More legal nonsense in Will County
Herald-News editorial August 31, 2012 10:32PM
Updated: October 3, 2012 6:09AM
Jeff Ruby is not only a successful restaurateur, owning seven upscale restaurants in three states, he’s an outspoken and colorful character as well. And no fan of Drew Peterson or his defense team.
But that doesn’t mean a Will County judge should’ve charged him with contempt of court for a minor, fleeting incident during a break in Peterson’s murder trial.
Ruby first came to attention here in mid-August when he placed an ad in Chicago-area newspapers, including the Herald-News — ripping the conduct of Peterson’s lawyers for joking around during lunchtime news conferences and, in his view, making light of the death of Peterson’s third wife.
About 10 days later, Ruby showed up in Joliet for the trial. On his third day in the courtroom Aug. 23, he was kicked out for mouthing an obscenity at Peterson, which he admitted doing, saying Peterson gave him dirty looks and was staring at him during a court break.
We agree that Ruby deserved to be removed from the courthouse, but then things got weird.
Several hours later, Will County sheriff’s police showed up at the Harrah’s Casino hotel and arrested him, hauling him away to the county jail, where he quickly got out on bond.
Someone apparently informed the trial judge, Circuit Court Judge Edward Burmila, of the incident between Ruby and Peterson, and the judge issued an arrest warrant. Talk about heavy handed.
You’d think Burmila would have more important things to be concerned about these days than someone silently insulting Peterson in court. It was not a big deal. Ruby’s ouster was sufficient punishment.
Ruby left Joliet the next day but resurfaced last week when he announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to locating Stacy Peterson, Drew’s fourth wife who vanished in October 2007 and is presumed dead. Illinois State Police say Peterson is the main suspect in the case, but he has not been charged.
“There’s somebody out there who knows something. I think $100,000 will give somebody some courage,” Ruby said.
We hope he’s right.