By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
(© 2017 Journal GlobaLinks)
ROLLING MEADOWS, Illinois (JGL) – A Filipino American, Sergio D. Buizing, facing a 21-year sentence for two counts of armed kidnaping and
two counts of aggravated unlawful restraint, was given a reprieve Tuesday (Aug. 8) when prosecuting Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Shilpa Patel agreed to defense counsel David J. O’Connor's suggestion to amend the charge during a pre-trial conference to Class 4 felony unlawful restraint because the offense was an “aberration” committed by Mr. Buizing, who had no past criminal record.
After the 36-year-old Buizing withdrew his not guilty plea, Judge Joel L. Greenblatt of the Cook County Circuit Court in this Chicago suburb of Rolling Meadows sentenced in open court Buizing to 24 months of probation and to pay a court cost of more than $634.
Last March 23, 2017, Buizing pleaded not guilty two counts of aggravated kidnaping armed with firearm and two counts of aggravated unlawful restraints. After the pre-trial conference, the two counts of aggravated kidnaping armed with firearm and one of the two counts of aggravated unlawful restraint were withdrawn. But one of the aggravated unlawful restraint for Buizing’s wife, Cherry Buizing, was amended to Class 4 unlawful restraint in that “he knowingly without legal authority detained Cherry Buizing in violation of Chapter 720 Act 5 Sec. 10-331 of Illinois Compiled Statutes.
Unlawful restraint is a Class 4 felony offense, punishable by one to three years in prison (the Illinois Department of Corrections) and a fine of up to $25,000. A defendant will also have one year of mandatory supervised release, formerly known as parole, after prison and/or up to 30 months of probation or conditional discharge.
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL:
FILIPINO AMERICAN SERGIO D. Buizing (center) shares his feeling with his patron, Juanito “JR” Roque, Jr. (right), who welcomed him to his home during his six-month separation from his wife, Cherry Buizing, after Judge Joel L. Greenblatt sentenced him to a two-year probation after he pleaded guilty Tuesday (Aug. 8) to a reduced charge of Class 4 felony unlawful restraint instead of the two counts of armed kidnaping and aggravated unlawful restraint, and reporter, Joseph G. Lariosa (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)
Judge Greenblatt also ordered the removal of the GPS monitoring device tacked into Buizing ankle and lifted the no-contact order so he can be reunited with his family and he can return back to their home.
Mr. Buizing, who lost his high-paying job as a shipping supervisor of Chicago Review Press after his charges became public, has to continue with his counseling on drug and alcohol. He is barred from owning a gun and for applying for a gun license. He is not allowed to take drugs and alcohol.
Buizing will report to Adult Probation Department for probation/community service and comply with Adult Probation’s rules and regulations and pay a monthly fee not to exceed $50. He will complete drug/alcohol evaluation and treatment recommendation, submit to random drug testing and to DNA Indexing,
Mr. Buizing also forfeited his $20,000 cash bond deposit in favor of his lawyer as his attorney’s fees. Buizing also waived jury trial. Although Buizing has the right to appeal, and if he does so, his guilty plea will be withdrawn.
Buizing’s lawyer, Mr. O’Connor said he is happy that his client evaded 21 years in the penitentiary. He said, “We were able to dispose of the case, the state and the judge read that this was an aberration in Mr. Buizing’s life and nothing more. And Mr. Buizing was a loving family member, loving father and husband. This will allow him to be re-unified with his family, which is one of our objectives from the beginning.”
He said, Mr. Buizing “recognizes that he made the mistake during the course of this. And this he certainly earned years from his ways. I don’t expect that this is going to be repeated in the future."
Apology is an “interfamily situation. Certainly that is something that the family should address or work on to insure that everyday is able to overcome is one of them. Jealousy with ‘Jojo” was one of the facts that came out during the course of investigation. A mistake in belief and nothing more and his wife doesn’t hold it against him,” Mr. O'Connor added.
DEFENSE COUNSEL David J. O’Connor (center) had a photo-op after he succeeded in reducing the sentence from 21 years to two years probation of his client, Sergio D. Buizing Tuesday (Aug. 8) after Buizing pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of Class 4 felony unlawful restraint instead of the two counts of kidnaping and aggravated unlawful restraint Tuesday (Aug. 8) when prosecuting Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Shilpa Patel agreed to his defense counsel David J. O’Connor’s suggestion to amend the charge during a pre-trial conference. Photo at right is Buizing supporter, Juanito “JR” Roque, Jr. (right) and Joseph G. Lariosa. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)
When asked for comment by this reporter, Mr. Buizing, a native of Pilar, Sorsogon in the Philippines, said, “Nagpapasalamat ako sa komopkop sa akin, si Juanito “JR” Roque, Jr., unang una na sa Panginoon, sa aking lawyer, maraming salamat tapos na ang kaso ko. Siempre nagsisi ako sa nangyari at magbabagong buhay na ako, tatalikuran ko na ang masasamang bisyo tulad ng droga. (I am very thankful to Juanito “JR” Roque, Jr., who allowed me to stay in his home during the last six months when he was issued a no-contact order to his family, but first of all to God, to my lawyer (Mr. O’Connor), for helping resolve my case. Also I regretted for what happened. Of course, I will be leading a brand-new life and turn my back to such vices as illegal drugs.)
His wife, Cherry, who told the judge prior to sentencing that she had no objection letting her husband return to their home, said she was very pleased with the probation sentence of her husband, adding she was very thankful at the turn of the event.
It was Cherry, who suggested to her husband’s lawyer, that her husband should be allowed to return to their home during oral arguments on the reduction of bond last July 11, which was denied by Judge Greenblatt.
Cherry said their 15-year-old daughter was very happy when she informed her that her father is going home.
Mr. Buizing’s supporter, Mr. Roque, president of the Chicago Magnificent Lions Club, and a friend of Mr. Buizing said Mr. Buizing, whom he hosted in his home in Glenview, Illinois, is a “'good person' as I know Mr. Buizing as charter member of our Lions Club since 2015."
Buizing was arrested after a “domestic altercation that took place at his residence at 4100 Block of Oriole Avenue in Norridge, Illinois on Feb. 13, 2017 while brandishing a Taurus Ultra Lite .38 revolver and “knowingly detaining” his wife Cherry Buizing and their teenaged daughter in their bedroom, according to complaints for preliminary examination filed by Det. Zachary Zage of Norridge Police.
It was Buizing and Cherry’s daughter, who called 9-1-1, saying she was “afraid of her father.”
When the police officers arrived at his home, Buizing answered the front door and let them into the residence. When Officer Beckman asked Buizing if he knew why they were called to the residence, Buizing “stated that he wouldn’t do it again.”
Cherry told the police that Sergio had struck her on her head twice that day and he had been “smoking crystal meth (Methamphetamine also known as shabu in the Philippines) and becomes angry with her when he smokes.” Cherry also stated that Sergio “also had been carrying a gun around with him during the day. Cherry informed the police that she was willing to sign complaints and have Sergio arrested for domestic battery.”