Judge dismisses lawsuit against Lake County prosecutors 03/19/2012

Mother alleged daughter's rights as a violent-crime survivor were violated

March 19, 2012|By Lisa Black, Chicago Tribune reporter

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit from a woman who sought the right to sue Lake County prosecutors amid claims that they violated her daughter's rights as a violent-crime survivor.

In dismissing the suit with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled, U.S. Judge John Darrah ruled this month that Denise Rotheimer failed to demonstrate the need for "constitutional protection."

Lake County's chief deputy state's attorney, Daniel Jasica, called the ruling expected, noting that the case was more than 10 years old.

Rotheimer filed the suit last year on behalf of her daughter, now 21, who was sexually assaulted at age 11.

Rotheimer had claimed prosecutors did not present a victim-impact statement in the case of her daughter's assailant, who was convicted and served several years in prison, and did not inform her of other rights as the mother of a crime victim who was a minor.

"I would have hoped there would be some measure of justice in all of this," Rotheimer said, "but there is absolutely none."

The Illinois Constitution provides 10 rights for crime victims, including that they be treated with respect, given notice of court hearings and allowed to present impact statements. But if those are violated, there's no mechanism for an appeal in Illinois.

Jasica said his office goes to "extraordinary lengths to make sure victims' rights are protected and they do have a voice."

Last month, the Illinois House approved a constitutional amendment that would help make the rights of crime victims enforceable.

Though most crime-victim advocacy groups support the bill, Rotheimer opposes it because it provides immunity to prosecutors.

Originally sourced from: Chicago Tribune