OTTAWA - The Grandfather of Heroin is stuck with Judge Cynthia M. Raccuglia.
Convicted heroin dealer Charles W. Bartels was denied a motion for change of judge Wednesday after failing to prove that his trial judge is biased against him.
Bartels, 54, formerly of Peru, is serving 28 years in prison for selling 2 grams of heroin to a police informant in a 2001 sting. His latest attempt to get freed early was to try and show that Raccuglia gave him an unfair trial in 2004 when he was re-tried for heroin possession (an earlier conviction was vacated) and convicted by jury.
Wednesday, Bartels appeared before Judge William P. Balestri and asked to have all his post-trial motions assigned to someone besides Raccuglia, claiming she was biased against him.
Balestri shot down Bartels' motions point-by-point and denied his request.
"The fact that she has ruled against him in the past is not evidence of bias against him," Balestri explained. "The case law is clear on that."
Bartels will appear before Raccuglia on Jan. 15 for his next round of post-trial motions. Bartels is representing himself at this stage of his nine-year-old case.
Bartels was credited with opening a Chicago-to-La Salle County pipeline for heroin. Though convicted at a jury trial, Bartels has stubbornly alleged and re-alleged that the drug task force illegally set him up, his lawyers failed to properly represent him and that Raccuglia erroneously ruled on various issues such as whether to admit audio recordings taken during the sting operation.
He is eligible for parole in 2017, when he would be 62 years of age.