When was the last time you heard of a jury taking less than 10 minutes to find a defendant innocent? It just doesn’t happen.
But a St. Clair County jury this week cut through the three-year-long prosecution of Bob Romanik in no time, showing this case for exactly what it was: a political vendetta that should have been dropped long ago. This was a misdemeanor trespassing charge, for goodness sake. When a judge dismissed the case initially, that should have been the end of it. Instead State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly appealed the decision to Mount Vernon, and a special prosecutor handled the reinstated case. We cringe to think about all the time, money and resources wasted.
Why was this case pursued beyond all reason? Because Romanik, a controversial radio host, is a vocal critic of many St. Clair County Democrats, especially County Board Chairman Mark Kern. Romanik was trying to take a picture of Kern’s house when he was arrested. With Romanik, good judgment went out the window.
Predictably, neither Kern, Kelly or the special prosecutor had anything to say afterward. But Romanik and his attorney had plenty to say about how petty Kern and Co. look for pursuing this.
Defense attorney Clyde Kuehn said that when the prosecutor showed jurors a billboard Romanik bought poking fun at Kern, jurors got the big picture. “It made them say, ‘Oh, I see what this is about.’” We hope county residents see it, also.