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Judge looking over trial transcript in Merritte case

A judge is in the middle of considering a request to dismiss the case against a man, who was found guilty of attacking another man in a Streator bar.

Clarence Merritte, 33, was found guilty July 5 of beating a man at a now defunct bar in October 2014, but has not been sentenced. Two other men also took part in the attack; they pleaded guilty in 2015 and were sentenced to probation.

At a hearing Thursday, Merritte's attorney, Charles Snowden of Chicago, argued the case against Merritte should be tossed, because the prosecution withheld information before trial, which Merritte had a right to know in preparing his defense.

Circuit Judge Cynthia Raccuglia said she needed to review a portion of the trial transcript, before making a decision. As a consequence, she continued the hearing to Thursday, Sept. 14.

Snowden also has claimed Merritte was prosecuted, because of his race. Merritte is black.

Merritte also is charged with forcing a woman into his car Feb. 17, 2017, just outside Streator, hitting her and driving away. Merritte and the woman, who have had a relationship, were found by police Feb. 24 in Calumet City. The next court hearing on these charges is Friday, Sept. 8.

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