OTTAWA — Brian Towne finds out July 19 whether his speedy-trial rights were violated. If a judge agrees, all 17 of the former state’s attorney’s felony charges could be thrown out.

Towne, who served 10 years as La Salle County’s top prosecutor, appears next Friday before visiting judge Clark Erickson to decide whether the clock has run out.

As previously reported, Towne invoked his speedy trial rights in December, giving Erickson and special prosecutor Gregory McClintock until mid-May to put him on trial. However, both the judge and special prosecutor hit a roadblock over a technicality.

La Salle County state’s attorney Karen Donnelly had filed an appeal, since rejected, seeking to be reinstated as Towne’s prosecutor. The appeal effectively stripped Erickson of jurisdiction, and the 160-day time limit lapsed while everyone waited for Donnelly’s appeal to be addressed.

A written response from McClintock had not, as of Monday, been filed with the La Salle County Circuit Clerk’s Office.

A suspect is guaranteed the right to trial within 120 days — 160 days if out of custody — but there are provisions where a judge can “toll” a case, or stop the clock. To date, there have been no filings suggesting there were grounds to toll Towne’s case while Donnelly appealed.

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Tom Collins is the NewsTribune Senior Reporter. He can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or courtreporter@newstrib.com.

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