No new judge for brother in ‘Accountability Angel’ case

Jacob Farmer heads back to chief judge’s court on Oct. 26

A Morris man charged in the “Accountability Angel” incident at the La Salle County Courthouse won’t get a new judge.

Jacob Farmer, 29, appeared Tuesday for a limited hearing on whether he can get a new judge to preside over his misdemeanor charge of obstructing a peace officer. Farmer could face up to a year in jail if convicted of thwarting the arrest of his sister, Angel, on March 8 at the courthouse on Etna Road.

Farmer, acting as his own lawyer, argued Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. had effectively disqualified himself from hearing the case by issuing a directive against having a cellular telephone in the building, which Farmer said is a central issue in his case.

Additionally, Farmer said, Ryan showed prejudice by disregarding several facts and lines of evidence that Farmer had presented in support of dismissal.

“All these facts have been presented to Judge Ryan,” Farmer said, “and they’ve fallen on deaf ears.”

But in response, Assistant La Salle County State’s Attorney Leila Siena said the statute governing the substitution of judges requires the defense to produce an affidavit or evidence showing actual prejudice by the judge. This, she said, Farmer failed to do.

“(Farmer) said he ‘felt’ like this is a problem,” Siena said. “He has not shown through actual proof there is a problem.”

Judge Michael C. Jansz, who was assigned to hear only Farmer’s motion for substitution of judge, agreed and said Farmer didn’t meet his burden of proof.

Farmer acknowledged he couldn’t furnish written proof and said it’s because he’s been unable to get cooperation from any office attached to his case.

“Since the beginning,” he told Jansz, “this has been an absolute joke.”

The case now heads back to Chief Judge Ryan, with a status hearing set for Oct. 26. Trial dates are pending; Farmer was initially set for trial last month but was granted a continuance after filing a series of pre-trial motions.

Tom Collins

Tom Collins

Tom Collins covers criminal justice in La Salle County.