CLINTON - A Clinton attorney lashed out at prosecutors Friday after drug and theft charges were dismissed against her.
Dodie Junkert, 41, was charged in January 2003 with theft and unlawful possession of a controlled substance as part of a multicounty burglary sting. Charges were amended to include two additional theft counts after a DeWitt County jury failed to reach a verdict in the case in June 2003.
The charges were dismissed this week in exchange for her agreeing last month to suspend her law license, but she was not convicted of any charges and did not plead guilty.
The three-year legal ordeal has not been without its consequences, Junkert said Friday.
"I don't even know what this is about. This has ruined everything I've ever worked for in my entire life," Junkert said of the cases dismissed this week by Special Prosecutor Roger Simpson.
Junkert was charged along with Jeffrey and Michael McCall, two brothers accused of committing multiple burglaries in several Central Illinois counties. The theft allegations involving Junkert stemmed from charges that she accepted two stolen laptop computers from Jeff McCall in exchange for legal work and some beer.
One computer was handed over to police by Junkert and a second was returned by a college student who had received it as a gift from Junkert. No stolen property was found in Junkert's home.
The drug allegations were leveled after a police search of Junkert's home in which police collected drug praphenalia containing trace amounts of cocaine, authorities said.
Junkert maintained her innocence throughout the proceedings, saying she did not know the computers were stolen. People who had access to her home while she was out of town carrying for her ill mother could have been responsible for the drug-related items, said Junkert.
After the charges were dropped, Junkert maintained that her legal woes were tied to a desire by authorities to nab an attorney in a high-profile burglary case. Junkert's arrest was announced by DeWitt County Roger Massey at a press conference on Jan. 23, 2003.
The charges were dropped against Junkert after she agreed to voluntarily place her law license on an inactive status for four months beginning Nov. 1. The agreement did not include a guilty plea from Junkert to any of the charges.
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Simpson and defense attorney Hal Jennings reached the agreement shortly before Junkert was ordered back to court in October to answer a demand for a blood sample for DNA testing. The cost of the test, estimated at about $2,000 by Junkert, was one of the reasons Junkert cited for her decision to accept the agreement.
"I believed it was getting downright foolish and a waste of taxpayer money for a DNA test," Junkert said.
Simpson said he has not received results of the DNA test.
County legal costs for the Junkert case topped $16,000 in October, according to records kept by the DeWitt County clerk's office. Simpson was appointed to handle the case after DeWitt County State's Attorney Jerry Johnson cited a conflict of interest because Junkert is a member of the local bar association.
Simpson acknowledged that the final chapter of the Junkert case was not the ending authorities had hoped for when charges were filed.
"It's something less than satisfactory. It was a way to bring a long case to a conclusion," said Simpson.
The special prosecutor maintained that the charges were not without foundation.
"The evidence would support that, absolutely," said Simpson.
Junkert said she will be ready to return to her work next spring.
"I'm going to try to rebuild my reputation and my life," said Junkert.