CRYSTAL LAKE – Attorneys have set a new trial date for the former Crystal Lake Central High School choir director accused of having inappropriate contact with former students.
McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Brette Dunbar and defense attorney Hank Sugden met Thursday afternoon to pick a new trial date for 36-year-old Justin Hubly.
The trial was rescheduled for April 18, 19 and 20, but McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt said he would try to reserve the third week of May in case some of the college-aged witnesses couldn’t make it back in time.
“I understand that kids need to go to class, so I’ll try to make as many accommodations for them as I can,” Wilbrandt said in court.
Sudgen originally had asked to move the trial to February, noting that he wanted to close the case sooner than later so the pending charges wouldn’t continue to affect Hubly’s employment.
The former teacher is working a job that “makes ends meet” but is having trouble finding a more steady career outside education, Sugden said.
Thursday’s court date originally was scheduled to be the first of a two-day bench trial that ultimately was pushed back so Dunbar could interview more defense witnesses, who she only learned about when they called the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office after being subpoenaed.
In a Dec. 20 motion, Dunbar said she believed Sugden planned to call the witnesses to speak about “irrelevant and improper character evidence.”
Sugden only plans to ask those particular witnesses to testify if he believes any false information is presented during trial, he said.
Hubly was charged with battery and giving alcohol to a minor in 2016, after claims that he had former students at his house on several occasions, gave them alcohol when they were younger than 21 and had inappropriate contact with two of them.
The attorneys will meet again in court Feb. 22 without Hubly.
“We’re sad it got continued, but we’ll get it done when we get it done,” Sudgen said.