CHICAGO
06/09/2010 06:44 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Coroner Accused Of Stealing Dead Man's TV: Should Taxes Pay For His Defense? (POLL)

The coroner of suburban Kane County was indicted in mid-May in a bizarre case that appears likely to end his career.

Charles West is alleged to have let two deputy coroners take a dead man's 24" TV and use it in their home.

County Board members will ask West, who has served as coroner since 2000, to resign following the indictment, reports the Daily Herald. And it's now trying to keep West from using taxpayer money to fund his defense.

"Our clear objective is to get the taxpayers out of the middle of this," Chairman Karen McConnaughay said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Gary Johnson, an attorney for West, disagrees. He is hoping the state will appoint him a special assistant state's attorney, and provide for West's defense.

From the Tribune:

Johnson said Tuesday that the law makes provisions for a public defense of West in all matters -- both criminal and civil -- that arise from his official actions. The grand jury allegations against the coroner all contain language accusing West of misconduct in his official capacity as an elected government official, he noted.

"If the government is going to prosecute Chuck West, then the government should provide a defense too," Johnson said.

One of the deputy coroners in Kane County is Charles West's son, Eric. The special prosecutor in the case, Charles Colburn, would not identify which deputy coroners ended up in possession of the TV; Eric West denied the Tribune's requests for comment in the matter.

Meanwhile, McConnaughay said she would continue to fight West's use of taxpayer funds for his defense, and that her constituents were behind her. "You get a lot of, 'Well, that doesn't sound right that we, as taxpayers, should be paying for that,'" she said.

What do you think?