PARIS, IL. (ECWd) -
On December 26, 2015, Dee Burgin, in his employment as an Edgar County Deputy Sheriff, entered the home of a local farmer, Charlie Barrett, without a warrant and after Mr. Barrett clearly told him to get out. Under the law, Mr. Barrett’s attached garage is a part of the “home”. Dee Burgin had no lawful authority to enter that home. Although there was no reason to do so, Dee Burgin threatened Mr. Barrett by drawing his Taser and saying “we can do this the easy way of the hard way!” He arrested Mr. Barrett and confiscated things from Mr. Barrett’s home.
Criminal charges were later filed against Mr. Barrett, who hired Redwood Law Office to represent him. Mrs. Jude Redwood filed and prosecuted a Motion to Suppress the Evidence, based on Dee Burgin’s unlawful conduct, which violated the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. After Dee Burgin testified that he did enter Mr. Barrett’s garage after Mr. Barrett told him to get out, State’s Attorney Mark Isaf dismissed the case, on December 12, 2016.
A civil rights lawsuit was filed by Redwood Law Office, against Dee Burgin, Jeff D. Wood, and Edgar County, on behalf of Charles Barrett, the plaintiff, with eight claims against Dee Burgin and four claims against Jeff Wood, due to his responsibility of the actions of his deputy. On September 26, 2019, Judge Colin Bruce of the Federal District Court for the Central District of Illinois decided six of the eight claims in favor of the plaintiff and against Dee Burgin. On that same date, Federal Judge Colin Bruce also decided three of the four claims in favor of the plaintiff and against Jeff Wood. The remaining claims were scheduled for a jury trial on February 25, 2020. The jury trial was set to determine the amount of money to award to the plaintiff on the decided claims and also to determine facts about the remaining claims and determine the amount of money to award to the plaintiff.
Mr. Barrett decided to try to get a money settlement on the claims that Judge Bruce had already decided in his favor. After intense negotiations, the County’s insurance company agreed to pay a settlement of $350,000.00 to settle all claims instead of spending four days in a trial in the federal courthouse in Urbana. The settlement money will be shared with Redwood Law Office, under the terms of Mr. Barrett’s contract.
This is the third recent victory that Redwood Law Office has gotten for their client in the past 6 months. In September 2019, Redwood Law negotiated a settlement of $900,000 for an Edgar County citizen who was severely injured in a motor vehicle accident. In December 2019, Redwood Law Office successfully tried a medical malpractice case to a Champaign County jury, winning a verdict of $1,050,000 for the Estate of a woman who died in the Champaign County Jail due to the negligence of the jail’s health care provider. No criminal charges were ever filed against any person for the unnecessary death of this woman.
Contrary to what some people may think, the $350,000 settlement in Mr. Barrett’s case does not raise the taxes of Edgar County residents. The County of Edgar has an insurance policy that they pay every year, to insure the county for bad acts by county officials and employees, including sheriff’s deputy Dee Burgin. The county's insurance rates will most likely increase as a result of this settlement. The insurance company will pay out the entire amount and Dee Burgin will not pay a penny. This is the second time that the insurance company has paid a plaintiff because Dee Burgin violated the civil rights of a citizen of Edgar County. He might even be saying “I don’t believe that I violated Mr. Barrett’s rights”, even though federal Judge Colin Bruce says that he did violate Mr. Barrett’s constitutional rights and violated the Illinois laws of Battery, Assault and Trespass. Dee Burgin was never prosecuted by Edgar County State’s Attorney Mark Isaf for his conduct on December 26, 2015.
In June 2012, Dee Burgin and Terry Rogers were each found, by a jury, to have violated the civil rights of an Edgar County citizen. The jury awarded $70,000 to the citizen - $35,000 against Dee Burgin and $35,000 against Terry Rogers. No criminal charges were ever filed against Burgin and Rogers for these acts against the citizen. On May 24, 2018, Dee Burgin made statements under oath at a deposition. When asked how much of that $35,000 judgment he actually paid, he said “zero”. When asked what, if anything he had learned from that case, he said: “I don’t feel like I violated her constitutional rights.” Former Sheriff Ed Motley, an honorable man and a great sheriff, fired Dee Burgin because Dee Burgin’s conduct against that citizen was imputed to the sheriff, under Illinois law (a judge later ordered Burgin reinstated). Just like Jeff Wood was found responsible in this case for Dee Burgin’s conduct. That is the law in Illinois.
How will Dee Burgin ever learn a lesson when he is allowed to continually violate the constitutional rights of citizens of Edgar County and get away without paying a penny and without losing his job?
What would happen to an ordinary citizen who came into a person’s home, after being told to keep out, pointed a Taser at the homeowner and saying “we can do this the easy way or the hard way”? It’s called Home Invasion – a Class X Felony with a sentence range of 6-30 years in prison. How about Assault with a Weapon, Battery and Trespass? Any non-Burgin citizen would be facing criminal charges. We teach our children not to do bad things. But once again, Dee Burgin has done conduct that was allegedly criminal and the insurance company will pay the entire monetary settlement, again.
There are things you can do, as a citizen, about this disgrace in Edgar County.
1) If you have a complaint about how Dee Burgin treated you, write it out in specifics, with a date on it, sign it and mail it to Sheriff Wood by certified mail. Also mail an exact copy to us, the Edgar County Watchdogs.
2) Write a complaint about how Mr. Barrett was treated and ask that Dee Burgin be prosecuted for misconduct. One of the laws of the United States is found at 18 U.S.C. Section 242, which provides, in part: “Whoever, under color of any law . . . willfully subjects any person . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States [shall be guilty of a crime].”
Dee Burgin can still be prosecuted by the federal government until December 26, 2020. There is time for you to complain and ask that he be investigated and prosecuted for this and other misconduct.
FBI – Investigations
900 East Linton Avenue
Springfield, IL 62703
Mr. John Milhiser
Office of the United States Attorney
318 South Sixth Street
Springfield, IL 62701
Send a copy of your letters to the Edgar County Watchdogs.
Assert your right to complain about your government!