Metro-East News

Judge Duebbert waives preliminary hearing on intimidation, sex charges

Judge Duebbert surrenders to police in November 2017

In this BND file video from Nov. 8, 2017, Judge Ronald Duebbert was officially booked on charges that include criminal sexual abuse and intimidation.
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In this BND file video from Nov. 8, 2017, Judge Ronald Duebbert was officially booked on charges that include criminal sexual abuse and intimidation.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Ron Duebbert was in front of the bench on Friday morning, answering to felony charges of criminal sexual abuse and intimidation, along with misdemeanor charges of battery and solicitation of a sex act.

Duebbert, 55, is accused of grabbing a male client’s genitals and offering to reduce a legal fee by $100 if the man would perform oral sex on him.

Duebbert appeared with his attorneys, Scott Rosenblum and Micheal Mettes, at a hearing on Friday morning, presided over by Marion County Circuit Judge Michael McHaney. The defense waived Duebbert’s right to a preliminary hearing.

At a preliminary hearing, the prosecutor must show that enough evidence exists to charge the defendant. Defendants can choose to waive a preliminary hearing, as Duebbert and his attorneys did on Friday morning.

The special prosecutors, David Robinson and Lorinda Lampkin, were in court, but Illinois Supreme Court regulations limit what any prosecutor can publicly comment on during a prosecution. Lampkin specializes in sex-crime prosecutions.

Robinson was already working on a request brought by the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis for possible charges of obstructing justice against Duebbert. Those charges have not been filed.

St. Clair County Judge Ron Duebbert walks down the hallway outside the grand jury room on the fifth floor of the St. Clair County Building in this file photo. BND

The Major Case Squad detectives requested obstruction charges against Duebbert regarding the Dec. 30 shooting death of Carl Silas, of Belleville, whom police allege was killed by David Fields, 20. Fields is a former roommate of Duebbert.

Duebbert’s cell phone records, obtained by police though a search warrant, found that the judge and Fields exchanged nine text messages on Dec. 29, the day before Silas was killed. Duebbert had told police he didn’t have any contact with Fields after 8 p.m. on that day, according to investigators.

In 1999, Duebbert was charged with misdemeanor battery on a complaint from an 18-year-old man who alleged that Duebbert had fondled him. According to News-Democrat reporting, the young man was in the courthouse facing a burglary charge when he allegedly was fondled. Records of the case no longer appear in online county legal records and may have been removed because all records of the case were expunged by judicial order.

Duebbert, a Republican, defeated Democrat John Baricevic in last year’s election. Baricevic. Duebbert has said in a television interview that that Democrats targeted him because he is gay and a Republican.

Duebbert has been removed from hearing any cases since last year by Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson. He continues to draw his full salary.

Duebbert’s trial is scheduled for June 18.

Beth Hundsdorfer: 618-239-2570, @bhundsdorfer