Philpot wants to wait for appeal before entering prison
BY Teresa Auch Schultz email@example.com February 26, 2013 1:00PM
Former Lake County Coroner and county Clerk Thomas Philpot heads up the sidewalk towards the Federall Courthouse in Hammond for his sentencing hearing on Thursday, February 21, 2013. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 28, 2013 6:36AM
Former Lake County Coroner Thomas Philpot wants to remain free pending the outcome of the appeal of his criminal conviction.
U.S. District Judge James Moody ruled during Philpot’s sentencing hearing Thursday that the former Lake County politician needs to report to prison on April 3 to begin serving his 18-month sentence.
Philpot’s attorneys have filed a notice to appeal his conviction, however, and followed up on Monday with a motion for Philpot to remain out of prison on bond.
The motion notes that Philpot has so far followed all conditions of his current bond and is not a danger for flight.
The motion goes on to say that two of the counts against Philpot have already been dismissed after Moody ruled last week that the government didn’t provide enough evidence for a reasonable jury to convict Philpot.
His attorneys say in the filing they have a good chance at getting the other three counts of theft from a federally funded program and mail fraud tossed out in their appeal to the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
They also argued that Philpot’s sentence is relatively short and that there is a good chance he will have served a majority of it by the time the 7th Circuit rules in the case.
A federal jury convicted Philpot last year of improperly paying himself, while serving as the Lake County clerk, from a state fund used to give bonuses to county employees who help collect child support payments. Elected officials are not allowed to do so without permission from the fiscal body, which in this case was the Lake County Council.