Defense attorneys said Monday they feel hopeful about getting James Mandarino a new trial and even a ruling reversal.
Earlier in the day, Cook County Circuit Judge Thomas Fecarotta Jr. granted a request to delay Mandarino's sentencing and give the defense more time to file motions for a new trial. The sentencing was delayed until May 31.
In the meantime, attorney Rick Beuke plans to submit more than 80 letters from friends, family, former colleagues and chiefs of police from surrounding suburbs supporting the new trial for Mandarino.
"I think they'll be very helpful to give both the state's attorney and the judge a pretty clear understanding of what kind of person Jim Mandarino is," Beuke said Monday after the extension was granted.
Mandarino was charged last month with aggravated battery and official misconduct for beating Ronald Bell with his baton in the motorist's driveway in March 2010.
Dash cam video showed him striking Bell with his baton, leaving Bell with multiple bruises and needing seven stitches to close a gash on his ear. The former Streamwood officer still faces a sentence of up to five years.
Beuke said he requested copies of all trial testimonies after the judge's decision last month. The copies arrived Thursday and, because of the Easter weekend, the defense wasn't able to read them all before Mandarino's regularly scheduled sentencing date.
"We're very hopeful and confident that if we can get the judge to reconsider the issues, I think the legal questions will be made apparent to him, and we're going to be very hopeful that the judge may entertain a motion to reconsider ... reversing his ruling."
Beuke said Mandarino is prepared for the worst but hoping for the best sentencing outcome. He spent the past weeks making arrangements for his family if he goes to jail and filing applications to "start a new career."
At the heart of the argument for a new trial is the stack of letters from family, friends and former colleagues.
"They're really very emotional when you go through them. We didn't send a notice out there asking people to submit letters to us, they were just coming in and they continue to come in every day," Beuke said.