Peter Steinys, 56, accused of battering a rival political volunteer in a row over campaign signs, needs a new attorney before his bench trial can continue.
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Represented by attorney Dan Rippy, who is also a Plainfield village trustee, Steinys appeared in court Monday to ask for a two-week continuance. Rippy said Steiny's former attorney, Ragan Freitag, is no longer with the firm representing the Plainfield Park District commissioner. Freitag had been working for the Law Offices of Jeff Tomczak.
Due to his position as a trustee, Rippy said he cannot take over for Freitag. Steinys is being accused in an ordinance violation case brought by the Village of Plainfield.
Over the objection of an attorney for the village, Judge Joseph Polito granted Steinys' request.
"It's an unusual situation," Polito said. "Mr. Steinys needs an attorney and right now he has no attorney."
Polito set a status hearing for 1 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Plainfield branch court, located in the meeting room at the Plainfield Police Department, 14300 S. Coil Plus Dr.
Steinys is accused of hitting Joliet firefighter Michael Carlin with a car door, then grabbing him with both hands and threatening him in a dispute over election signs. Carlin was a volunteer for State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant in her ultimately victorious campaign against Plainfield trustee Garrett Peck last fall.
Carlin claims he confronted an unnamed "man dressed in black," who alleged removed Bertino-Tarrant campaign signs and replaced them with Peck signs in a field near Route 59 and Fraser Road.
After calling a fellow campaign worker to verify that the Bertino-Tarrant camp that had the right to use the field — not the Peck campaign — Carlin said he approached a car where the man in black sat with Steinys. The firefighter claims Steinys opened the car door, hitting him with it, then gave chase while shouting “I’m sick of this s---, don’t f--- with me, I’m going to f---ing kill you.”
Steinys has yet to testify.
Since the alleged altercation, Steinys was elected to the park board after running unopposed. Peck, meanwhile, is the new Plainfield Park District executive director.
Monday's development marks the third time the bench trial has been continued. The trial began July 9.