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Ex-Judge's Son Busted Again for Heroin Possession, Police Say

Matthew Lechwar was arrested after an officer found baggies containing nearly 3 grams of heroin at his feet, Joliet police said.

Matthew Lechwar. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Office
Matthew Lechwar. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Office
The son of a former Will County judge who made headlines last year when released from an eight-year prison term in just seven months has been arrested yet again for heroin possession.

Matthew A. Lechwar, 31, of 218 Madison, Joliet, was taken into custody at about 1:45 p.m. Saturday after a Joliet police officer observed a drug sale take place at Eastern and Osgood avenues and pulled over the car in which Lechwar was a passenger.

Lechwar, son of retired judge Rodney Lechwar, agreed to get out of the vehicle and be searched at the officer's request, Cmdr. Al Roechner said. In the street, just below Lechwar's right pant leg, the officer found a white Kleenex containing nine bags marked with a Batman logo containing 2.9 grams of heroin, he said.

Lechwar denied the bags were his, but the officer arrested him on a charge of possession of a controlled substance, Roechner said.

The bust marks Lechwar's third for heroin possession in Will County since 2006. He was also convicted of controlled substance possession in Cook County in 2010 and completed a one-year prison term.

In November 2012, Lechwar was sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of manufacture/delivery of 15-plus grams of heroin.

He was out of prison in less than seven months, however, when a special prosecutor appointed to the case because of the conflict posed by Rodney Lechwar's relationship with the state's attorney's office, reduced the charge from a Class X felony to Class 1. The reduction was dictated by a miscalculation of the amount of heroin involved by the Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad, the prosecutor said at the time.

When Will County Judge Edward Burmila re-sentenced Matthew Lechwar under the reduced charge, he allowed him to enter a special boot camp program rather than returning him to prison. He is still on parole from that case, Roechner said.

Lechwar's first conviction was in 2006 on a charge of unlawful delivery of heroin. In that case, Lechwar was allowed to completed a special drug court program rather than going to prison.

Lechwar also has a 2000 possession of cannabis conviction in Kendall County, a 2003 driving under the influence conviction in Will County, and a 2004 possession of a controlled substance conviction in Grundy County, according to court records.

Rodney Lechwar was a Will County judge from 1985 to 2010, a tenure that included a stint as chief judge from 1997 to 2003.

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