DuPage judge seeks to have record expunged after acquittal
A DuPage County judge, who was assigned to administrative duties, has petitioned to have his criminal record expunged after his acquittal on reckless conduct charges for firing a gun inside his Wheaton apartment.
According to court documents, DuPage County Chief Judge Daniel Guerin ordered that Judge Patrick O'Shea's petition to have the case "expunged and/or sealed" be heard in Kane County, where O'Shea's March trial was conducted.
In Illinois, expungement means the records are physically destroyed or returned to the petitioner. Sealed records are not destroyed but remain viewable only with a court order.
O'Shea's attorney, Terry Ekl, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
O'Shea was acquitted of the reckless conduct charges on March 2 when Kane County Judge Keith Johnson ruled O'Shea was negligent when he accidentally fired a bullet from his revolver through his wall and into a neighbor's apartment, but that his actions did not meet reckless conduct requirements because his neighbors were not home and, therefore, not in danger.
Special Prosecutor Dave Neal, of the Illinois office of the state's attorney appellate prosecutor, said he hopes the case will spur a change in the law.
The complaint against O'Shea, 67, stems from Sept. 15, when authorities say he fired a bullet through a common wall in his Wheaton apartment.
The complaint says O'Shea "pulled the trigger without first determining that the firearm was not loaded, causing the firearm to discharge, causing a bullet to enter the living area of the adjoining apartment."
A neighbor noticed a hole in a living room wall after returning home from work and reported it to the apartment complex's management office, according to a Wheaton police report obtained by the Daily Herald through a Freedom of Information Act request.
On Sept. 24, the neighbors told police they found what appeared to be a spent bullet on the floor. They turned it over to police, along with photographs of their damaged wall.
Police reports say O'Shea gave property managers and police at least three excuses for the hole, including that he accidentally put a screwdriver through the wall while hanging a mirror, and that his son accidentally caused the hole while using a pneumatic nail gun.
Since his acquittal, O'Shea has been assigned by Guerin to administrative duties and has not returned to the bench.
There has not yet been a date set for when the expungement petition will be heard.