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Will County Judge's Druggie Kid Back in Jail For Allegedly Holding Heroin

Former Will County Chief Judge Rodney Lechwar's son caught another heroin case.

Matthew Lechwar. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Department
Matthew Lechwar. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Department
Former Chief Judge Rodney Lechwar's son was lucky to spend less than seven months in prison on his last heroin case—but he only managed to stay free for a little more than that time before landing back in jail on a new one.

Matthew Lechwar, 31, was arrested on a felony drug charge Friday afternoon near the corner of Eastern Avenue and Osgood Street in Joliet. He was holding nine bags of heroin, said Police Chief Brian Benton.

Matthew Lechwar was released from the Department of Corrections June 5 after serving less than seven months of an eight-year sentence. He was packed off to prison after pleading guilty to a charge of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver. Narcotics agents had caught him in April 2012 with between 15 and 100 grams of packaged heroin, according to a criminal complaint.

That amount of heroin was enough to put Matthew Lechwar—who had already served prison time on a drug conviction—behind bars for as long as 30 years. But at the last minute Charles Colburn, a special prosecutor appointed to the case due to Rodney Lechwar's standing as a former judge, reduced the charge.

Colburn explained at the time that the state police crime lab discovered that Matthew Lechwar was actually carrying much less heroin than the drug agents had claimed.

Colburn asked Will County Judge Edward Burmila to recommend Matthew Lechwar to a special prison boot camp program that would allow him to walk free in a matter of months. Burmila went along with Colburn's request, opening the door for Matthew Lechwar's early exit from the penitentiary.

Nine days after Matthew Lechwar got out in June, someone at the Channahon residence where he was living with his father called 911 and claimed Matthew Lechwar overdosed, said Channahon Police Chief Jeff Wold.

Matthew Lechwar "woke up" and was able to walk around on his own after the officers arrived, Wold said, but while the cops were there they found needles and baggies in the residence.

The Channahon police forwarded the matter to Colburn's office but the special prosecutor did not pursue charges.

"They're referring him to drug treatment," Colburn said at the time of Matthew Lechwar, who was—and still is—on probation.

Patch requested an audio recording of the 911 call made from the Lechwars' Channahon home but Stephen Rauter, the executive director of the Western Will County Communications Center, is trying to stop its release.

Besides the two drug cases that put him in the prison, Matthew Lechwar was charged in 2006 with the unlawful delivery of heroin. He got that case dropped by successfully completing a special drug court program.

Matthew Lechwar also has a 2000 possession of cannabis conviction out of Kendall County, a 2003 driving under the influence conviction in Will County, and a 2004 possession of a controlled substance conviction from Grundy County, Colburn said during a court hearing.

Rodney Lechwar was a judge from 1985 until 2010 and held the position of chief judge in Will County from 1997 to 2003. For 10 years prior to becoming a judge, Rodney Lechwar was a Will County prosecutor.

Rodney Lechwar is now a mediator with ADR Systems, "the Chicago area’s largest alternative dispute resolution service."

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Dense much? January 14, 2014 at 04:46 PM
Here is a suitable punishment...make him consume allthe heroin at once.....
Jax January 14, 2014 at 05:32 PM
Someone should tell his father he needs help not coddling
Mimi January 22, 2014 at 09:59 PM
Does anyone ever realize jail is the safest place for him?

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