Prosecutor Broke Rules, Ex-Officers Allege

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Byline: Charles Keeshan Daily Herald Staff Writer

Three former police officers are accusing McHenry County prosecutors of misconduct for contacting a member of the grand jury that indicted them for beating a man outside a Fox Lake tavern.

Lawyers for the ex-officers say a top county prosecutor stepped way over the line this week when she responded to a letter the grand juror had written the McHenry County State's Attorney's office that disputed earlier claims by the defense.

Doing so, they allege, violated state laws concerning the privacy of grand jury proceedings and could lead to contempt charges against both the prosecutor and juror.

"Her conduct is outrageous," Al Stavros, the attorney for former Spring Grove officer Jerome Volstad, said Wednesday. "In my 28 years of practicing law, I've never heard of anything like it."

The prosecutor, Nichole Owens, said she never violated grand jury regulations. Her conversation with the juror, she said, was limited to whether he would sign an affidavit attesting to what was in his letter.

"We never discussed the deliberations or (their) vote," said Owens, chief of the criminal division for the State's Attorney's office. …