Will County sheriff responds to criticism at public meeting
Will County Sheriff Mike Kelley is denouncing the criticism he and his department have received over its handling of a case involving a Joliet man who pleaded guilty in May for raping three women on the I&M Canal path two years ago.
Two members of the public at a meeting of the Will County Board last week expressed their concerns for safety and called for stricter adherence to law and order. The remarks were made in regards to Miguel Luna, 37, of Joliet. He faces 80 years in prison after last month’s sentencing by Judge David Carlson.
Joliet resident Yvonnee Bolton approached the Will County Board, making a plea for an explanation.
“Help me to understand how a criminal, like Miguel Luna, was allowed to slip through the cracks to commit these horrific crimes in our county,” she said.
Bolton continued, “This rapist didn’t just slip through the cracks.”
“Is it true that Luna was stopped on the same day he committed a rape and then let go?” she asked.
Bolton said she does not personally know Luna, but she feels it’s an issue that should hit close to home for anyone.
“As a mother and grandmother, safety is a big concern for me,” she said.
Bolton added that she hopes the Will County Sheriff’s Department will see that its policies need to be changed in order to put residents first.
“Miguel is in this country illegally. This ruthlessly violent sexual predator should never have had the opportunity to brutally prey upon these innocent young women,” Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said in a May 16 press release. “He terrorized our community by repeatedly committing the most vicious sexual assaults against unsuspecting women in a historic area that people from throughout the region safely enjoy for recreation.”
Following statements made by members of the public at the Will County Board meeting, Kelley took time to respond to the criticism.
“I can’t help but think this is politically motivated,” he said.
Kelley’s opponent in the November general election is Jim Reilly, a Republican from Wilmington.
Kelley wanted to set the record straight.
“We have no immigration policy,” he said. “[U.S.] Immigration [Customs & Enforcement] has a policy on what we are to do if we believe we have someone who is here illegally. It is correct that Mr. Luna was arrested several times on driving with a revoked license. Matter of fact, in 2010, under the past administration, he was arrested for driving on a suspended license, which turned over to [U.S. Immigration Customs & Enforcement] and not deported.”
Kelley acknowledged that U.S. Immigration Customs & Enforcement came up in 2013 with Secure Communities, a new computer database for digital fingerprinting, to assist in its efforts to enforce the laws and said it is incumbent on them to notify the sheriff’s department whether or not they want to put a detainer on someone.
In May 2015, Luna was involved in a traffic stop, brought to the county jail, booked and fingerprinted. He was later released on bail.
Kelley refuted the idea that Luna had a U.S. Immigration Customs & Enforcement detainer or a federal warrant and said the Will County Sheriff’s Department could not hold him in jail for any longer than it had.
“We cannot make a policy that supersedes state or federal laws,” he said.