Motion hearing in Yohn case addresses cell phone data, discovery and evidence — and office supplies

Yohn in court 1

Bradley Yohn looks around the courtroom while bailiff Chad Downs checks his watch during a motion hearing in Adams County Circuit Court on Thursday afternoon. | Pool photo by David Adam

QUINCY — A motion hearing in Adams County Circuit Court on Thursday afternoon in front of Judge Roger Thomson addressed motions by Bradley Yohn to bar evidence in other cases, suppress cell phone data and disclose discovery from the Adams County State’s Attorney’s office.

However, the hearing eventually boiled down to legal pads, pens and envelopes.

Yohn is defending himself Pro Se against charges of home invasion, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated vehicular hijacking and aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon — all Class X felonies — in Adams County filed in November 2021. His is case set to go to trial on June 21.

Yohn is defending himself in three 2001 cases numbered 713, 715 and 723. The felonies committed in case 715 will be tried on June 21. Thomson granted his motion to bar evidence from the other two cases when assistant state’s attorney Josh Jones said he had no incentive to present evidence from those other charges.

Yohn said he thought the state would try all three cases at the same time. Thomson explained that the state would begin with case 715, and when that case finishes, the state would have additional time to bring to trial the other cases.

“I would say it’s only right, even though we’re not coming to trial (on all three cases), their discovery still be disclosed,” Yohn replied.

“And you will be incorrect, Mr. Yohn,” Thomson said. “We will revisit the motion for disclosure of discovery in 713 at the appropriate time.”

State has no plans for information from Blackledge phone in case

Yohn was asking to suppress extraction of data from a Samsung cell phone that belonged to Karen Blackledge, who pled guilty April 1 to one count of home invasion and one count of aggravated sexual assault, both Class X felonies. She will serve two 20-year terms consecutively in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Blackledge, 33, acknowledged she illegally entered the home of Christine “Tina” Schmitt on Quincy’s North Bottom Road on Nov. 9. While in the home, she used a weapon to penetrate Schmitt, who died on Dec. 12. Blackledge and Yohn were arrested the next day in Springfield in connection with the incident.

Jones said he plans to use information extracted from a cell phone that belonged to Yohn, adding Yohn already has that evidence.

“We’re not using any information from Karen Blackledge’s cell phone. We haven’t turned anything over to him from that cell phone,” Jones said. “There’s been no extraction done on that cell phone. … If the defendant’s argument is that it’s not his phone, he doesn’t have standing to suppress.”

Thomson asked Yohn if the phone in question belonged to him. “No sir, your honor,” Yohn said.

“Then the state’s exactly right,” Thomson said.

When Thomson asked if Yohn had other written motions to discuss, Yohn replied he had other issues to address.

Yohn complains he’s been denied constitutional rights

He claimed he’s been in segregation in the Adams County Jail except for nine days and said he’s done nothing to “disregard any constitutional rules or regulations” in the jail for the past two months. 

“No matter how well you’re behaving, we do not get to possess, obtain or purchase off commissary any food, paper, pens, envelopes or stamps to communicate with persons or offices needed or wanted,” Yohn said. “I cannot file subpoenas, request persons or communicate with persons needed in defense. I’m not entitled are these rights as a U.S. citizen in the Adams County Jail.

“I get one hour out of the cell (during the) day to make phone calls, shower and walk laps. If I want to call legal professionals for advice or confer with any legal professionals, I have to do that (during that) one hour. It’s been a complete denial of constitutional rights and due process in this jail.”

Thomson had previously granted Yohn five hours a day in the county’s law library to do research for his defense. Yohn claimed the longest time he has stayed in the law library was 2 hours and 36 minutes.

Thomson reaffirmed Yohn could have law library access for five hours per day.

“You need to organize your research, look at your materials and then craft your questions or what you need to look for during five hours in the library … then go back to the cell, back and forth,” the judge said. “You’ve got from now until a week from Tuesday to do so.”

“Your Honor, you seem to be a very smart man,” Yohn said. “But I don’t think you’re understanding. I’m not getting five hours at all.”

Jones provides log of time Yohn spends in law library

Jones spent much of the hearing with his back turned to Yohn. At one point, he looked at assistant state’s attorney Laura Keck and bit his knuckle in frustration.

He then read from a log from the Adams County Jail that detailed the hours Yohn spent in the law library. The log showed Yohn typically went to the law library around 10:30 p.m. and often stayed until 4:30 a.m. on multiple dates. Jones also said jail administrators told him they leave Yohn in the law library “until he asks to leave.”

Yohn claimed jail administrators forced him to leave multiple times.

Thomson told Yohn he’s getting more time in the law library than anyone else in the jail. He then asked Yohn if he had inadequate time to prepare for his defense.

“I believe I’ve been denied. Blatantly denied,” Yohn replied.

Thomson asked if Yohn needed additional time to continue to prepare his defense.

“I’m not asking for additional time. I’m ready to go to trial on June 21,” Yohn replied, then complained again about not having access to office supplies.

“I’m still denied normalcy,” he said. “I’m still denied to be treated equal like any other inmate. I’ve done nothing to constantly be stuck in a hole.”

Final verdict: Four legal pads, 10 pens, 25 envelopes

Thomson asked Yohn what he needed. Growing frustrated, Yohn said he’s used four legal pads in the past month.

“I do not like to look like I’m the bad guy,” Yohn said. “I’m getting out of character.”

He then gathered his papers, stood at his table and said, “I’m ready to go back down.” Three bailiffs stepped forward, and Yohn quickly sat down.

Thomson eventually ordered for Yohn receive four more legal pads, 10 pens and 25 envelopes.

“If you run out or run short, you get a call out to let someone know they can notify me,” Thomson said. “What else do you need?

“I’d like to get equal treatment, but obviously I won’t get that here,” Yohn said.

“Anything else, Mr. Yohn?” Thomson said.

“Yes, I’d like to make a note that I’m not violent. I’m not a heinous person, your honor,” Yohn said. “All those deputies stood up and acted as if I was a violent, heinous person. I’m really not, and I don’t like being treated like that. I’m ready to go.”

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