October 9th, 2012, transcript, arguing that by the next hearing, it would be impossible for the human memory to recall all the details of the October 9th, 2012, hearing. The prosecutor objected to the request stating that the state shouldn't pay for her expenses because she once stated that she was Pro Se not because she couldn't afford a lawyer. The judge sided with the prosecutor stating that he took good notes of the October 9th, 2012, proceedings and that in the event some statements needed to be clarified, he would deal with that on that day. The defendant further requested an order to bring her computer to the courthouse on 10/15/2012. After inquiring about the purpose of the laptop, the judge signed it when the defendant stated it was to play videos and to check for certain facts. The case was continued to 10/15/2012.
October 15th, 2012: (Transcript is here)Ms. Melongo arrived at room 3A15 at around 10.30am. She called the state prosecutor to inform him of her late coming. Once in the courtroom, she noticed that the state prosecutor had taken the table she intended to use. She took the table close to the judge. Mr. Stewart helped her plug her laptop then she arranged her documents on the table. After the initial presentations, the judge put detective Martin under oath and asked the defendant to proceed with the rebuttal.
Minutes into her rebuttal, her friend arrived in the courtroom. By that time, the prosecutors, Mr. Podlasek and Ms. Nancy Sarcos, were almost objecting to every of her questions and the judge was almost sustaining all of them. At some points, the judge wouldn't let her ask questions and bluntly told her that she needed a lawyer. Ms. Melongo decided to keep her calm and continued asking her questions which continued to be objected and sustained. The judge continued to throw at her that her questions weren't properly phrased, that she was arguing with the lawyers, that the questions were irrelevant and not tailored to what was said during the grand jury. Ms. Melongo wouldn't let that deter her. At times, she would even ask the judge to justify sustaining her questions. At around 12.00pm, the judge called for a break and put the case on recall for 1.30pm. The prosecutors requested 2.00pm, Ms. Melongo objected to that. The judge said he would make his decision.
Once Ms. Melongo got out of the courtroom, she told her friend that she knew things weren't going well; he threw at her that the questions weren't properly phrased. When he said he was going somewhere to eat, Ms. Melongo told him that she wanted to go to the law library to work on her argument. Once there, she decided not to challenge the nitty gritty of the state's cross examination, but to ask questions in relation to what was said during the grand jury. Ms. Melongo channeled her questions on the exhibits presented by the prosecutor and re-phrased her questions on their relationships to what was said when detective Martin witnessed during the grand jury. She created three paragraphs for each exhibit. The last paragraph was about questions summarizing what was said on October 9th, 2012. At around 1.30pm, she headed back to the courtroom and plugged in her computer. While waiting, she laid her head on the table and waited for everyone to come. Once Mr. Podlasek and Ms. Sarcos arrived, she asked the information pertaining to the gmail exhibit. Mr. Podlasek promised to give it to her on the record.
When the judge arrived in the courtroom, before resuming the hearing, the defendant asked him to compel the state to provide information related to the gmail's exhibit. Mr. Podlasek failed to provide any information; however, he gave handed an email to the defendant stating that there were two individuals who were willing to be subpoenaed. The defendant replied asking for a precise name. The judge told her to use whatever information was provided to her. Ms. Melongo kept her composure and when the hearing resumed, she asked questions about people's exhibit 1.
The blow came when she introduced petitioner's exhibit 11. The judge sent the detective to another room and asked for the relevance of that exhibit. The defendant explained that Carol Spizzirri stated in that exhibit that the author of people's exhibit No.1 was Christian Sass, not the so-called individuals the prosecutor named in his handed-over email. When the prosecutor objected to the introduction of that exhibit, the judge overruled it and from then on the defendant was on top of her game. She asked similar questions related to the other two exhibits presented by the state. Though the prosecutors objected to some of her questions, when she finished asking questions, she knew a game changer had just happened. When she rested, she gave her exhibits to the judge and Mr. Podlasek gave his as well. The judge then called for final arguments.
Ms. Melongo started her argument stating that the state had turned the whole process into a mini-trial. She reminded the court about the issues raised in her motion to dismiss, namely the perjuries and the discovery violations all of which violated the defendant's due process rights. While arguing about the perjuries, she cited the three conditions prescribed in People v. Rutledge, 257 Ill. App. 3d 379, and went through all counts of detective's Martin perjury to show that those conditions were met.
In the second part of her argument, she cited California v. Trombetta (1984), 467 U.S. 479, and Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). In relation to Trombetta, she argued that the evidence in her laptop and in Save A Life Foundation's computers and servers wasn't properly preserved due to the bad faith of Schiller Park Police and the said evidence is forever lost. For Brady, she stated that the state prosecutor had withheld requested exculpatory evidence from her for over six years. She urged the judge to grant her motion and rested her case.
The state prosecutor replied stating that enough evidence was presented to sustain an indictment, that though perjuries and discovery violations were made, that didn't support a dismissal of the indictment. He urged the judge to deny the defendant's motion and to set the case to trial.
Ms. Melongo in the final rebuttal told the judge that the prosecutor and the detective had manipulated the grand jury and presented facts opposite to their investigation. She added that her motion wasn't about sufficiency of evidence, but rather about perjury and discovery violations. To conclude, she read a passage from People v. Rodgers, Ill, 442, N.E.2d 240, and went on to say that her wrongful indictment had made her poor, destitute and that she has been humiliated because of it, she begged the judge to be fair against the unfairness that was done to her. Afterward, she rested her case.
The judge announced that he would rule the following Friday. The defendant begged for a written order staing the case wouldn't stop in his court. The judge said he would decide. The case was continued to 10/19/2012.
October 19th, 2012: When Ms. Melongo arrived in court, she found out that her assigned courtroom was 606. She went there and waited for her case to be called. When called, the judge presented the defendant as a Pro Se and a new prosecutor along with Mr. Zu were representing the state. Mr. Podlasek was not in court. The judge stated that he wasn't able to make a ruling that day. He proposed a date and both sides agreed with it.
When she took the elevator to go home, just one floor underneath her assigned courtroom, Mr. Podlasek got in and Ms. Melongo wondered why he wasn't in court. He stated he was around and was just informed of the next court date. Once in the lower level, Ms. Melongo wished him a nice day and both exited the elevator. The case was continued to 10/25/2012.
October 25th, 2012: ( Transcript is here. ) At the information desk, Ms. Melongo learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in room 301. Once in that courtroom she waited to have her case called. When called, and after the initial presentations, the judge reminded both parties that the case was set for his ruling on the defendant's motion to dismiss her computer tampering case. After reminding the defendant of the defects in her argument, he cited People v. Sampson, 406 Ill. App.3d 1054, 943 N.E.2.d 783, 348 Ill. Dec. 175, as the basis for his ruling and went on to read various passages of that case law. Afterward, he summarized his statements stating that the defendant's motion was denied and that the discovery violations in her motion didn't amount to substantial prejudice. He denied that part of the motion as well. The defendant requested 10 days to file a substitution of judge motion. The judge granted her request and the case was continued to 11/05/2012.
November 5th, 2012: Ms. Melongo was informed at the front desk that Judge Goebel was presiding in courtroom 704. She went there and waited until her case was called. When called and after the initial presentation, Judge Goebel asked her about her motion for substitution of judge. The defendant stated that she hadn't file one and wanted to put some grievances on the record first before going that far. The judge wouldn't let her put those grievances on the record. The defendant nevertheless informed him that she had already filed a memorandum for said grievances. She showed that memorandum to the judge and informed him that she had also filed a motion to reconsider his October 25th, 2012, ruling. The judge asked for a continuance day. When the prosecutor couldn't agree to one within two weeks, the defendant stated she had no issue for a hearing after Thanksgiving. The case was continued to 11/28/2012.
November 28th, 2012: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 301. Once her case was called and after the initial presentations, Judge Goebel reminded her that her memorandum regarding various grievances against him was, according to him, a substitution of judge request. Though Ms. Melongo told him she didn't want to substitute him, he nevertheless sent her to Judge Porter in Room 606 to have the memorandum heard.
Once in Judge Porter's courtroom, Ms. Melongo and Mr. Podlasek waited to have the case called. When called, Judge Porter read the memorandum first and then addressed the defendant to clarify the situation. Ms. Melongo stated that she never intended to substitute her judge, that a Supreme Court Rule prescribes that the motion had to clearly state so and should be sworn, none of which, she argued, happened in her case. She further told the judge that Judge Goebel could recuse himself if he wanted to, although she never requested him to do so. Judge Porter ruled that the case be remanded to Judge Goebel and noted that the defendant didn't want the judge to be substituted.
Back in Judge Goebel's courtroom, the defendant and the state prosecutor had to wait for some time before their case was called. When that happened and after the initial presentations, Ms. Melongo clarified the difference between her memorandum and a substitution of judge request. Judge Goebel stated she voiced the desire to do so on October 25th, 2012, and he gave her the opportunity when she filed the memorandum.
After those clarifications, Ms. Melongo updated the court with her search for a lawyer. She also tried to file printouts of the NBC investigative reports on her case; however, judge Goebel wouldn't let her, stating that her file should only contain legal information on her case. She then went on to request reports of experts hired by Save A Life Foundation as well as the author of the gmail email. When Mr. Podlasek became ambivalent about giving that information, the judge reminded him that the defendant was entitled to it. The prosecutor agreed to provide said information.
Furthermore, the defendant requested permission to subpoena documents from Shahna Monge, Christian Sass, the ÄÄ€Ä€Ć„ā‚¬Ä€Ā€Ä€Ä€Ä€Ć„ā‚¬Ä€Āpm1973@aol.com' account and finally the ÄÄ€Ä€Ć„ā‚¬Ä€Ā€Ä€Ä€Ä€Ć„ā‚¬Ä€Āserversitters.com' company. Mr. Podlasek complained about being characterized as devious by the defendant regarding the previously quashed subpoena on Mrs. Monge, he also vehemently objected to the subpoena to the AOL account stating that the account belonged to him and that it was scratched on the document he provided to the court. Judge Goebel only denied the subpoena to AOL and let the defendant subpoena the other individuals.
Finally the defendant moved to file various motions on Mr. Vince B. Davis, Mr. Dane Neal, Mrs. Carrie Viehweg and Mr. Brian Salerno to show cause why they hadn't complied with her court ordered subpoenas. Mr. Podlasek objected to the filings, stating that he wanted to talk to these individuals beforehand. The judge allowed the defendant to subpoena Mr. Brian Salerno, Mr. Vince Davis and Mr. Dane Neal to court during the next hearing and he let the prosecutor contact Mrs. Viehweg arguing that she lived in Staunton, IL. He also warned the prosecutor that in the event one failed to show up or respond, he would find such an individual in contempt. The defendant reminded the judge that her moves weren't vindictive, that she gave the individuals plenty of time as well as final notices. The case was continued to 01/04/2013
January 4th, 2013: (Transcript is here) When Ms. Melongo arrived in court, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 101 at 1.00pm. She went to the 4th floor and paid some transcript fees and then decided to spend the remaining two hours taking care of some private business.
Back in Room 101 at 1.00pm, she saw Judge Joyce presiding for Judge Goebel. When her case was called and after the initial presentations, Judge Joyce said there wasn't much to do because he didn't know the case. He mentioned a lawyer coming earlier that day on behalf of one of the individuals subpoenaed. He said he continued the subpoena and advised him to come to the next court hearing. Ms. Melongo required that all her subpoenas be continued as well. As she was about to leave the courtroom, Mr. Vincent B. Davis asked the judge about what he was supposed to do and that he certainly didn't want to come to the next court hearing. Judge Joyce recalled the defendant and after inquiring about the subpoenas being sent to Mr. Davis, the judge put him under oath wherein he swore that he didn't have any document responsive to the subpoena. Judge Joyce filed the subpoena in question and the case was continued to 01/11/2013.
January 11th, 2013: When Ms. Melongo arrived in court, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in room 301. She went to that courtroom and waited for her case to be called. At around 11.am, once in front of the judge and after the initial presentations, the state prosecutor made a status of the case and complained about the defendant posting discovery information on the internet. Ms. Melongo replied asking him to be specific about the documents and the website. Mr. Podlasek mentioned the illinoiscorruption.net and showed the judge a copy of a motion she filed on December 23rd, 2012. The defendant responded stating that the motion in question was a public document not part of discovery and that Mr. Podlasek made all the documents in the illinoiscorruption.net public when he introduced it as People Exhibit 1 during the eavesdropping trial. Ms. Melongo promised the judge she would obey any order not to post discovery information provided the starting date was that day. The judge agreed. She then went through some subpoenas and the individuals who were supposed to comply with said subpoenas. When it became apparent that she had a lot to go through, Judge Goebel put the case on recall to allow some attorneys in wait to proceed.
Once the case was recalled, Judge Goebel allowed Ms. Melongo to issue motions to show cause for Christian Sass and Dane Neal. He asked Mr. Podlasek to once more try to contact Carrie Viehweg in Staunton, IL. She then requested a free transcript for January 4th, 2013, documenting Mr. Vince Davis's statements of not having any document responsive to the subpoena sent to him. Judge Goebel allowed her to order that transcript but denied her request to order the Cook County Court Reporter's office to issue the audio-tape for the arraignment on June 18th, 2008, as well as the tape for the dismissal of her case in Rolling Meadows, IL on January 10th, 2007. Though she argued that a lack of an arraignment violates her Due Process Rights, that, if in fact she wasn't arraigned, all orders issued in the case are void, and that the Rolling Meadows' audio-tape will help her defense, which she stated, will be that the state doesn't have evidence and that it used fraud and perjury to bring about the charges, Judge Goebel maintained his denial.
Furthermore, she requested additional documents, withheld as privileged, from the Illinois Attorney General Office when it complied with her subpoena. The issuance by the state prosecutor of reports of experts hired by Save A Life Foundation for the computer incident were also requested. Finally, she asked permissions to subpoena Iron Metal, Schiller Park Police and Rita Mullins. Judge Goebel only denied Rita Mullins' subpoena. The defendant later filed a motion for Bill Of Particulars and List of Witnesses, as well as asking the judge to compel Mr. Podlasek to respond to the Discovery Motion issued by Mr. Albukerk, the defendant's former lawyer, on July 6th, 2010. Before leaving the courtroom, she apologized to the judge for telling him not to worry about how her prospective lawyer will take over her case. Judge Goebel found the statement disrespectful. The case was continued to 01/25/2013.
January 25th, 2013: (Transcript is here) When Ms. Melongo arrived in court, she went straight to the law library to make copies of some affidavits she needed for her motions. By the time she arrived in her assigned courtroom, Room 3A15, it was almost 11.00am. Mr. Tom Dillon, Brian Salerno's lawyer, and a representative of the Illinois Attorney General Office were already in the courtroom. She was told by a clerk that her case was called earlier.
When Judge Goebel appeared in the courtroom, her case was immediately called. After the initial presentations, the Illinois Attorney General's representative explained the reason of his presence and gave the defendant a second copy of documents complying with the subpoena issued. Ms. Melongo went through those documents. She later told the judge that she already had them and that in fact, those documents weren't responsive of the recent subpoena. She argued that the Attorney General had withheld certain documents in September of 2012 when it complied with her subpoena and that the non-disclosure of those documents was the reason why the Attorney General was re-subpoenaed. The judge was tendered the documents in question and went through them briefly. Then he switched to Mr. Dillon.
Mr. Dillon tendered documents responsive to Mr. Brian Salerno's subpoena. Mr. Salerno was the first expert hired by Save A Life Foundation for the computer incident for which the defendant was charged. He told the judge that Mr. Salerno no longer has emails of the incident and the documents tendered were all that Mr. Salerno had. Ms. Melongo objected to the emails being lost and to the documents not containing any appropriate IT expert report. The judge ruled that Mr. Salerno had complied with the subpoena and that other than eventually coming to trial as a witness, any further subpoena to Mr. Salerno was denied. Mr. Dillon then presented another set of documents responsive to Christian Sass's subpoena. Mr. Christian Sass was the individual who took over when Ms. Melongo was fired by Save A Life Foundation. The defendant acknowledged receipts of both responses but complained stating that the lack of emails and technical expert information in Brian Salerno's response was prejudicial to her defense. Once Mr. Dillon was done, Judge Goebel switched back to the Illinois Attorney General representative. He told the representative that he had to review all the documents before deciding whether or not they should be withheld as privileged. The judge asked him to come back to court within a week. He then excused both the Illinois Attorney General representative and Mr. Dillon.
The defendant went on to request reports of experts hired by Save A Life Foundation for the computer incident as part of Discovery. Mr. Podlasek replied telling the judge that the Illinois Attorney General's expert report had already been given to the defendant. Ms. Melongo clarified this telling the judge that Mrs. Shahna Monge, the Illinois Attorney General expert, was not an expert hired by the foundation, that the state prosecutor told the Grand Jurors at the indictment that experts hired by Save A Life Foundation were able to trace the defendant as the intruder and cause of the deletion. Although Mr. Podlasek tried to tell the judge that another prosecutor, Mr. Scott A. Biestek, was also involved in the case, when Ms. Melongo argued that Mr. Podlasek, not Mr. Biestek, was the prosecutor at the indictment, the Judge urged Mr. Podlasek to provide that information during the next court hearing. Thejudge was also unapologetic to the prosecutor when the defendant told him that the case was almost in its seven years and that the state hadn't fully complied with Discovery. The judge requested that all information pertaining to Discovery be tendered at the next hearing and urged the prosecutor to be present in court when that information get tendered.
Mr. Podlasek also tendered a response to the defendant's request for a Bill Of Particulars but failed to present a list of witnesses. He informed the court that said list of witnesses would be included when he complied with the Discovery motion. The defendant then brought the issue of Carrie Viehweg; a Save A Life Foundation's manager, who hadn't responded to her subpoena and who the state was supposed to contact. Mr. Podlasek told the judge that he contacted her, that her husband was still living in the address on the subpoena but that he didn't know her whereabouts although he knew where she worked and got a phone call from her that morning. The judge urged the prosecutor to give the address of Mrs. Viehweg's workplace to the defendant as well as her contact phone number. Before closing the hearing, Judge Goebel signed an order allowing the defendant to get a free transcript for January 4th, 2013. The case was continued to 02/01/2013.
February 1st, 2013: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 201. She went there and waited for her case to be called. When called, she greeted the judge and inquired why the state prosecutor, Mr. Podlasek, wasn't in court. The judge told her that her case was called earlier because the state prosecutor, along with the Illinois Attorney General Representative, had other matters to attend and that the case was continued to 02/14/2013.
February 14th, 2013: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 704. Once in that courtroom she waited for her case to be called. The Illinois Attorney General's Representative and the Schiller Park Police's lawyer were also in court to comply with subpoenas sent to their clients. When the state's prosecutor, Mr. Podlasek, arrived, her case was called.
After the initial presentations from the state, the defense, the Illinois Attorney General and Schiller Park Police, the Schiller Park Police's lawyer presented a motion to quash the subpoena sent to his client. As a response, Ms. Melongo asked the judge to give her leave to file a written response. The judge granted the request and due to the fact that the documents requested from the Illinois Attorney General were part similar to those of the Schiller Park Police's subpoena, Judge Goebel told the Illinois Attorney General's Representative to wait until after arguments are heard on the Schiller Park Police's motion to quash. The judge also asked the Schiller Park Police lawyer's to bring all the documents requested by the defendant at the argument hearing to avoid wasting time once his ruling is made.
Afterward, Mr. Podlasek presented the state's response to the defendant's Discovery motion. Upon receiving the document, Ms. Melongo immediately told the judge that certain items requested were still missing, inter alia, her personal laptop acquired during the search warrant. Mr. Podlasek answered telling the judge that Judge Brosnahan once denied that request. The defendant told the judge that it wasn't true, that the Discovery motion was filed under Judge Brosnahan and that she couldn't have made such a ruling since she never heard arguments on the motion. Judge Goebel asked the prosecutor to bring any proof regarding such a ruling. Mr. Podlasek promised he would do so at the following hearing.
Ms. Melongo then presented her motion to have both the state and Carol Spizzirri admonished. She pointed to the exhibit attached to her motion and told the judge that Mrs. Spizzirri was unduly influencing the witnesses she was trying to subpoena. After Judge Goebel had the motion filed, he read the exhibit in question and ruled that the defendant was jumping to conclusions, that he would neither admonish the state nor Mrs. Spizzirri. The defendant afterward presented to the judge the Illinois Statute dealing with subpoenas and asked him to reconsider his decision not to put Mrs. Viehweg or Mr. Neal in contempt because her subpoenas didn't have returned receipts. The judge maintained his ruling and the defendant politely objected. He nevertheless advised her to get signed return receipts or to hire a process server.
Ms. Melongo later moved to request reports from experts hired by Save-A-Life Foundation. Mr. Podlasek told the court that, other than the documents he had already handed over, namely the Illinois Attorney General expert's report, he had nothing else to give. Ms. Melongo argued telling the judge that Mr. Podlasek never handed over any experts reports from either Mr. Brian Salerno or Mr. Don Peters although he told the Grand Jury that their reports was instrumental in proving the defendant as the intruder and the author of the deletion. Mr. Podlasek, in response, told the judge that Mr. Dillon had already complied with said documents. Judge Goebel acknowledged this and told the defendant that there were no other documents to produce. As the defendant was about to go on record stating that Mr. Podlasek had no documents from experts hired by Save-A-Life Foundation, Mr. Podlasek cut her short, telling the court that the defendant didn't understand what he said possibly because of her language barrier. The defendant felt extremely irritated and told the judge that Mr. Podlasek was attempting to confuse her. The judge ordered one of the guards to take the defendant to the backroom. Judge Goebel turned to other cases.
While in the back room, Ms. Melongo kept her composure and let her emotions go. About 20 minutes later, her case was recalled. Judge Goebel put the entire incident on the record and added that the defendant had been disrespectful to the court, talking over him and cutting him short. Ms. Melongo apologized about the whole incident and as the judge was about to pick a continuation date, she reminded him that the issue of the reports of experts hired by Save-A-Life Foundation was still unresolved. She reminded the judge that Mr. Dillon was a third party attorney complying with Mr. Brian Salerno's subpoena and that Mr. Don Peter's expert report had never been handed over by the state. The judge asked Mr. Podlasek to give to the defendant whatever he had on Mr. Don Peter. The judge finally stated that he would see to it that Discovery was properly done otherwise he would issue sanctions. He also accepted the defendant's apologies regarding the whole incident.
The case was continued to 02/28/2013.
February 28th, 2013: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 500. Once there, she waited for her case to be called. When called and after the initial presentations, Judge Goebel told her that the state attorney, Mr. Podlasek, and the Illinois Attorney General Representative were in court around 10.12am and that due to a trial on his calendar, the case was continued to 03/07/2013.
March 7th, 2013: When Ms. Melongo arrived in court, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 400. Once her case was called and after the initial presentations, she filed her responses to Schiller Park Police's and the Illinois Attorney General's motions to quash. She handed said responses to Mr. Podlasek, the state's prosecutor, as well as giving to the Illinois Attorney General Representative a response regarding his request to quash. Mr Richard Bruen, the Schiller Park Police's attorney wasn't in court, so the defendant kept his response.
The Illinois Attorney General waived any privilege raised to quash the defendant's subpoena but retained a letter sent on October 20th, 2006, between Mr. Kyle French and Mr. Biestek. The defendant reminded the court that said letter was previously tendered by Mr. Podlasek. Mr. Podlasek went on to apologize for his actions. Judge Goebel gave the documents received from the Illinois Attorney General's representative to the defendant and excused that representative. Judge Goebel also handed a response from Action Iron's subpoena dealing with the defendant's car. The judge immediately thereafter put the case on recall to allow the defendant to go through all the documents received.
When the case was recalled, the defendant told the judge that Discovery hadn't been fully complied and that she would address that issue at the following hearing. The defendant then requested a date for any transcript showing that Judge Brosnahan once denied her request to have the defendant's laptop undergo an independent review. Mr. Podlasek couldn't provide a date but instead presented a motion by the defendant requesting a computer expert. Ms. Melongo used the occasion to tell the judge that said motion was still pending and had nothing whatsoever to do with Judge Brosnahan denying an independent review of her laptop.
In response to Mr. Don Peters' expert report, Mr. Podlasek said that he just had some emails and when the defendant urged him to tender the emails in question, he couldn't provide any answer. Judge Goebel asked Mr. Podlasek to tender the emails in question. Finally, the defendant reminded the judge that Mr. Podlasek made public his response about the state's witnesses. The defendant asked the judge if that response could be published. Judge Goebel said that he would rule on the issue at the following hearing. He then set arguments for the Schiller Park Police's motion to quash and the defendant motion to reconsider the denial of her motion to dismiss for the following hearing.
The case was continued to 03/19/2013.
March 19th, 2013: (Transcript is here)When the defendant arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in room 402. She went there and waited for her case to be called. Once called and after the initial presentations, she wondered why Mr. Richard Bruen, Schiller Park Police's attorney, wasn't in court. She told the judge that she properly served him by email with a copy of her response to his motion to quash as well as informed him of the argument date. Judge Goebel asked the defendant to call Mr. Bruen. The defendant replied telling the judge that due to recent regulations by the Cook County Chief Judge, she didn't have her cellphone with her. The state prosecutor, Mr. Podlasek, volunteered to make the call. The case was put on recall.
When the case was recalled, the defendant apologized having a gum in her mouth and asked to get rid of it. The judge allowed her to go back to her bench to remove the gum. Once the gum was removed, Mr. Podlasek told the judge that Mr. Bruen acknowledged receiving the defendant's email and stated that he couldn't be in court that day. The defendant then filed a motion for additional information directed at the state's response to her Bill of Particulars' motion. Specifically, she requested the name of experts hired by Save-A-Life Foundation, who precisely told the state prosecutor that the defendant intruded into Save-A-Life Foundation's computers and deleted data. The defendant showed the initial Bill Of Particulars to the judge. Mr. Podlasek made some notes and told the judge that he would deal with the request at the following court hearing.
The defendant renew her request to have any document the state prosecutor had in his possession regarding Mr. Don Peters, one of the experts hired by Save-A-Life Foundation. The judge answered telling the defendant that said information was provided to her when Mr. Dillon came to court on January 25th, 2013. Ms. Melongo clarified this telling the judge that Mr. Dillon came to court on behalf of Mr. Salerno and Mr. Sass respectively the first expert in the case and the individual who replaced the defendant at Save-A-Life Foundation. She then added that regarding the second expert, Mr. Don Peters, she had never received anything from the state prosecutor. When the state argued that he didn't have an expert report per se but just some emails, the defendant replied telling the court that whatever he has should to be tendered. The state prosecutor went on to argue that those documents were already tendered. When the defendant asked for a precise date, Mr. Podlasek couldn't give one. Judge Goebel ruled that said emails should be re-submitted to the defendant.
The defendant later requested contact information of Mr. Barnes, one of the state's witnesses, and of Mrs. Viehweg. The state prosecutor promised to hand over the information. Finally the defendant asked for funds to subpoena Mr. McQuaid, a state's witness, in Canada. She argued that the individual in question failed to return her emails and that she needed information from him to prepare for trial. Judge Goebel told the defendant that Mr. McQuaid was not supposed to respond to her subpoena and that it was beyond his duty to enforce it. Ms. Melongo clarified this telling the judge that the reason she contacted Mr. McQuaid was to know if he was willing to voluntarily provide any information regarding his involvement in the case. She added that her subpoena wasn't targeted at Mr. McQuaid, but rather at his employer to produce certain documents relevant to her case. She also added that she couldn't enforce her subpoena due to the fact that she needed to hire a lawyer in Canada that will eventually convert her American subpoena into a Canadian one. Judge Goebel denied her request stating that she could get the sought after documents through Discovery and that if said documents weren't tendered, any such document will be barred from trial. The judge also told the defendant to bring all copies of redacted documents by the state prosecutor, this after the defendant complained that the state prosecutor redacted information he wasn't supposed to when he acquired her legal file.
To close the hearing, the defendant asked to subpoena Cook County State Attorney's office. She promised to put the request in writing when asked to do so by Mr. Podlasek. She also asked leave to bring her laptop to court to show certain videos that were relevant to her request. The judge granted her request to make a written request to subpoena as well as bringing her laptop to court. The case was continued to 04/11/2013.
April 11th, 2013: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 606. When she arrived at the courtroom, given that she was late, she noticed that the state prosecutor, Mr. Podlasek, wasn't in court. She waited to have her case called while feeling extremely uncomfortable given the fact that one of her contact lenses broke inside her eyes.
When her case was called, she forgot to make any presentation due to her discomfort and kept plugging her eyes. She told the judge about the incident and stated that she couldn't do anything and had to go to the doctor. A different prosecutor was in court on behalf of Mr. Podlasek. That prosecutor gave the judge certain continuance dates. Judge Goebel told the defendant that Mr. Richard Bruen, Schiller Park Police's lawyer, was in court earlier that day to comply with her subpoena. He stated that he will review the subpoena's response before giving the information to the defendant. The prosecutor went on to say that any privilege raised by Schiller Park Police was waived and that certain documents were duplicated and should have been tendered through Discovery. The defendant, despite her impediment, managed to have the judge sign an order to bring her laptop to court at the following hearing as well as two orders directed to Servers Sitter and Eastlink, both Canadian companies. She apologized for the whole incident and Judge Goebel accepted her apology telling her that he fully understood her situation. The case was continued to 04/25/2013.
April 25th, 2013: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 3A15. She went to that courtroom and while waiting for the judge, she prepared her argument.
Immediately after Judge Goebel entered the courtroom, her case was called. After the initial presentations, Judge Goebel gave the defendant the response from Schiller Park Police complying with her subpoena. When the defendant asked for some time to review the response, Judge Goebel stated that he had reviewed the documents and acknowledged not seeing any experts' reports when the defendant noticed the lack thereof. After exchanges about the state prosecutor failure's to provide reports of experts, the defendant stated that she would make a written request to urge the state's prosecutor, Mr. Podlasek, to properly comply with Discovery. Though the Judge maintained that any information not tendered wouldn't be part of the trial, he nevertheless allowed her to put her request in writing.
The defendant filed her motion for leave to subpoena the Cook County State Attorney. Mr. Podlasek declined arguing the motion that day instead, he asked to review the motion and to answer at a later hearing. However, he wanted to know what state prosecutor was targeted, whether it was Mr. Dick Devine or Mrs. Anita Alvarez. The defendant told him that it was irrelevant since any document targeted was public property under the care of the state attorney. When Mr. Podlasek tried to know the exact nature of the documents, the defendant told him that it would be made known if her motion is granted.
Ms. Melongo afterward showed Judge Goebel the subpoena's response from Robert Half Technology that Mr. Podlasek completely wiped out. She told the judge that 30+ pages, that weren't supposed to be redacted, were so when Mr. Podlasek acquired her legal file. The judge ordered the state to bring the redacted information for inspection. However, Mr. Podlasek hinted to the fact that the documents might have been wiped out by Mr. Albukerk, the defendant's former lawyer.
The defendant asked for any document responsive to her additional Bill Of Particulars. When Mr. Podlasek tried to bring the name of Mrs. Shahna Monge, the Illinois Attorney General Expert, the defendant vehemently objected, reminding the judge that the expert in question was not hired by Save-A-Life Foundation and as such, couldn't be part of her motion. Given the unwillingness of the state prosecutor to comply with Discovery, the defendant reaffirmed her need to make a written request urging Mr. Podlasek to comply with Discovery per Illinois Supreme Court's Rules.
Finally the defendant renew her need to know if the list of witnesses filed on February 14th, 2013, was meant to be published given that it was a public record. The state prosecutor objected to have the document published on the internet. The defendant argued that she needed to send the document to the witnesses mentioned in the document in order to prepare for trial. Mr. Podlasek requested that such communications should state that the witness wasn't legally obliged to comply. The judge refused to make such a ruling, he only ordered the defendant not to publish said document on the internet. When the defendant wanted to know if anyone could order the document given that it was a public one, the judge gave no answer.
To close the hearing, Ms. Melongo asked to subpoena Mr. Don Peters and Mr. Salerno to witness at her motion to reconsider. Mr. Podlasek objected to it and Judge Goebel ruled that subpoenaing those experts would be introducing new evidence. The defendant replied reminding the judge that he allegedly denied her motion to dismiss based on insufficient evidence, she argued that there's no better evidence out there than those two experts testifying. When the judge sustained his ruling, the defendant objected on the record. Later, that day the judge signed an order to bring the defendant's laptop to court and an order for a free transcript. The case was continued to 05/14/2013.
May 8th, 2013: Ms. Melongo was in court on her notification of motion to re-subpoena Schiller Park Police for additional documents. When she arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in courtroom 3A15. She went there and found a locked door. She sat outside of the courtroom until the door was opened. When she didn't see the state prosecutor, Mr. Robert Podlasek, she went to his office on the 13th floor. She was told that he wasn't in court; she went back to the courtroom and read some legal documents. She sat there until Judge Goebel arrived. When her case was called, she told the judge that Mr. Podlasek wasn't available. The judge continued the matter to 05/14/2013.
May 14th, 2013: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in room 3A15. Mr. Robert Podlasek, the state prosecutor, was already in the courtroom. She apologized for coming late and inquired if he got her voicemail about the late coming. Mr. Podlasek acknowledged receiving it. She quickly went outside and returned some minutes later only to find the judge and the state prosecutor waiting for her. After the initial presentations, she filed her motion to compel discovery per Illinois Supreme Court Rules 412 and 415. After reading her motion, Judge Goebel asked her to proceed with the argument.
The defendant argued that Rule 412 made the state prosecutor the conduit of discovery and therefore Mr. Podlasek cannot use Mr. Dillon to provide discovery in his stead. She added that Mr. Dillon was not only an unrelated lawyer to the case but he was complying with a subpoena sent to third parties, namely Mr. Brian Salerno and Mr. Christian Sass. Moreover, she said, it was the duty of the trial court to enforce that discovery was properly done and the failure by the court to redress a prejudice arising out of non-compliance was an abuse of the judge's discretion. Mr. Podlasek refused to argue the motion but just added that the requested information was already tendered perhaps not in the form the defendant wanted.
Judge Goebel, during the defendant's argument, corrected her stating that he never allowed discovery by proxy but only allowed Mr. Dillon to comply with subpoenas sent to his clients. He granted the defendant's motion to compel discovery and denied her request for additional documents stating that the state prosecutor had already denied having said documents. When the defendant asked to put on the record the fact that Mr. Podlasek didn't have reports of experts hired by Save A Life Foundation contrary to what was stated during the Grand Jury, Mr. Podlasek corrected her stating that said information existed and was tendered. The defendant expressed her frustration and told the judge that Mr. Podlasek had never provided a date corroborating that and was also unwilling to resubmit the information. When the defendant suggested putting the case on recall to allow Mr. Podlasek to get the documents at the 13th floor, Mr. Podlasek objected. He suggested a meeting with the defendant to have the file reviewed. Although the defendant refused to meet with Mr. Podlasek at the state's attorney office, the judge urged her to do so, stating that lawyers do that all the time.
After the discovery issue was so settled, Ms. Melongo moved to argue her motion to subpoena the state's attorney office. Mr. Podlasek immediately handed her a copy of his objection and the defendant requested some time to review it given that, she said, there were case laws cited that needed to be checked. Mr. Podlasek replied telling the judge that he needed to know the type of documents that the defendant intended to subpoena before making a proper objection. The judge agreed and asked the defendant to prepare her subpoena and to present it to him before filing it. Though the defendant objected to the apparent censorship, she nevertheless agreed to follow the judge's order.
After that, Ms. Melongo brought up her still pending motion for additional Bill Of Particulars and argued that Mr. Podlasek's refusal to provide further details in response to that motion was also a discovery violation under Supreme Court Rule 412. Mr. Podlasek, in response, alluded to Mrs. Shahna Monge as the expert on the case. The defendant immediately corrected his statement telling the judge that though expert she was, she was not hired by Save A Life Foundation and as such, wasn't part of her motion. Judge Goebel urged Mr. Podlasek to provide a written answer to the defendant's motion as well as providing curriculum vitae for said experts. Ms. Melongo then switched to request a subpoena to Schiller Park for additional documents. She tendered Schiller Park's response to Judge Goebel who put on the record the missing emails and the documents not tendered in paragraphs 8-10. At first, the judge urged the defendant to contact Schiller Park Police to see if the documents can be voluntarily tendered, when the defendant told him that she unsuccessfully tried that avenue, judge Goebel granted her request to re-subpoena Schiller Park Police.
Furthermore, the defendant requested contact information from Robert Barnes and Carrie Viehweg. When Mr. Podlasek tried to tell the judge that the information has already been tendered, the defendant denied ever receiving it. The judge urged Mr. Podlasek to resubmit the information. The defendant then brought up the issue of the redacted information in her legal file, precisely the fact that Robert Half Technology response's was completely wiped out when that file was given to the state prosecutor. Mr. Podlasek alleged that Mr. Albukerk, the defendant's former lawyer, was the one who redacted said information and has the original copies. He urged the defendant to contact her former lawyer. When Ms. Melongo stated that she wasn't communicating with Mr. Albukerk and requested an order directing Robert Half to resubmit the information, Judge Goebel was surprised to learn that the defendant's entire file was given to the state prosecutor, that the given file still had privileged attorney-client information and finally that certain documents crucial to the defendant were removed. Judge Goebel asked the defendant to subpoena Mr. Albukerk to court to ascertain that he was the author of the redaction as insinuated by Mr. Podlasek.
To conclude the hearing, the defendant requested the criminal history of Mrs. Carol Spizzirri, the complainant. Ms. Melongo told the judge that Mr. Podlasek wasn't truthful when he stated that none of his witnesses had a criminal history. The defendant stated that Mrs. Carol Spizzirri is a twice-convicted shoplifter. The judge inquired as to the place and time. The defendant answered stating that the criminal acts were committed when the complainant was living in Wisconsin. When Mr. Podlasek denied knowing about the convictions, Judge Goebel sarcastically reminded him that there was something called the FBI Criminal Search database and urged him to bring that information at the following hearing. Mr. Podlasek also denied any knowledge of Mrs. Spizzirri's diagnosis as a schizophrenic liar. When the defendant tried to show a video to the judge alleging that fact, Mr. Podlasek immediately objected. Judge Goebel asked the defendant to put any request pertaining to Mrs. Spizzirri's mental state in the form of a motion.
Just as the defendant was about to leave the courtroom, Mr. Podlasek came back and told the judge that he forgot to request the defendant's address. The defendant, sensing some malice, told the judge that she wouldn't provide her private address. The judge asked Mr. Podlasek the reason behind the request. Mr. Podlasek answered telling the judge that a defendant is supposed to have an address registered and that the p.o box provided wasn't enough; he needed the defendant's private address to serve her registered mail. Ms. Melongo replied telling the judge that Mr. Podlasek not only has her phone number and her p.o box address, but also that court hearings are almost every two weeks. If Mr. Podlasek, the defendant argued, wanted to serve her something, he could call and she would come to court or he could bring said documents to court. Moreover, she added, she had received registered mail in her p.o box and had sent registered mail to p.o boxes. Judge Goebel ruled that the defendant would not give her private address but he warned her against not complaining if a registered mail is lost. The case was continued to 05/30/2013.
May 30th, 2013: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 400. Once in that courtroom, she waited for her case to be called.
When called and after the initial presentations, the defendant tendered the subpoena to Cook County State Attorney Office to the judge. After reviewing it, Judge Goebel tendered a copy to Mr. Podlasek and put the case on recall.
When the case was recalled, Mr. Podlasek stated that the subpoena should be sent to the Cook County State Attorney Civil Department which handles subpoenas on behalf of the state attorney's office. However, Judge Goebel stated that he first had to rule on the subpoena to allow it to proceed.
The defendant then filed her motion requesting the mental evaluation of Mrs. Carol Spizzirri, the complainant. The judge postponed arguments on the motion to the following hearing. Afterward Mrs. Melongo filed a subpoena to Mr. Nick Albukerk, her former lawyer, regarding information redacted in her legal files; additionally, she filed a subpoena to Schiller Park Police to provide additional documents complying with the January 22nd, 2013, subpoena.
After reading Mr. Albukerk's email, wherein he stated he couldn't be in court, Judge Goebel changed the original continuance date. Judge Goebel then urged Mr. Podlasek to contact Schiller Park Police to inquire of its absence in court. When Ms. Melongo requested the contact information of the state's witnesses, the response to her motion for additional Bill Of Particulars and the criminal history of Mrs. Carol Spizzirri, Mr. Podlasek stated that the witnesses' addresses will be provided at the following court hearing, that the FBI search of Mrs. Carol Spizzirri's criminal history was ongoing and finally that the reports of experts hired by Save-A-Life Foundation will also be provided at the following hearing.
To conclude, the defendant requested leave to subpoena ABC7 in relation to its investigative report on Save-A-Life Foundation. She told the judge that absent that investigative report, she might never have been charged, that her charges were introduced just before the report aired. When Mr. Podlasek objected to her narrative, Judge Goebel overruled and asked the defendant to continue. Ms. Melongo went on saying that her charges were used to shield Mrs. Carol Spizzirri against investigations on misappropriation of public funds. The judge allowed Ms. Melongo to issue her subpoena. The case was continued to 06/19/2013.
June 19th, 2013: (Transcript is here)When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 3A15. Once in that courtroom, she prepared for her hearing. Judge Goebel arrived sometimes later but the case couldn't proceed because Mr. Podlasek left the courtroom to go to his office. The judge came back and inquired four times about Mr. Podlasek, still Mr. Podlasek was a no show. Judge Goebel then asked his clerk to call him and to urge him to come to the courtroom. Immediately after Mr. Podlasek and Mrs. Debjani Dasgupta, his assistant, arrived, the defendant's case was called.
After the initial presentations, the defendant reminded the judge that exactly a year later, her case was dismissed and that the event was her happiest one in seven years. Judge Goebel avoided the issue and stated that he was no longer dealing with that case. The defendant replied telling him that she was just trying to be nice. Afterward, she mentioned her subpoena to Schiller Park Police and wondered why no representative was in court. At first Judge Goebel stated that Schiller Park Police made a statement on the record and that he will take such statement as a compliance, but when Ms. Melongo showed him a second subpoena that he had previously granted and which requested production of additional documents, the judge changed his mind and said that the requested documents might not be available. The defendant countered this stating that she used a FOIA to request said documents and it's only after Schiller Park Police alleged the confidentiality of the documents, that she used the subpoena's power. Therefore, she stated, Schiller Park couldn't possibly state that the documents were non-existent. After reviewing the first and the new subpoenas, Judge Goebel ordered the defendant to subpoena Detective Martin and to request him to personally bring the documents to court.
Regarding Mr. Albukerk's subpoena, Ms. Melongo couldn't understand why he wasn't in court. She told the judge that she saw him in the lobby. The judge requested Mr. Albukerk's phone number and stated on the record that he would personally urge him to come to court. He also urged the defendant to contact Mr. Albukerk to continue the subpoena. The hearing then moved to arguments on the defendant's motion to subpoena the State attorney's Office.
Ms. Melongo argued that Mr. Dick Devine enjoyed a personal relationship with the complainant, that after receiving a letter from Mrs. Spizzirri complaining about the defendant, Mr. Devine responded by forwarding the matter to Mr. Randy Robert, his executive assistant. Ms. Melongo further argued that immediately after the charges were filed, Mrs. Spizzirri sent a thank-you letter to Mr. Devine commanding the professionalism of detective William Martin and that of Mr. Randy Robert. After enumerating the type of documents she was after, she urged the judge to grant her motion. Mr. Podlasek on the other hand argued that the sought-after documents couldn't be produced because they were irrelevant, un-related to the case and subjected to the work-product privilege. The defendant rebutted telling the judge that the communication in the emails was about her case that the work-product privilege was one enjoyed by a client and his lawyer and that such privilege didn't exist between Mrs. Spizzirri and the state attorney's office. Mr. Podlasek countered stating that the work-product privilege applied because Mr. Devine was Mrs. Spizzirri's lawyer. Ms. Melongo sarcastically told the judge that Mr. Devine was also her lawyer in his capacity as Cook County's state attorney. She further argued that if Mr. Devine was every criminal complainant lawyer's then the Cook County State Attorney office would be immune from subpoena according to Mr. Podlasek's statements.
After hearing both arguments, Judge Goebel ruled that the defendant hadn't sufficiently showed how the work-product doesn't apply. Immediately thereafter, Ms. Melongo stated she would file a motion to reconsider. Though Mr. Podlasek objected to the request, Judge Goebel gave her leave to do so. She later asked Judge Goebel how requesting experts' reports were part of the work-product privilege. Judge Goebel stated that he would deal with that during the motion to reconsider.
Ms. Melongo then requested leave to subpoena WLS-TV (ABC7). After Mr. Podlasek stated he had no objection, Judge Goebel granted her request. When the defendant asked for the criminal history of Mrs. Spizzirri, Mr. Podlasek failed to provide it. Judge Goebel urged him to do so; thereafter Ms. Melongo also requested Mrs. Spizzirri's mental evaluation, not surprising, Mr. Podlasek failed to provide the information as well. Judge Goebel forward the matter to the next hearing.
Finally, Ms. Melongo requested contact information of certain state's witnesses as well as the reports of experts hired by Save A Life Foundation. Mr. Podlasek didn't have said information and when he tried to argue that the information had already been tendered, the defendant became aggravated and told the judge that Mr. Podlasek's maneuvers have gone on for too long and that he had to tender requested discovery. Judge Goebel acknowledged that and urged Mr. Podlasek to provide all the information at the next hearing. The case was continued to 06/26/2013.
June 26th, 2013: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 202. Shortly after entering the courtroom and given that the hearing was scheduled for 11.00am, she decided to go to the law library to staple some documents. Upon returning she saw Mr. Podlasek and Mr. Albukerk in the hallway. Mr. Podlasek informed her that due to Judge Goebel's scheduled trial, the hearing was continued to July 17th, 2013, and the trial's date was postponed. When the defendant inquired on Mr. Albukerk's availability, the latter checked his calendar and stated that he had a conflicting schedule. Therefore the three agreed on a different continuance date. Mr. Podlasek asked Ms. Melongo to inform the judge when she goes back to the courtroom.
Back in the courtroom, Ms. Melongo was forced to watch the ongoing trial. Mr. Albukerk later joined her and both waited until one of the defense attorney asked for a short recess. They used the opportunity to approach the judge and to inform him of the new continuation date. Judge Goebel also granted the defendant's request to continue the Schiller Park Police's subpoena for additional information. The case was continued to 07/19/2013.
July 19th, 2013: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 205. Once in the courtroom, she waited until her case was called.
When called and after the initial presentations, Ms. Sarkos and Mrs. Debjani Dasgupta appeared on behalf of the state. When Judge Goebel inquired about Mr. Podlasek's whereabouts, Ms. Sarkos stated that his mother died and that's the reason he couldn't be in court. After deciding on a continuance date, the judge told the prosecutors that Mr. Albukerk was in court earlier and that he would be back; but given that the matter didn't concern them, he stated that they were free to leave. Judge Goebel however asked Ms. Melongo to wait until Mr. Albukerk was back to discuss the matter of her legal file being redacted.
The defendant waited for more than an hour. After Judge Goebel came back from his recess, he called Ms. Melongo and stated that it appeared Mr. Albukerk wouldn't come back. He urged her to continue his subpoena and as a response to Ms. Melongo's inquiry, he also asked her to continue Detective Martin's Subpoena. The case was continued to 08/07/2013.
August 7th, 2013: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 600. Once in that courtroom, she prepared for her case.
When her case was called, Mr. Podlasek wasn't in court only his assistant, Ms. Debjani Dasgupta. Mr. Sanders was also in court on behalf of WLS-TV(ABC7). After the initial presentations, Ms. Melongo told the judge that she couldn't argue WLS-TV's motion to quash because she didn't have her laptop and needed a court order to bring it in order to play ABC7's investigative report on Carol Spizzirri and Save A Life Foundation. The judge asked her to proceed without the video. The defendant told him that it would be a great prejudice because she couldn't recall its entire content and that given her accent, the video was more explicit. Moreover, she said she didn't have the response to WLS-TV's motion which had all the necessary case laws. The judge told her that she could have asked for a computer's order before the hearing and that he fully understood her albeit the accent. He asked for the argument on the motion to quash to proceed.
Mr. Sanders argued that the sought-after documents were irrelevant to defendant's proceedings, that the defendant hadn't shown a compelling public interest, that the documents were unpublished material made by Mr. Goudie and that they were protected under the Reporter's Act. When the judge asked the defendant to argue, she stated that her statements would be made for an eventual appeal.
She stated that the burden of proof was on her to demonstrate that the documents were relevant to her case, that they serve a public interest and that they can't be obtained from other sources. She further stated that Judge Goebel's order to force her to argue a motion for which she lacks the necessary evidence was prejudicial and trumped that burden of proof.
Judge Goebel re-stated that she must have asked for an order to bring her computer before the hearing, that the information contained in the video was not relevant to her case and that she was jumping into conclusion without knowing if the video would ever be allowed at the trial.
Ms. Melongo replied asking the judge how he could be so sure if he has never seen the video? He answered stating that it was based on whatever she has just said. He granted WLS-TV's motion to quash and excused Mr. Sanders. The defendant made an objection for the records.
When the defendant asked for the reports of experts hired by Save-A-Life foundation and the criminal history of Carol Spizzirri, Ms. Dasgupta, representing the state, stated that a criminal search made on Carol Spizzirri returned nothing. She further stated that Schiller Park Police had contacted the state attorney's office in response to defendant's subpoena.
The defendant argued telling the judge that Schiller Park Police was subpoenaed to come to court to comply with her subpoena not to contact the state attorney's office. The defendant then added that she would file a motion to show cause why Schiller Park Police shouldn't be found in contempt of ignoring, on four occasions, subpoenas sent by the defendant. She also stated that Carol Spizzirri was a twice convicted shoplifter and that she would bring the conviction's documents at the following hearing to prove so. The judge encouraged her to do that.
Finally, she brought up the fact that the evidence for the computer tampering case has never been tendered and presented Mr. Albukerk's request filed ten days before Mr. Podlasek switched election to the eavesdropping case. She reminded the judge that since the computer tampering case had resumed, he had witnessed no evidence being tendered. She accused the judge of failing to enforce discovery in that regard. Judge Goebel answered stating that it wasn't true, that the state prosecutors had already argued that they didn't have expert reports but just some emails, that he would issue sanctions or contact the disciplinary commission in the event documents that were never tendered during discovery surfaced at trial. He finally added that Ms. Melongo was fully entitled to Carol Spizzirri's criminal history as part of discovery. The defendant thanked him for his remarks.
As the hearing was about to end, Mr. Albukerk entered the courtroom and apologized for being late. Ms. Melongo went on to present part of the redacted documents to the judge and summarized stating that Mr. Podlasek denied redacting them and he alleged that Mr. Albukerk might have done so. She also presented an attorney-client letter that was still in her legal file tendered to the state prosecutor as well as a set of documents that she gave Mr. Albukerk shortly before being arrested on the eavesdropping case.
In his defense, Mr. Albukerk stated that he indeed gave the letter to the state prosecutor because it wasn't written by the defendant but instead by someone else about a so-called conspiracy theory. He also acknowledged giving the defendant's documents to the state prosecutor after removing all attorney-client communication. He finally requested to see the redacted documents in question. The defendant answered telling the judge that it really didn't matter if the letter was written by her, but that it was sent by her, while in jail, as Mr. Albukerk's client and therefore constituted attorney-client communication. She also added that in tendering her documents to the state prosecutor with his notes and handwriting still in them, defendant's work-product privileges were violated. The judge put the case on recall and asked Mr. Albukerk to review the redacted documents.
When recalled, Mr. Albukerk stated that his office didn't redact the documents and he changed his mind alleging that he was now sure that the documents were redacted when he received them from Robert Half Technology but he doubted if they were to the extent presented. Judge Goebel asked him to review whatever documents he still had and to come to court at the next hearing and present his findings. The case was continued to 08/20/2013.
August 20th, 2013: When the defendant arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 606. Once there, she sat in the courtroom for about 2 hours until her case was called.
When called and after the initial presentations, the defendant filed her motion to show cause why Detective William Martin shouldn't be found in contempt. Mr. Podlasek, the state's prosecutor, told the Judge that detective Martin was in court and that he was ready to comply with the subpoena. After reading the subpoena, Judge Goebel stated that a Schiller Park Police's lawyer was in court and that lawyer made some statements regarding the subpoena. The state prosecutor and the defendant couldn't remember when that was. Afterward, the judge put Detective William Martin under oath and asked him about the documents requested in the subpoena. Once the interrogation was over, the defendant requested a clear statement by the detective alleging that his initial response to her subpoena was complete and accurate. Detective Martin replied stating that he believed so. When Ms. Melongo objected to the vague answer, Judge Goebel stated that he would accept it. After Detective Martin was excused, the defendant filed her final motion to produce evidence.
She started by reminding the court of the March 6th, 2012, hearing in which, upon Mr. Podlasek's motion, the case was put on recall and defendant was sent to her house to get responses to subpoenas improperly issued. She stated that the judge hadn't been so forthcoming when it came to Mr. Podlasek's discovery violations in that she had requested the evidence in her case for more than a year and that said evidence has never been tendered albeit the fact that it was present at the 13th floor of the courthouse, Mr. Podlasek's office. Furthermore, she argued stating that although Mr. Podlasek told the Grand Jurors that experts hired by Save-A-Life were able to identify the defendant as the intruder, he has never presented evidence corroborating those statements, that although Mr. Podlasek once stated that said experts reports were just emails, that he had never provided those emails and hadn't honored his own promise to let the defendant go through the state prosecutor's file to get said evidence. The defendant told the judge that in the event she wouldn't get the sought-after evidence by the next court hearing, she would have no choice but put a stay on the case and file a writ of mandamus at the Illinois Supreme Court. She concluded stating that she was deadly serious.
Mr. Podlasek, in response, presented documents from Vince Davis, Mercury Consulting; which documents he supposedly received from Carol Spizzirri. When Judge Goebel asked him the relationship between the individuals and the computers' events, Mr. Podlasek stated that he couldn't tell, that the documents originated from Carol Spizzirri. The defendant later added stating that she subpoenaed Mr. Vince Davis on January 4th, 2013, and that, under oath, he stated that he had no documents responsive to the computer's events. She was therefore surprised, she stated, to see documents coming from him. Mr. Podlasek answered stating that it was just Mr. Davis' resume. Judge Goebel ruled urging Mr. Podlasek to find out the involvement of these individuals in relation to the case before tendering the documents to the defendant.
The defendant then presented an affidavit of Mr. Gordon Pratt containing cases wherein Mrs. Carol Spizzirri was twice convicted of shoplifting. Mr. Podlasek stated that there was no hit returned under her name when the criminal search was run. Judge Goebel asked his assistant, Ms. Debjani Dasgupta, to run the search under Carol J. Pratt, instead of Carol J. Spizzirri. Ms. Dasgupta left the courtroom as a consequence. The defendant moved to argue her motion requesting Carol Spizzirri's mental evaluation . In essence, she asked that a mental evaluation be ordered on her because she was once diagnosed a schizophrenic liar and a child abuser; given, the defendant argued, that there's no record showing that she underwent the five-year treatment ordered by her evaluator, her condition might have worsened and this would help assessing Mrs. Carol Spizzirri whose statements to her personal friend, Mr. Dick Devine, were the basis of the case at bar.
Mr. Podlasek argued that Mr. Gordon Pratt's statements were self-serving precisely given that he and Mrs. Spizzirri were undergoing a divorce. The defendant countered stating that not only were Mrs. Pratt's statements made under oath but that the psychological evaluation took place because she personally verified it. She spelled the name of the doctor, Burton S. Silberglitt, PhD, and stated that he worked for the County Court. Judge Goebel ruled that he couldn't order Mrs. Spizzirri to undergo a psychological evaluation because the events happened a long time ago and that they had no bearing on the case. The defendant responded telling the judge that although the events happened a long time ago, they do have a bearing on her case because Mrs. Carol Spizzirri's statements, a schizophrenic liar, were the basis of the present charges, that she built her organization on lies and that those lies would be used at trial. When Judge Goebel maintained his ruling, the defendant asked for leave to subpoena Dr. Silberglitt's medical records. The judge granted the request but asked her to write a motion proving her case. The defendant promised to do so.
Ms. Melongo then moved to argue her motion to reconsider the denial of her motion to subpoena the Cook County State Attorney's office. The defendant basically argued that the work-product privilege was one that existed between a client and his lawyer and that her research revealed that such a privilege didn't exist between a criminal complainant and a state prosecutor. She further stated that there exist exceptions to that privilege. She mentioned the 'at issue' exception when the sought-after documents are the basis of a lawsuit or the defense's thereof, she also mentioned the "sword and shield" approach used in a recent Illinois Supreme Court case wherein a party can't disclose part of a privileged communication to gain a tactical advantage, the sword, and then used the same privilege to protect itself, the shield, against requests made by the opposing party seeking the full disclosure of the communication. Using that approach, she argued that Mrs. Carol Spizzirri by disclosing the communication and the nature of her relationship between Mr. Dick Devine, waived the work-product privilege, if there ever was one, and bestowed on the defendant the right to access the full communication.
Mr. Podlasek argued that the defendant was in a fishing expedition, that the communication in question was not about her or the case at bar. He somehow admitted that Mr. Dick Devine and Mrs. Carol Spizzirri enjoyed a personal relationship and urged the defendant to subpoena Mr. Dick Devine instead of the State Attorney Office. The defendant replied telling the judge that the communication was all about her case, that her name was mentioned throughout the documents and that when she was arrested, another communication ensued wherein Mrs. Spizzirri congratulated Mr. Randy Roberts and Detective Martin. She concluded telling the judge that Mr. Podlasek's statements were deceptive at best.
Judge Goebel ruled that he was reversing himself and that he would rule partly in favor of the defendant. He reversed his ruling in count 1 of the subpoena, conversations between Mr. Dick Devine and Mrs. Carol Spizzirri, in count 5, in part, and count 6. He also granted the paragraph requesting an affidavit. Mr. Podlasek stated that he wouldn't be able to comply with the subpoena because subpoenas were handled by a different department. Judge Goebel told him that he expected the compliance from him because he was the one in charge of the case. The defendant thanked the judge and congratulated him for being fair. Judge Goebel replied stating that he was always fair.
Ms. Dasgupta came back and told the court that a criminal search under Carol J. Pratt returned no hit either. When the defendant moved to argue her motion for a computer expert, Judge Goebel couldn't find said motion and continued the argument to the next hearing. He also refrained from scheduling a trial date when the defendant told him that she was still resolving her subpoena in Canada and that it would prejudice her to move to trial without that information. She told the judge that she would have ample information about the Canadian Subpoena at the following court hearing. The case was continued to 09/04/2013.
August 21th, 2013: Ms. Melongo and Mr. Albukerk agreed to meet in court on this day when Mr. Albukerk apologized of not being able to come to court the day prior. Once at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 302.
Once the case was called and after the initial presentations, Mr. Albukerk stated that he didn't have any copies of the redacted documents except the attorney-client communications. He recalled certain documents being redacted from Robert Half Technology subpoena's response but not to the extent that was presented. Ms. Melongo acknowledged that in its letter-head, Robert Half Technology stated that some deletions were made. Judge Goebel ruled that Robert Half Technology should be re-subpoenaed and that the response of said subpoena should be sent directly to him. Afterward, Ms. Melongo had Judge Goebel sign an order to bring her laptop to court at the following court hearing. The case was continued to 09/04/2013.
September 4th, 2013: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 301. She went to that courtroom and waited for her case to be called. During her wait, Mr. Podlasek entered the courtroom and after briefly talking to a court's clerk, he left.
When her case was called, Judge Goebel reminded Ms. Melongo that she was late and that Mr. Podlasek had already been in court and he joked that she was lucky that he didn't ask for an arrest warrant. He informed her that the agreed upon continuance was 09/17/2013.
September 11th, 2013: Ms. Melongo motioned up her case to change the upcoming court's date and to request an order to bring her laptop to court. When she arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 301. She waited until Judge Goebel finished all the cases on his call.
When her case was called and after the initial presentations, she wondered why Mr. Podlasek wasn't in court. She told the judge that she properly served him a copy of the notification of motion. Judge Goebel replied telling her that he might not have had the time. The defendant then filed her motion to have Mr. Podlasek recused and to appoint a special prosecutor. She told the judge that she had filed a civil right case on the eavesdropping case and showed him an order wherein federal Judge Lee had appointed Mr. Dean Monco to represent her. Afterward, she had the judge signed an order to bring her laptop to court and she requested a change of the upcoming court hearing. She told the judge that she couldn't make it on September 17th and that she would rather prefer either a day prior or a day after that date. After checking his calendar, the judge opted for September 16th, 2013.
Finally, Ms. Melongo inquired about a jury trial that she intended to attend in preparation of her own trial. Judge Goebel told her that the trial wouldn't take place because the defendant didn't show and a warrant had been issued for him. When she inquired about any other possible trial's date, after checking his schedule, judge Goebel stated that he had none prior to September 16th. The defendant thanked him. The case was continued to 09/16/2013.
September 16th, 2013: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 3A15. Once in the courtroom, she found Judge Walsh presiding over her cases and she quietly waited. When Judge Walsh was done, Judge Goebel replaced her on the bench and defendant's case was called.
After the initial presentations, Judge Goebel stated that Ms. Melongo filed a motion to have Mr. Podlasek recused and to appoint a special prosecutor, that that motion took precedent over everything else and that Chief Judge Biebel was the judge hearing the like motions. The case was therefore put on Judge Biebel's call and continued to 09/24/2013.
September 24th, 2013: (Transcript is here). Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse and went straight to room 101 reserved for Judge Biebel. Her case was called around 9.00 am but passed.
Around 10.00 am, the case was called again. After the initial presentations, Mr. Podlasek, the state prosecutor, stated that Ms. Melongo had filed a civil right complaint against him and various individuals at the state attorney office and that the present hearing was to disqualify him and that office.
He stated that Mr. Patrick Driscoll will handle the petition on behalf of the state and suggested a continuation date. Ms. Melongo immediately objected to the long continuation date stating that the case was about to go to trial. Nonetheless, Judge Biebel overruled and after signing defendant's order to bring her computer to the argument, the case was continued to 11/12/2013.
November 12th, 2013: Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse around 9.00am. When her case was called, it was passed to 2.00pm. She went to the law library at the fourth floor and prepared for her court hearing. At around 2.00pm, she went back to Room 101.
When her case was called, Mr. Patrick Driscoll appeared on behalf of the state. He filed his response to defendant's amended motion to disqualify. Judge Biebel gave leave to Ms. Melongo to respond and stated that he will make a written ruling. The case was continued to 12/10/2013.
December 10th, 2013: Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse and waited for her case to be called. While waiting, she met a friend and the two began to chitchat. He gave her a Christmas present and left at around 11.00am.
Once her case was called and after the initial presentations, a female state attorney informed the court that Mr. Patrick Driscoll, the prosecutor for the petition, had resigned. Judge Biebel replied stating that he hadn't resigned but was gone, putting an emphasis on "gone". Ms. Melongo filed her response to the state's reply and also filed an order to bring her computer at the following argument.
The female prosecutor was uncertain as to who will take over after Mr. Driscoll; she gave a name but showed her reservation. The case was continued to 01/07/2014.
January 7th, 2014: Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse at around 2.00pm. She went to the law library to prepare her argument. At around 3.00pm, she went down to courtroom 101 to argue her motion to disqualify the state attorney's office. Once there, she found another judge on the bench. She had to wait over 30min. before her case was called.
Once called and after the initial presentations, Mr. Stephen L. Garcia presented himself as the new prosecutor for the petition. He informed Judge Biebel that the case was set for argument. However, Judge Biebel stated that he didn't know, that he thought the defendant was to file her response. He apologized for the inconvenience and asked the parties to choose another argument's date. After signing Ms. Melongo's order to bring her computer, the case was continued to 01/23/2014.
January 23rd, 2014: Ms. Melongo arrived at courthouse around 3.00pm. When she got to Room 101, she found another judge still on the bench handling his calls. At around 3.30pm Judge Porter took the bench and Melongo's case was called.
After the initial presentations, Judge Dennis J. Porter informed both parties that Judge Biebel was not available and that he would hear the petition. Ms. Melongo asked him if the hearing could be postponed until Judge Biebel is available. The judge replied telling her that he was asked by Judge Biebel to hear the petition. The judge then asked Ms. Melongo to proceed. Ms. Melongo requested that Mr. Stephen Garcia, the petition's prosecutor, be seated while she argued. The judge granted her request and Mr. Garcia was sent to an adjacent desk.
After the initial presentations, Ms. Melongo enumerated the three conditions under which a Section 3-9008 to disqualify is granted. The conditions are, she stated, that the prosecutor is privately interested in the litigation, that the prosecutor is a party to the litigation and that a continued prosecution would create the appearance of impropriety. She contended that two of these conditions are met in her case.
She then talked about the personal friendship between Mr. Dick Devine, the state attorney at the time of the charges, and Mrs. Carol Spizzirri, the criminal complaint, to demonstrate the private interest. She presented Exhibit B of the amended petition and Exhibit A of defendant's reply as proofs. She moved on to show a video interview Mrs. Spizzirri made at the Illinois Channel. Once the video was over, she told the judge that though Mrs. Spizzirri twisted some facts, that everything she stated in that video were the facts of Melongo's case. For instance, she told the judge that the only complaint filed by Mrs. Spizzirri at the Schiller Park Police regarding a cyber-crime was Melongo's and that with no conviction on the record, Mrs. Spizzirri was already using the facts of the case to promote a cyber-crime project she had in partnership with Anita Alvarez's office. She concluded arguing that a conviction in her case would ultimately benefit said project.
Regarding the private interest, she argued that Mr. Podlasek, the case's prosecutor, was also privately interested. To prove this, she presented a caselaw, People v. White, prescribing that a prosecutor who is a party in a pending civil litigation and also a prosecutor in a criminal case wherein the criminal case and the civil litigation have inter-dependent facts, should be barred from prosecuting the criminal case.
Ms. Melongo then moved to present the second condition warranting a disqualification, the appearance of impropriety. To do this, she mentioned a caselaw People v. Gerold that held that it's unnecessary that the prosecuting attorney be guilty of an attempt to betray confidence, that it's enough if it puts him in a position which leads him to such charge. Ms. Melongo, to prove her point, enumerated various facts in her case that raise eyebrows: the personal friendship with Mr. Devine, the fact that Mr. Devine assigned his executive assistant, Mr. Randy Roberts, to assist in the investigation initiated on Mrs. Spizzirri's words alone, the cyber-crime project with Anita Alvarez's office that a conviction in the case would benefit and finally the fact that Mrs. Spizzirri has become an integral part in the prosecution in that she's seen contacting individuals subpoenaed by the defendant to help her case.
Ms. Melongo, using People v. Lang, stated that the aggressive behavior of the state attorney office to obtain a conviction at all costs also fits into the appearance of impropriety. To justify the aggressive behavior, she told the judge that her case was initially dismissed for lack of evidence in Rolling Meadows in November of 2006. Mr. Devine, she argued, to help his friend, revived the exact same case with the exact same charges at 2600 California Ave. She demonstrated how the state attorney, acting as investigator and prosecutor, charged her of eavesdropping as she was about to dismiss the computer tampering case on fraud and perjury grounds. The fact that the eavesdropping case was dismissed on constitutional grounds, she further argued, proved the vindictive nature of the prosecution. Finally she stated that comes April, her case will enter its eighth years and that the state had yet to present evidence corroborating its statements to the Grand Jurors.
She concluded asking and begging the judge to disqualify the current prosecutor and the state attorney office as a whole. She stated that the people of the state of Illinois would be better served with an independent and impartial prosecution of her case, that her present prosecution has become privately interested and that such interest no longer warranted an objective prosecution.
Mr. Garcia, the petition's prosecutor, took the stand and told the judge that he didn't have much to say. When Ms. Melongo couldn't hear his words from where she was seating, she joint him back at the stand. Mr. Garcia went on to say that nothing was going on in the civil litigation and that he didn't even know if that case would proceed. He then argued that People v. White, the case relied on by the defendant was different from the case at bar and that the present petition was not an example of personal interest. He concluded calling the communication between Mr. Devine and Mrs. Spizzirri hearsay. He urged the judge to deny the petition.
On rebuttal, Ms. Melongo told the judge that the civil litigation in Federal Court was in full swing, that Judge Lee, her federal judge, appointed Jones Day law firm to represent her with instructions to file an amended complaint. She told the judge that an amended complaint will be filled by February 6th, 2014.
As for the dissimilarities with People v. White caselaw, she contended that the facts don't need to be similar. She stated that all she had to prove was that a civil litigation was pending and that said civil litigation and her present criminal case had inter-dependent facts. She also told the judge that the communication between Mr. Devine and Mrs. Spizzirri wasn't hearsay. She showed the emails to the judge and argued that everything that was written there was black and white, that she didn't hear about the communication from someone nor did someone told her about the emails. To conclude she argued that the fact that Mr. Devine was no longer the seating state attorney did nothing in alleviating the conflict of interest and the appearance of impropriety that her case suffers. She stated that the harm imputed under Mr. Devine was still existent; to prove this, she mentioned that Mr. Devine's shadow was present all over her case given that Mrs. Anita Alvarez was his chief of staff, that Mr. Driscoll, the first petition's prosecutor, was Mr. Devine's high school friend and that Mr. Garcia, the present prosecutor, had defended Mr. Devine in various civil litigations, most notably, she cited, Cannon v. Burge, 2010 U.S. District Lexis 95460. She again concluded asking Judge Porter to disqualify the current prosecutor and the state attorney office as a whole.
Judge Porter asked for a continuance date. Ms. Melongo welcomed any date and filed a memorandum reflecting her argument and objected to Mr. Garcia's demand to respond to that memorandum. Judge Porter, after stating that he will make a written ruling, continued the matter to 02/19/ 2014 at 3.00pm.
February 19th, 2014:
At around 3.00pm, Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse. She went to room 101 and after seating there for some time, Judge Biebel's clerk informed her to go to room 606, the regular courtroom of Judge Dennis J.Porter. Once in that courtroom, she waited for her case to be called.
When called and after the initial presentations, Judge Porter told her that her motion was denied. He stamped and filed the written order. As he was about to send the case back to Melongo's regular judge, Melongo stopped him short and told him that she would file a motion to reconsider and if denied, she would appeal the misapplication of the law that had occurred. Judge Porter asked her how many days she needed to write her motion, she stated two weeks. The judge then chose a continuance date and as Melongo was about to leave, he told that it was no offense on his part. Ms. Melongo responded stating that she knew that and that it was fair to her to appeal because the law was misapplied. The case was continued to 03/5/2014.
March 5th, 2014: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she went to the Court Reporter Office to get some transcripts. Afterward, she went to Judge Porter's 606 courtroom. Once there, she noticed that Mr. Garcia wasn't in court. A female prosecutor approached her and asked who the case's prosecutor was. After answering the inquiry, Ms. Melongo reviewed some legal documents and updated her notes while waiting for her case to be called.
Once called and after the initial presentations, she told Judge Porter that her notes indicated that the hearing was on March 15th, 2014; she added that she only discovered a day prior that the hearing was set for March 5th, 2014. She then asked for some extra days to review her already drafted motion to reconsider and to attach some exhibits. The court granted her motion and the case was continued to 03/10/2014.
March 10th, 2014:
Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse and learned that her regular judge, Judge Goebel, was presiding over Judge Porter's cases at courtroom 606. She went there and waited for her case to be called. During the recess, she filed her motion to reconsider.
Once her case was called and after the initial presentations, Judge Goebel went over the case's status; when done, Ms. Melongo added that her motion to reconsider was expected that day. She tendered a copy to a female prosecutor and Judge Goebel noted having an additional copy in the case's file. When he asked for a continuance date, Ms. Melongo told him that the petition's prosecutor was not in court. The female prosecutor acknowledged that fact and told Judge Goebel that she talked to Mr. Garcia, the prosecutor, and that he asked for a two-week continuance. Once the date was set, Ms. Melongo asked the judge if he had received some documents from Canada. He confirmed receipt and added that he would give said documents to Judge Porter. Ms. Melongo thanked him and the case was continued to 03/24/2014.
March 24th, 2014: At around 10.00 am, Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse and after stopping at the clerk's office, she went to Judge Porter's 606 courtroom and waited for her case to be called.
When called and after the initial, Mr. Garcia filed the State's response to Melongo's motion to reconsider. When Judge Porter tried to rule on the petition, Ms. Melongo stated that she needed time to reply and requested two weeks. The case was continued to 04/09/2014.
April 9th, 2014: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she went to Judge Porter's Room in 606. She waited for her case to be called.
When called, Mrs. Jennifer Bonjean presented herself as Melongo's new lawyer. Mr. Stephen Garcia posed for the state prosecutor. After the presentations, Mrs. Bonjean withdrew Melongo's Motion To Reconsider the denial of her motion to disqualify. Judge Porter sent the case back to Judge Goebel and the case was continued to 04/22/2014.
April 22nd, 2014: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in Room 3A15. When she arrived there, her lawyer, Mrs. Jennifer Bonjean, was already in court and so was Mr. Podlasek, the state prosecutor. While waiting for their case to be called, Ms. Melongo and her lawyer talked about various legal matters.
When her case was called and after the initial presentations, Mrs. Bonjean asked for outstanding discovery and asked Mr. Podlasek to go on record, once that discovery is tendered, and to state that the production is accurate and complete.
Mrs. Bonjean also withdrew the outstanding motion to reconsider the denial of defendant's motion to dismiss and set a trial date to June 16th, 2014. A hearing date was also set to complete discovery and resolve outstanding pre-trial issues. The case was continued to 05/20/2014.
May 20th, 2014: Ms. Melongo and her lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, arrived at the Courthouse at around 10.30am. They sat in courtroom 506 waiting for their case to be called.
Once called and after the initial presentations, Ms. Nancy Sarkos, representing the state prosecutor, announced that the state wasn't ready to go to trial on June 16th, 2014, arguing that one of its witnesses won't be available. Ms. Bonjean on the other hand, reaffirmed that the defense was ready for trial and requested reports of experts hired by Save-A-Life Foundation to be tendered as part of Discovery as well as Ms. Melongo's laptop. As Judge Goebel was trying to explain that the state didn't have reports of experts but just emails, Mr. Podlasek entered the courtroom and after presenting himself for the record, Judge Goebel let him talk.
Mr. Podlasek stated that there were no reports of experts hired by Save-A-Life Foundation but just emails. Ms. Bonjean replied arguing that regardless of the format, the state was under obligation to tender whatever documents it has supporting its allegations to the Grand Jurors. Ms. Bonjean also insisted on having defendant's laptop brought to court for an independent review by the defense's expert.
Mr. Podlasek promised to bring the laptop and the experts' emails at the next court hearing. He also promised to inform the court and the defense its desired trial date at that same hearing. The case was continued to 05/27/2014.
May 27th, 2014: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she learned that Judge Goebel was presiding in room 306. When she got to the courtroom Mr. Podlasek, the state prosecutor, arrived some minutes later but left thereafter. Ms. Jennifer Bonjean, Melongo's lawyer, came afterward and wondered why her expert wasn't in court. She called his office and was told that he was on his way.
When the case was called, Ms. Bonjean presented her team for the record as did the state prosecutor. Mr. Podlasek then tendered some expert reports, in the form of emails, to Ms. Bonjean along with a form to sign acknowledging receipt. Ms. Bonjean signed the form and asked Mr. Podlasek to state, for the record, that the production was complete and evidentiary.
Afterward, Ms. Bonjean let her expert address the court. The expert told the judge that he wanted Melongo's laptop to make a copy of its hard-drive for his independent forensic evaluation. Mr. Podlasek stated that he couldn't release the laptop but that the expert could come to the state attorney office and make an image. Everybody agreed on this option.
Finally, the state changed the initial trial date and although Judge Goebel couldn't be present during said date, both parties decided to go to trial nonetheless. The trial date was set to June 24th, 2014 and the case hence continued to 06/24/2014.
June 24th, 2014: When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she saw Mrs. Spizzirri and Mrs. Rita Mullins leaving. At the information desk, she learned that Judge Goebel wasn't in court; nonetheless, she was told that his matters were heard at courtroom 308 by Judge Stephenson. Once there, she noticed that her lawyer, Ms. Bonjean, was still not in court. Minutes later, Mrs. Nancy Zarkos and her assistant Ms. Debdjani Dasgupta, the prosecutors, arrived; Mr. Podlasek stepped down from prosecuting the case days earlier. Shortly after Ms. Bonjean and her assistant stepped in the courtroom, the case was called.
After the initial presentations, Ms. Bonjean asked that any additional documents pertaining to the investigation of Save A Life Foundation by the Illinois Attorney General be tendered to her as part of Discovery. When the state replied that there were not responsible for those documents, Judge Stephenson advised Ms. Bonjean to contact the Illinois Attorney General directly. Ms. Bonjean also warned the state that, were Carol Spizzirri to testify, it was a potential for her to self-incrimination. She urged the state to tell Spizzirri to get counsel. Afterward, Judge Stephenson informed both parties that on Judge Goebel's expressed order, the trial was to start the following day. The case was hence continued to 06/25/2014.
June 25th, 2014:
When Ms. Melongo arrived at the courthouse, she went to courtroom 3A15 where Judge Goebel was presiding. She noticed she was the first in court. When the prosecutors, Mrs. Nancy Zarkos and Ms. Debjani Dasgupta, and Melongo's lawyers, Ms. Jennifer Bonjean and Ms. Andrea Taetle, arrived, the case was called.
After the initial presentations, Judge Goebel stated that the trial will be in a different room at 1.00pm. Thereafter, Ms. Bonjean raised several pretrial issues. She wanted the judge to admonish Carol Spizzirri against self-incrimination regarding matters she intended to raise on cross-examination. The state objected. The judge asked Ms. Bonjean to clarify and when she replied stating that Carol Spizzirri lied about being a registered nurse, Judge Goebel scoffed and stated that the likes statements will be precluded because they were unrelated to the case. Ms. Bonjean say in reply that it will be a blow to defendant's Sixth Amendment Right given that Spizzirri's well-documented lies showed a lack of credibility and motives. Judge Goebel later conceded. He asked Ms. Bonjean to put in writing her cross-examination points. Although she objected on the record to such procedure, she nonetheless told the judge she will comply.
Mrs. Zarkos asked to see the letter received by Ms. Bonjean regarding a pending investigation of Carol Spizzirri by the Illinois Attorney General. She denied having any knowledge of the investigation; She also wanted to see the defense's witnesses list as well as the Federal Grant Application wherein Carol Spizzirri lied about her credentials. Ms. Bonjean promised to give the requested documents. The case was put on recall for jury selection at 1.00pm.
After the recall, Ms. Bonjean filed her Omnibus Motion In Limine. Mrs. Zarkos asked for 30 days to respond to the motion. Ms. Bonjean objected, stating that she was asked by the court to document her cross-examination's points and therefore it wasn't a motion per se; she also added that it took her only some hours to write that motion and therefore didn't understand why the state prosecutor wanted 30 days. Additionally, Mrs. Zarkos complained that the defense's witnesses list didn't have addresses. Ms. Bonjean stated that she was under no obligation to provide such information. Mrs. Zarkos then moved for an oral motion to stay the pending trial. Judge Goebel granted her motion after stating that she was a new prosecutor in the case but nonetheless warned her that it was her last time to reset the trial date.
Both parties agreed on the new trial date set for July 28th, 2014. Judge Goebel ordered an interim court hearing to hear any pending pretrial motions or issues. For the interim hearing, the case was continued by order of the court to 07/09/2014.
July 9th, 2014: The interim hearing to hear any pending pretrial motions is quashed and no hearing took place. Melongo's trial started on July 28th, 2014, in which she was found NOT GUILTY. To learn know more on the trial, please read the section 'Trial Summary'.