Parties at odds over evidence in Terronez disciplinary proceeding

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ROCK ISLAND, Ill.—An attorney representing former Rock Island County State’s Attorney Jeff Terronez has asked the disciplinary commission to remove certain allegations from the complaint against his client.

The complaint was filed after Terronez left his job as the State’s Attorney as part of a plea agreement connected to allegations that he provided alcohol to a minor on several occasions.  Terronez’s travel and text-message conversations with the minor were part of the evidence in the case investigated by Illinois State Police.

The minor was a witness in a previous case Terronez prosecuted against former teacher and coach Jason Van Houtte.

The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) filed a complaint July 12, 2011 charging Terronez with “overreaching his position of trust and authority as a prosecutor” and “commiting a criminal act reflecting adversely on his honesty and fitness to practice law”.

A written response to the ARDC complaint, filed on behalf of Terronez, says the text messages and travel involving Terronez and the minor are “not material to the specific misconduct charged”.

The response accuses the ARDC administrator, who filed the complaint, of orchestrating a “widespread negative publicity campaign in the Quad Cities area”.  The response cites coverage by media outlets including WQAD as avenues for this alleged campaign.

Jerome Larkin, the ARDC administrator, filed a response to the Terronez request.

The response defends the presentation of the records Terronez asked to have removed, saying the items are necessary to “present a complete record” of Terronez’s conduct.

The administrator calls the allegation of an orchestrated negative publicity campaign “completely unfounded”, with the filed response saying, “He does not provide or attach a copy of any media story which supports his claim or shows that any ARDC representative made statements or comments about Respondent’s conduct or the merits of the charges in this case”.