QUINCY — A judge denied a Quincy woman’s request for a new attorney and a change of venue Wednesday morning.
Amanda Toolate, 43, of 323 College is facing one count of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, a Class X felony punishable for between six and 60 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, and one count of domestic battery. Quincy police arrested her March 25.
She appeared in Adams County Circuit Court before Judge Amy Lannerd for a status hearing nine days before a pre-trial and 19 days before the scheduled start of her jury trial.
Toolate opened the hearing by complaining that public defender Christopher Pratt only spent five minutes with her during a recent visit to have medical releases signed. She said Pratt told her he only was going to use half of her medical records in defense of her case. She claimed her request to see the evidence against her was delayed for three weeks, and she also said Pratt refused to file motions or ask for bond reductions on her behalf.
Toolate also said her medications were switched, while housed in the Adams County Jail, about a week before a previously scheduled court appearance, “which was very suspicious to me.”
She also noted members of the jail’s security staff were “making fun” of her last Sunday.
“I’ve been discriminated against (in the jail), because I’m a Toolate,” she said. “This has been going on the whole time that I’ve been here, and I find this ridiculous. So I would like that change of venue.”
Pratt didn’t believe all of her medical records were relevant to the case, but he said he would “make that decision when the time comes.” He claimed he met Toolate several times in the jail to review discovery, admitting he hadn’t had time to review some videos with her.
“I don’t spend a tremendous amount of time interacting with my clients while that ineffectiveness claim is pending, because there’s not much I feel I could do,” Pratt said.
As for the change of venue motion, Pratt said, “With any motion that I file with the court, I have to believe there’s a good faith basis to support that motion. Based on the information I have about this case, I don’t believe there’s sufficient grounds to support the change of venue. That’s why I’ve chosen not to file that.”
Pratt said he has made two requests for bond reduction. One was granted on March 23 when the original $150,000 bond, set on March 14, was reduced to $45,000. The other request, Pratt said, was denied.
Pratt acknowledged Toolate’s claim about the comments made by security staff in the jail “could be in issue if (they) were selected for jury duty, but I don’t think it rises to the level to support the motion for a change of venue.”
Lannerd said “sufficient facts had not been presented” to support a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel or that Toolate is being deprived of her right to an attorney.
Detectives from the Quincy Police Department began working on multiple unrelated cases several months ago after receiving reports of possible child sexual abuse. Multiple children were interviewed, and searches were conducted on suspects’ electronic devices and social media. Both the Department of Child and Family Services and the Advocacy Network for Children were involved.
Toolate’s charging document says she knowingly committed on May 1, 2020, an act of contact, however slight, between the sex organ of a child under the age of 13 and the finger of the defendant for the purpose of the sexual arousal or gratification of the defendant. The domestic battery charge says Toolate caused great bodily harm to the same child, striking the child in the face with her fist, pushing the child to the ground and biting the child on the wrist.
She remains lodged in the Adams County Jail on $150,000 bond.
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