A judge is set to make a ruling later this month on whether to dismiss the charges against the Highland Park parade shooter’s father after his attorney argued the law that he was charged with is too vague.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Robert Crimo Jr., 58, of Highwood, in mid-December with seven counts of reckless conduct causing great bodily harm.
Crimo Jr. appeared in court Monday for a motion hearing, which lasted over an hour.
His attorney, George Gomez, filed motions challenging the constitutionality of Illinois’ law on reckless conduct and asking the case be dismissed.
Gomez extensively argued the motions in court. He said that Crimo Jr.’s signing of the affidavit to sponsor his son’s gun permit was truthful and did not break the law.
Gomez said that several Constitutional amendments protect the father’s actions.
Crimo Jr.’s attorney also argued that the state’s reckless conduct law is overbroad and vague.
Lake County Judge George Strickland said he would make a ruling on the motion to dismiss on August 28 and asked both sides to provide him with case law on the issues argued.
The judge has also not yet ruled on whether a news video camera will be allowed to record the trial.
During a court hearing last month, Strickland said he had received subpoenaed documents from the Highland Park school district where Crimo attended school.
The documents involved discipline, attendance and other records dating back to when Crimo was in kindergarten.
Prosecutors are seeking to admit the material as evidence at trial to show Crimo Jr. had knowledge of his son’s “violent ideations.”
Crimo Jr. has waived his right to a jury trial and is requesting a trial by judge.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Jeffrey Facklam previously said a bench trial could take approximately a week.
Strickland scheduled a trial date for November 6. Prosecutors and Crimo Jr.’s defense team had previously sought a later trial date into next year.
In February, a grand jury returned an indictment formally charging Crimo Jr. with the seven counts of reckless conduct causing great bodily harm, a Class 4 felony.
“Parents who help their kids get weapons of war are morally and legally responsible when those kids hurt others with those weapons,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said following the indictment.
“We presented our evidence to a grand jury and they agreed the case should move forward. We will continue to seek justice for the victims and prosecute those who endanger the community,” Rinehart said.
Crimo Jr. has pleaded not guilty to the seven counts against him.
Crimo Jr. is the father of 22-year-old Robert E. Crimo III, who currently faces 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.
Prosecutors and Highland Park police officers allege that Crimo Jr. was criminally reckless at the time that he helped his son obtain a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card.
Prosecutors said that helping his son obtain a FOID card was a contributing cause to the harm suffered by the murder victims in the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park.
The man’s son, Crimo III, was under 21 when he sought to obtain the FOID card and required his father’s participation in the application process.
Rinehart said during a December press conference that parents are in the “best position” to decide whether their teenager should have a weapon.
“They are the first line of defense. In this case, that system failed when Robert Crimo Jr. sponsored his son,” Rinehart said.
“He knew what he knew, and he signed the form anyway. This was criminally reckless and a contributing cause to the bodily harm suffered by the victims on July 4,” Rinehart said.
Illinois State Police and the Lake County Major Crime Task Force have detailed two past law enforcement encounters with Crimo III.
Crimo III applied for the FOID card in December 2019 after police responded in September 2019 to his residence when he threatened to “kill everyone.”
A “clear and present danger” report was filed with the state police but no one in the family wanted to move forward with a criminal complaint.
Crimo III had also attempted suicide in April 2019, prompting a police response.
Reckless conduct is a Class 4 felony and Crimo Jr., who remains out of jail on bond, can be sentenced to up to three years in prison, but he could also receive probation.