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Lake County judicial candidate denies sign-theft allegations

Lake County States Attorneys office prosecutor candidate for judge PatriciFix hosts press conference with Illinois State Senator 30th District Terry

Lake County States Attorneys office prosecutor and candidate for judge Patricia Fix hosts a press conference with Illinois State Senator 30th District Terry Link at the Democratic headquarters in Waukegan. Fix has been accused of allegedly stealing campaign signs of her opponent. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 2, 2013 1:38AM

WAUKEGAN — Second Judicial Subcircuit Democratic candidate Patricia Fix said at a Friday news conference that the actions of “a misguided supporter” led to the removal of signs posted last weekend in favor of her opponent in the Nov. 6 election, Republican Associate Judge Luis Berrones.

Fix, an assistant Lake County state’s attorney who was placed on unpaid administrative leave Thursday while Lake County sheriff’s deputies investigate the incident, added that she came into possession of the signs and attempted to return them.

“I did not do this,” said Fix, who was joined by state Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, at the Waukegan Township Democratic headquarters on North Avenue. “I will tell you what happened, I owe that to the voters ... But make no mistake, I did not do this.

“Early Tuesday morning, a misguided supporter of mine — who, like me, has been very upset about repeated thefts of my campaign signs and material — removed some of my opponent’s signs and brought them to me. Knowing how I feel about this kind of activity, because it’s been going on for 10 weeks with me, I put all those signs back.”

According to Fix, she put two signs back on her way to work that morning and the rest on her way home that night.

Fix added that “I know firsthand how it feels firsthand when your signs get taken, so when I received these signs, I did the right thing. I didn’t hide them. I put them back. And I’m sorry that’s why we’re here today.”

Warren Township Republican Organization Chairman Mike Amrozowicz told The News-Sun earlier this week that 200 signs were put up last weekend, and between 160 and 180 had disappeared by Tuesday. The signs feature an endorsement for Berrones from the Lake County Bar Association, and Amrozowicz estimated their value at $4.40 each.

Asked if she considered other options for returning the signs to the Warren Township GOP, Fix said, “I’ve been a member of the law-enforcement community for many, many years, (and) I have every faith and confidence in the justice system and how the investigative process can play out if everybody gets an opportunity to give their side of the story before law enforcement jumps to politically charged conclusions in an extremely short time frame.”

Link, who doubles as Lake County Democratic Party chairman, also said he feels the action taken against Fix has political roots, saying campaign signs “are stolen constantly during an election,” and accusing Fix’s opposition of targeting her situation for extra scrutiny.

“I’ve been doing this for probably 40 years in politics, and every election cycle I think we’re going to hit a new low, and I think we’ve probably hit the newest low of all in this election,” Link said. “This is a ridiculous incident. It’s politics at its worst-case scenario.”

Fix has been an assistant state’s attorney for about 18 years and is chief of the felony trial division. While she spoke about the sign incident Friday afternoon, the trial she had been prosecuting — that of accused murderer Daniel Baker — was entering the closing-arguments phase at the Lake County Courthouse.

“I was in the middle of a large murder case and it was taking up all of my time at work, and I had to be in the office at a certain point in time,” she said of the morning she received the signs, adding that “I guess I did the best I could” about attempting to put the signs back.

Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Jeff Pavletic said the office is working with sheriff’s investigators on the incident, and Fix’s leave will be for an undefined period of time.

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