The Southland's major criminal and civil cases heard in Cook County and Will County courts this week.
OAK LAWN — Rajat Prakash, an Advocate Christ Medical Center doctor accused of fondling a female patient in a semi-conscious state, returns to court on Aug. 1 for possibly the last time before trial. On Monday, defense attorney Nicholas Faklis said he was ready to proceed on a misdemeanor battery charge. Prosecutors asked for another pretrial hearing.
In May, a second woman alleged that, on the pretext of reviewing medical information outside the hospital, Prakash fondled her and forced her hand on his penis in his SUV. That case returns before a felony judge on July 16.
A civil investigation is also ongoing, according to an attorney who claims to represent several patients abused by Prakash. The hospital refuses to speak about the charges, but Oak Lawn police say Prakash no longer works there.
OAK LAWN — A felony battery case against former Village of Oak Lawn employee Michael T. Kelly was postponed one month while attorneys continue, in the words of Edward Barron, their “rather intense pretrial negotiations.” . In February, Barron said he and prosecutors had begun working on a possible plea deal.
ORLAND PARK — Judge Carmen Aguilar, who until recently held a seat at the Maywood courthouse, has been assigned to Justin Jachimiec’s cases in Bridgeview. Authorities allege that, on two occasions, Jachimiec dodged and mocked Orland Park police on a stolen motorbike and then uploaded video taken from his helmet on YouTube under the nickname “Orland Ghost Rider.” Those YouTube videos as well as squad car footage were entered as evidence Tuesday at Aguilar’s first appearance on the case. Assistant state’s attorney Donna Norton told the court she was waiting on computer forensic work.
After a two-month stay, Jachimiec was recently released from McDonough County jail, where he had been acquitted of similar felony charges but convicted of underage consumption of alcohol.
ORLAND PARK — James Shaver, a Park Forest man indicted on two dozen counts of stalking and child pornography, returns to court on Aug. 14. The charges stem from two separate arrests, and prosecutors have decided to pursue the most recent and more severe of the two cases, , first. The investigation is ongoing, assistant state’s attorney Kelly Coakley said Friday.
Unable to pay private attorneys, two of the four young men charged with the 2011 murder of John and Maria Granat have opted for the free services of the Cook County Public Defender's Office.
MOKENA — Dispatches from the trial of Joseph Messina, who was accused in 2009 of punching another man into a coma outside the bar 191 South:
The New Lenox man charged with putting another man into a coma with a punch in 2009 stood over his victim and celebrated his "victory," a witness testified.
A Will County judge postponed the trial of Joseph Messina, accused of severely beating a Joliet man, to give Mokena police time to track down evidence.
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