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Trial, Sentencing Delayed For Terminally Ill Defendant

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WGLT file photo

The bench trial and sentencing hearing for a terminally ill McLean man was delayed Friday until a judge can determine if the defendant has the medical and psychological capacity to move forward on sexual abuse charges involving four minors.

Clint Valentine was wheeled into a courtroom by his wife Theresa Valentine. A portable oxygen device was plugged into a courtroom outlet before the hearing opened for the 54-year-old defendant.

Clint Valentine
Credit McLean County Sheriff's Department
Clint Valentine was charged in 2017 with sexually abusing four females who were minors at the time of the alleged incidents.

Valentine was charged in 2017 with sexually abusing four females who were minors at the time of the alleged incidents. The alleged misconduct occurred at a home in McLean, according to authorities.

Judge Casey Costigan ruled in January 2019 that Valentine was entitled to four separate trials on the charges. The first bench trial ended in May with Costigan finding Valentine guilty of abusing a child.

Valentine’s second bench trial and his sentencing on the molestation charge was delayed in October after the defendant claimed he was too ill to proceed. Valentine was unable to understand or participate in the hearing, said defense attorney Jack Vieley.

According to Vieley, Valentine suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and has a severely diminished heart function.

“Simply put, he’s just not fit to go to trial or any legal proceeding. He’s gonna die,” Vieley argued Friday in his motion to have his client evaluated.

In a meeting outside the courtroom, Valentine was unable to communicate with Vieley about the pending sentencing and bench trial, the defense lawyer told the judge.

Valentine’s wife testified her husband started receiving hospice care in late November. When asked if doctors have estimated how long her husband may live, she said “they don’t have a clue. They won’t tell you a date.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Erika Reynolds noted the defense has asked for a dozen continuances since the case was filed. Those delays were sought prior to hearings involving critical decisions with an impact on a resolution of the cases, said the prosecutor.

In his ruling, Costigan pointed to the legal requirement that a defendant be able to understand the nature of the charges and assist his lawyer with a defense. A court-ordered psychological examination of Valentine will determine his fitness, said Costigan.

Costigan said he will deal with the apparent reluctance of a Clinton doctor and two nurses to provide opinions as to Valentine’s health. The medical staff will be ordered to court for a Jan. 13 fitness hearing, said the judge.

Costigan acknowledged he shared the state’s questions about the timing and frequency of the defense motions to postpone proceedings.

“It is difficult for the court not to believe that malingering or feigning to avoid further proceedings or trial” was not behind some of the requests, said Costigan.

If the psychological report concludes Valentine is mentally unfit for trial, he will be placed in state custody for treatment, said the judge.

A state motion to revoke Valentine’s bond was denied. But Valentine was ordered on home confinement except for medical and legal appointments and barred from contact with minors. The new restrictions are based on a sex offender evaluation submitted for the sentencing hearing.

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Edith began her career as a reporter with The DeWitt County Observer, a weekly newspaper in Clinton. From 2007 to June 2019, Edith covered crime and legal issues for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. She previously worked as a correspondent for The Pantagraph covering courts and local government issues in central Illinois.
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