Ex-Joliet housing official released from jail

Robert Hernandez, 62, of Joliet

A former Joliet housing official now confined to a wheelchair has been released after spending a month in jail on a charge of violating a no-contact order from a woman and her children.

On Thursday, Will County Judge John Connor ordered the pretrial release of Robert Hernandez, 62, of Joliet. Hernandez’s release marked the end of a persistent fight from his attorney, Jeff Tomczak, to free him from the Will County jail since Feb. 14.

Hernandez, who was last a commissioner for the Housing Authority of Joliet in 2019, has been arrested twice earlier this year on felony drug charges.

Hernandez had been denied release by two other judges. Connor had also denied his release on Tuesday when Tomczak was unable to provide direct proof that Hernandez’s medical problems warranted his release from jail.

But Tomczak was eventually able to show Connor the medical records that demonstrated Hernandez had an aneurysm and other issues that have left him in a wheelchair.

“This individual is no longer mobile,” Tomczak told Connor on Thursday.

Because of that, Tomczak argued Hernandez no longer posed any possible threat or danger to the woman who petitioned a protective order against him.

The woman’s petition claimed Hernandez was stalking her and committed crimes against her children. Hernandez declined to challenge her petition on Tuesday, which led to Judge Thomas Slazyk to extend the no-contact order until 2026.

Hernandez is required to be placed on house arrest with GPS monitoring as a condition of his jail release.

Hernandez landed in jail in the first place on Feb. 14 after an officer saw him driving down the street of where the woman lived and looked at her residence, prosecutors said.

During Hernandez’s arrest, he taunted one of the officers, according to police body camera video.

“What’s his name? I got to have his name so I do my next live feed on him,” said Hernandez, who’s known for his Facebook videos on breaking news.

While the audio of officer’s response was mostly redacted, he said to Hernandez “task force” and “FBI.”

“Alright, that’s fine. You don’t have to say FBI a million times,” Hernandez said.

“I’m just going to let you know who you’re talking about when you do your live feed,” the officer said.

Joliet police officials have not commented on whether the FBI is involved in the investigation of Hernandez. They have disclosed few details about their investigation of Hernandez’s cellphones.

Hernandez stands charged with violation of a stalking no-contact order, a misdemeanor that is nevertheless considered eligible for detention under the SAFE-T Act. But he’s also been charged twice with felony possession of controlled substance.