By JILLIAN DUCHNOWSKI – firstname.lastname@example.org
November 9, 2009
WOODSTOCK – A judge declined to reduce bail today for a 35-year-old Palatine man accused of financing and organizing a large-scale marijuana growing operation in McHenry.
A special public defender for Phillip J. Koeckritz asked Judge Joseph Condon to halve his bail from $100,000 to $50,000, which means he would have to post $5,000 to be released.
Koeckritz is facing multiple felony charges in connection with a McHenry house where police found 1,438 plants with an estimated street value of $1.5 million in January. But police have said they believe he and another man ran similar operations in other rented homes in three counties.
Prosecutors argued that Koeckritz is a flight risk, partially because his father owns a large international home-improvement manufacturing company as well as a $16.9 million home in Florida.
Koeckritz has been convicted of multiple instances of aggravated driving under the influence and was convicted of unlawful production of marijuana plants in Cook County in 1999, prosecutors said. He was on parole when arrested in this case.
But Koeckritz’s attorney, George Kililis, argued that police searched the McHenry home without a warrant after a neighbor called concerned about the resident’s well-being. Kililis said Koeckritz’s father’s employees would be able to transport him to and from court if his bail was reduced and that Koeckritz had extensive ties to the community.
Kililis said his client was planning to retain a private attorney soon, rather than continuing to use a special public defender. If convicted of the most serious charge he faces, Koeckritz could be sentenced to between 15 and 30 years in prison.
His case is next due in court Nov. 30 for a preliminary hearing.