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Woman acquitted of contempt after no-show at husband's trial

WOODSTOCK –A Huntley woman accused of dodging a subpoena to testify against her husband in a domestic battery case was acquitted Thursday of contempt.

Caroline Hicks, 31, was charged with indirect criminal contempt after prosecutors said she did not show up for her husband's trial in June. Prosecutors had sought no more than six months in jail and a fine of $500.

Matthew R. Hicks, a former Des Plaines police officer who has since accepted a disability settlement from the department, had been charged with misdemeanor offenses after an incident in 2010.

Judge Gordon Graham ultimately acquitted Matthew Hicks.

McHenry County State's Attorney's Office investigator Michael McCleary testified that he attempted to serve Caroline Hicks on June 13 with a subpoena.

Caroline Hicks had been in the courthouse for an unrelated matter and a court security officer said he told her that there was someone with a subpoena for her.

However, McCleary testified that she did not take the subpoena, so he followed her out of the courtroom and down a hallway, reading it out loud to her.

Caroline Hicks' attorney, George Kililis, said that she had been talking on a cellphone for at least part of the time.

In his written ruling, Judge Robert Wilbrandt said that although Caroline Hicks walked away and did not take the actual paper, she was "duly subpoenaed" at that time.

However, because the case was not called on either June 18 or 19 – the dates on the subpoena – it would have been highly impractical if not impossible for her to comply, Wilbrandt said.

Caroline Hicks also had sent two emails to Judge Graham, saying that she could not come to court on June 18 because her daughter had been the victim of a crime and she needed to support her during an interview.

In a letter attached to the email, which Graham replied to, saying that he could not consider it, Caroline Hicks said she felt harassed by prosecutors. She said she did not want to take part in their "personal vendetta" against her husband.

While the subpoena was continued to June 21, no evidence was presented that showed Caroline Hicks had actual knowledge of the new date, Wilbrandt said in his written ruling.

Wilbrandt acquitted Caroline Hicks at the close of the prosecution's case without the defense presenting any of their evidence.

He said he is very aware of the problem society and McHenry County face regarding domestic violence.

"The insidious and difficult nature of the cycle of family violence causes much pain for victims and much frustration for the law enforcement officials, prosecutors and domestic violence agencies who see the cycle run its course over time," he said.

Wilbrandt said it is clear that Caroline Hicks, who initially sought help, no longer wishes to have prosecutors pursue the case against her husband.

"It is also clear that Defendant, at the very least, was not cooperating in the state's efforts to do so," the judge said. "The court may understand, but does not condone Defendant's behavior."

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