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 Will County heroin conviction was in 2006. 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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Tony January 14, 2014 at 06:18 PM
The guy has a horrific drug problem. Not so sure locking him up will do any good. I say save the space for the garbage that deals this crap and the gang bangn punks shooting robbing and creating mayhem. This guy needs some intense inpatient treatment! Have a heart!
Joyce January 14, 2014 at 07:51 PM
Your right he does have a problem...he was driving on our streets while under the influence of that problem..I lost my best friend who was killed by someone with the same problem..she was 18 years old....we have to do something about the drug problems in our neighborhoods....and if it means throwing him in jail...then so be it.
Ty Conderoga January 14, 2014 at 08:15 PM
The problem isn't the druggie, it's the father enabling. Just because you are a judge doesn't mean you have wisdom.
Joyce January 14, 2014 at 08:40 PM
I totally agree Ty. He should have used his connections to get him the help he needed!!
Tony January 16, 2014 at 12:58 AM
Joyce. My response was in patient treatment Jail doesn't fix drug addiction I too have dealt with loss...the death of my child due to an impaired driver. Have a heart as these people need treatment and are their own worst enemies and yes, potentially a danger to us all


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