Towne loses bid to speed up appeal

On Wednesday, the appellate court in Ottawa denied former La Salle County State's Attorney Brian Towne's request to hurry up his case.

Towne is charged with committing official misconduct and misapplying public funds while state's attorney between 2012 and 2016. Towne lost the November 2016 election to Karen Donnelly, who then brought the charges in September 2017.

On Nov. 28, Circuit Judge Clark Erickson granted Towne's request to remove Donnelly as prosecutor in the case, saying it was possible Donnelly was biased against Towne. Erickson himself was brought in from Kankakee to head off any conflict of interest with local judges.

Erickson then appointed Gregory McClintock, a former judge from Monmouth, to prosecute. However, Donnelly appealed her removal, saying she should stay on the case. On May 22, Towne's attorneys asked the appellate court to expedite their decision on the appeal, so as not to "delay justice."

The attorneys added the "public's interest in the final resolution of a criminal prosecution involving a fomer elected official, initiated by the former official's political opponent, further supports acceleration of this appeal."

On Wednesday, the appellate court refused to fast track the matter. Months could go by before the court rules whether Donnelly returns to the case, and in the meantime, the prosecution against Towne is on hold.