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McLean County Judge Faces Threats After Ruling In Viral Custody Case

McLean County Law and Justice Center
McLean County court officials have heightend security following threats made against McLean County Associate Judge Lee Ann Hill.

McLean County has heightened security for a judge who has received more than a dozen threats following her ruling in a child custody case.

Associate Judge Lee Ann Hill awarded custody of 4-year-old Mikey Cadena to his mother in June in a case that has sparked lots of attention on various social media, blogs and YouTube.

McLean County trial court administrator Will Scanlon said the court received possibly as many as two dozen voicemails, letters and social media messages that were threatening in nature.

“We received in a period of less than three days over 100 voicemails (after the ruling) and have received some since,” Scanlon said.

“She has received some email and she has received some letters regarding the case, particularly the voicemail, where the sender believes they are more anonymous, have included threats against herself.”

Scanlon said the McLean County sheriff's office is investigating the threats.

Threatening a public official in Illinois is a Class 3 felony, punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison or probation.

Scanlon said he's seen an increase in threats against judges in the social media age, but none have received this level of public scrutiny in the last decade.

He said the only case he recalls to receive so many threats was the sentence Amanda Hamm received in 2007. The Clinton woman was sentenced to 10 years in prison for child endangerment in the drownings of her three children at Clinton Lake. She served 14 months in prison.

McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage confirmed the office is investigating the threats, but did not go into specifics. 

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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