An Illinois appellate court has overturned a disorderly conduct conviction against 27-year-old Paxton Dale Singer, of Sugar Grove, on the grounds of double jeopardy. The former youth pastor at Harvest Bible Church in Aurora had been convicted in 2019 over alleged text messages that were sexual in nature sent to a teen parishioner in 2017. Singer had been sentenced to twelve months of court supervision.
Singer had requested a new trial on the grounds that his guilt was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The request was granted by a Kane County judge who said that they would like to see more evidence from prosecutors. Singer's attorneys argued that doing so would amount to double jeopardy for their client and requested that the case be dropped on those grounds. The court denied the defense's request and rescinded the order for a new trial saying that no evidentiary or procedural errors occurred during the first trial.
The Second District Appellate Court in Elgin ruled last week that the decision to hold a new trial on the basis of insufficient evidence amounted to an acquittal and that indeed a second trial on the same charge would violate Singer's rights.
In its ruling, the appellate court noted that there was sufficient evidence to convict Singer, but that the acquittal granted by the court when it ordered a new trial must stand.