ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – The attorney for a St. Charles woman facing a charge of indirect civil contempt filed court papers Oct. 16 asking for the charge to be dismissed, and for a different judge to hear the case, asserting that Kane County Circuit Court Judge John Barsanti already stated he thinks she is guilty.
Alesha J. Lewis, 26, the daughter of a former Geneva doctor recently convicted of criminal sexual assault, is scheduled to appear in separate hearings before Barsanti on Oct. 23.
Attorney Brian Mirandola filed court papers Oct. 16 asking to dismiss the charge against Alesha Lewis and for another judge to hear the case – provided that the charge is not dismissed in the earlier hearing.
The charge stems from the allegation that Alesha Lewis tried to intimidate the lead prosecutor Greg Sams in her father’s case and that she “made obvious nodding gestures” at the jury during her father’s testimony.
Mirandola’s filing asks for another judge to hear the case because Barsanti “heard fact of a potential violation of his order from Greg Sams who was not sworn under oath” and that Barsanti “expressed views that the defendant is guilty of the offense charged prior to any hearing taking place.”
“Judge Barsanti acted improperly when he ordered the (Kane County) State’s Attorney’s Office to file a petition for a rule to show cause against the defendant,” according to Mirandola’s filing. “Judge Barsanti cannot give the defendant a fair and impartial hearing. The defendant has a right to a fair and impartial hearing and the court has a duty to avoid the appearance of impropriety.”
Through a spokesman, Barsanti would not comment on a pending case.
The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office said it would respond to Mirandola’s motions in court.
A jury convicted Mark G. Lewis Sept. 26 of criminal sexual assault of a woman he knew after a four-day trial.
On the second day of the trial on Sept.24, Sams told Barsanti that Alesha Lewis had spoken to the victim in the hallway outside the courtroom and asserted that this was “very close to intimidation of a witness.”
Barsanti admonished Lewis in open court not to have contact with any witnesses involved in the trial of her father.
Two days later, on Sept. 26, Sams reported to Barsanti that Alesha Lewis had spoken to him in the hallway outside the court, asking if he was nervous, and that she gestured to the jury while her father was testifying.
Sams asked Barsanti to remove her from the courtroom and ban her from the building, for security reasons.
While Barsanti would not bar Alesha Lewis from the courtroom, he ordered her not to have any contact with witnesses or any officers of the court. Barsanti also said he would file a civil petition against her and she was served with a summons for it there in court.
Mirandola’s motion to dismiss states that Barsanti admonished his client to stay away from the victim, not to confront her in any way or have any contact with her.
However, the allegations in the petition against Alesha Lewis contain different language: “not to intimidate, attempt to intimidate any witness or counsel or act inappropriately in any way,” which is not the language Barsanti used when he admonished Alesha Lewis in court.
“Judge Barsanti never admonished the defendant to not intimidate or attempt to intimidate any counsel. Judge Barsanti never admonished the defendant not to act inappropriately in any way,” the motion to dismiss stated.
“The petition filed by the state and sworn to by Assistant State’s Attorney Julianne Gerding by affidavit contains false, misleading or misrepresented information. Based on this … the petition for rule to show cause is defective.”
She was to appear before Barsanti Oct. 2, but when she did not show up for court, he issued a warrant for her arrest. Mirandola filed court papers seeking to quash the warrant, which Barsanti granted, according to court records.
In the petition filed against Alesha Lewis, it alleges that she “continued to stare at … Sams for several moments before moving onward. … Sams considered this act to be intimidation or an attempt to intimidate him,” according to the petition that was filed.
The petition also asserted that Alesha Lewis “made obvious nodding gestures during Mark Lewis’s testimony, in the presence and view of the jury.”