State: Emails for Burlington murder case defense never read, shared
A Kane County assistant state's attorney testified Monday that she immediately put emails from the public defender's office into a separate "delete" folder after she realized confidential communications were included in a subpoena request involving a murder case from Burlington Township.
"I quite frankly wanted nothing to do with them," Deb Lang testifed Monday, adding that she never opened any emails that had been sent by the Kane County Public Defender's Office, nor did any prosecutors ask her about the contents.
Daniel Rak, 31, who is charged with first-degree murder in the February 2016 death of his father, Jeffrey, 58, at his Burlington Township home, is seeking to have the charges dismissed.
Public Defender Kelli Childress argues that attorney-client confidentiality was violated when emails from her office were included in a subpoena for email communications by sheriff's deputies and investigators last fall.
Childress argues her client's right to due process was violated and that the emails gathered by the county's information technology department contained emails between Rak's defense team regarding trial strategy. IT officials did a search of "Jeffrey Rak" and Daniel Rak's case number and sent Lang a large batch of emails.
Lang testified that she received a flash drive containing the emails and when she saw some were sent by the public defender's office, she immediately put them in a "deleted" folder.
"I didn't read through them. I didn't pass them to anybody," testified Lang.
However, Lang also testified that she did not tell her supervisor until at least the following week and that she did not immediately contact attorneys on the opposing side of the case, the latter of which is in the code of conduct for lawyers if they mistakenly receive information intended for the opposing side.
Blair Peters, the county's technology coordinator, testified Friday that it would have been a "massive effort" to do a search of just sheriff's employees in response to Childress' subpoena for the emails. Peters said it would probably take about 10 minutes to do a search that could exclude a specific email address. But multiply this by dozens of employees and the process could take hours, if not days.
The hearing before Judge D.J. Tegeler will resume Tuesday.
Rak is being held at the Kane County jail on $950,000 bail and is set for a jury trial May 1. If convicted of murder, he faces 20 to 60 years in prison.