Ex-Judge's Son Busted Again for Heroin Possession, Police Say

Matthew Lechwar was arrested after an officer found baggies containing nearly 3 grams of heroin at his feet, Joliet police said.

Matthew Lechwar. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Office
Matthew Lechwar. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Office
The son of a former Will County judge who made headlines last year when released from an eight-year prison term in just seven months has been arrested yet again for heroin possession.

Matthew A. Lechwar, 31, of 218 Madison, Joliet, was taken into custody at about 1:45 p.m. Saturday after a Joliet police officer observed a drug sale take place at Eastern and Osgood avenues and pulled over the car in which Lechwar was a passenger.

Lechwar, son of retired judge Rodney Lechwar, agreed to get out of the vehicle and be searched at the officer's request, Cmdr. Al Roechner said. In the street, just below Lechwar's right pant leg, the officer found a white Kleenex containing nine bags marked with a Batman logo containing 2.9 grams of heroin, he said.

Lechwar denied the bags were his, but the officer arrested him on a charge of possession of a controlled substance, Roechner said.

The bust marks Lechwar's third for heroin possession in Will County since 2006. He was also convicted of controlled substance possession in Cook County in 2010 and completed a one-year prison term.

In November 2012, Lechwar was sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of manufacture/delivery of 15-plus grams of heroin.

He was out of prison in less than seven months, however, when a special prosecutor appointed to the case because of the conflict posed by Rodney Lechwar's relationship with the state's attorney's office, reduced the charge from a Class X felony to Class 1. The reduction was dictated by a miscalculation of the amount of heroin involved by the Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad, the prosecutor said at the time.

When Will County Judge Edward Burmila re-sentenced Matthew Lechwar under the reduced charge, he allowed him to enter a special boot camp program rather than returning him to prison. He is still on parole from that case, Roechner said.

Lechwar's first conviction was in 2006 on a charge of unlawful delivery of heroin. In that case, Lechwar was allowed to completed a special drug court program rather than going to prison.

Lechwar also has a 2000 possession of cannabis conviction in Kendall County, a 2003 driving under the influence conviction in Will County, and a 2004 possession of a controlled substance conviction in Grundy County, according to court records.

Rodney Lechwar was a Will County judge from 1985 to 2010, a tenure that included a stint as chief judge from 1997 to 2003.

TB Plfd January 13, 2014 at 07:52 PM
How many chances is society gonna give this Junkie? Lock him up and throw away the key!
MomofmanyinPlainfield January 13, 2014 at 08:54 PM
He looks about 50 yrs old! I hope he gets help!
Kristine Neumann January 14, 2014 at 12:09 AM
I bet no one is surprised at this. Let's see what happens to him this time.
Jim W January 14, 2014 at 08:58 AM
Yes, life sentences for drug addicts is absolutely the solution...
Grandpamike January 14, 2014 at 12:42 PM
@Momofmany Sorry, I disagree with you, while it is a wonderful idea to help people like him, how about all of the children that he sells drugs to, children of parents just like you, starting their life of becoming junkies. No, put him away for a long time, let him go cold turkey and reflect, in jail on his sordid life.
MomofmanyinPlainfield January 14, 2014 at 12:50 PM
@grandpamike-I didn't say he shouldn't go to jail, that seems the likely place he'll wind up and obviously forced to go cold turkey.
Kristine Neumann January 14, 2014 at 12:56 PM
MomofmanyinPlainfield I'm almost willing to bet he does not serve any jail time & he gets sent off to "special boot camp"again.
Grandpamike January 14, 2014 at 01:04 PM
@Momofmany If I incorrectly read your message, I am sorry, but my concern, as a parent and grandparent is for the children that this person poisons in selling them drugs. Unfortunately, being the son of a former judge exempts him from any real punishment. I wish it were not this way, but it is. I have witnessed too many "privileged" others like him skate through life, whereas others who don't have a similar safety net, don't.
Yes January 14, 2014 at 09:35 PM
Sadly, it is his family and the families of the other addicts that he is selling to that are effected and hurt the most. Heroin addiction is almost an Impossible addiction to beat, and it is obvious that the epidemic in this area has spun out of control. It is so so sad.
holeinone January 15, 2014 at 11:30 AM
Wow, well if they go by the law, 3 strikes and your out. Doubt that will happen with our great state attorney Glasgow, he will pull it so there is a "special prosecutor" to handle case and there will be probation or something easy again. Too bad as long as Glasgow is in office all we will ever hear about is the Drew win....
NOBAMA January 15, 2014 at 01:09 PM
What's nice about these programs like boot camp is they're not under the direction of the State's Attorney Office nor do they have to comply with the Judge's order, it's only a recommendation. They have strict rules and you can only go to boot camp once, whether you completed it successfully or not. He will not get it again. It'll be up to the judge to give him pen time. This is a parole violation. The punishment is worse. The judge needs to follow the law. Give him the state's original suggested offer. He should have had it initially with that background.
Barb Smith January 16, 2014 at 12:20 PM
I find it sad that The Patch insists on constantly linking Matthew Lechwar's father's name and position to him in your articles. Matthew did the crime, not his father. You don't see any other kids parent's names getting dragged through the dirt when their kid commits a crime. I know both Mr and Mrs Lechwar and they are very fine lovely people who are already dealing with this heartache, and then the Patch rubs their nose in it. There is absolutely no need for that.
TB Plfd January 16, 2014 at 02:16 PM
I Find it sad that Barb Smith cant see that if Matthew wasn't the son of ex chief judge he would be still sitting in prison. If a Average Joe Blow got arrested for the same charges that person would be doing time for there crime not like Matthew who get off every time with a slap on the wrist be who his daddy is.
Grandpamike January 16, 2014 at 04:29 PM
My two cents would be, if you want to put the blame on the parents, well, you must agree that responsibility for every criminal, drug user., etc is because of poor parenting.How about the users who purchase these drugs, in this case, all the fine upstanding children from wonderful parents, or is it the fault of the parents of these kids as well. There is a drug epidemic in all the suburbs but parents are in denial, and it is never their children but the children of others. And yes, we live in a society where money and connections do not share in the punishment doled out to ones with neither of those attributes.
Kristine Neumann January 16, 2014 at 06:08 PM
TB Plfd, you hit the nail right on the head. I'm sure everyone reading this thought the same thing. I'm curious as to what kind of sentence he'll get this time. I hope the Patch keeps us informed. Maybe the parents will send him off somewhere to get clean so he doesn't go to prison? What a joke.
MomofmanyinPlainfield January 16, 2014 at 06:19 PM
@Raggedyann- I disagree. We, as parents, can and will always try to guide our children in the right direction, but sometimes the child make their own choices whether good or bad. Yes, when they are living under our roof, we can and SHOULD give consequences for their bad choices. As adults, we don't have that control. As for being the judge's son, we'd hope the judge would make sure his son was treated the same as other criminals and given the rightful sentence.


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