Martin, Korando race heating up

Monroe County Assistant State’s Attorney Ryan Martin recently had an ethical complaint filed against him with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois. 

The anonymous complaint, which the commission received Nov. 22,  says Martin has violated the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct by posting on social media prior to jury trials asking for prayers and sharing statements like “if you commit violent crimes in our county, we will go after you.”

This complaint argues Martin violated a rule stating a prosecutor in a criminal case shall “refrain from making extrajudicial comments that pose a serious and imminent threat of heightening public condemnation of the accused and exercise reasonable care to prevent (individuals involved in the case) from making an extrajudicial statement that the prosecutor would be prohibited from making.” 

That rule cites another regulation that states a lawyer must not make an extrajudicial statement that will be disseminated to the public that “would pose a serious and imminent threat to the fairness of an adjudicative proceeding in the matter.” 

Martin, a Republican running for state’s attorney in the November 2020 election, described the complaint as a political ploy. 

“I believe the anonymous source wants to conveniently try to argue later in this race that I somehow have had ethical complaints filed against me as a prosecutor during a time I was running for this office, despite how unfounded and politically motivated those complaints are,” Martin said.

In a Facebook post and a press release to the Republic-Times, Martin said he is “not setting the tone of this race” and plans to run a positive campaign focused on the work he has done in his current role over the last three years. 

He said he was “saddened that someone would try to take my law license,” saying filing a complaint in this manner was “just wrong.”  

“It’s one thing to bring up my past from high school for which I was pardoned and my record expunged, which I fully understand is fair game in politics, but it’s a completely different thing to file a complaint against me with the ARDC for asserting my First Amendment rights of free speech and the freedom to exercise my faith by requesting prayers before jury trials,” wrote Martin. “It feels like not only a personal attack on me, but an attack on all our rights as Americans.”

Martin was convicted of felony burglary charges as a teenager and pardoned of those offenses last year by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner. 

Martin, who had never had a complaint filed against him before, further said a part of the complaint that alleged a juror responded to a post was false, as the  individual was in Florida. 

The ARDC determined no further investigation into the complaint was necessary. 

Democrat Celeste Korando, who is running against Martin for state’s attorney, criticized his response. 

“My qualifications and legal experience blow Mr. Martin’s out of the water,” she told the Republic-Times. “Ryan Martin is an ex-con with over $300,000.00 in student loan debt. He is clearly desperate to gain a sympathetic vote. He has not done even one jury trial in the state of Illinois. His recent 2:57 a.m. Facebook post is clear evidence of his desperation.”

Korando also pointed out the ARDC received the complaint the same day  Martin announced he was running for office. 

“It is upsetting that Mr. Martin has chosen to make this a campaign issue,” she said. “I am committed to running a clean and fair campaign. I will again stand on my qualifications: I have prosecuted well over 1,000 felony cases, defended over a thousand more and I’ve done hundreds of trials here in Illinois.”

Martin, who said he forgives the person who filed the complaint, pushed back some against Korando’s response. 

“My jury trial experience… speaks for itself,” he said. “Since I took this job as an assistant state’s attorney, I’ve assisted in every jury trial we’ve had in Monroe County since December 2016, and we’ve sent drug dealers to prison for significant amounts of time and a child predator to prison for the rest of his life.” 

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James Moss

James is an alumni of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he graduated summa cum laude with degrees in mass communications and applied communications studies. While in school, he interned at two newspapers and worked at a local grocery store to pay for his education. When not working for the Republic-Times, he enjoys watching movies, reading, playing video games and spending time with his friends.
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