456 S. Lincoln

A home in the 400 block of South Lincoln Avenue in Kankakee has been under scrutiny in the courts.

KANKAKEE — A Kankakee County judge found the owner of a nuisance property in Kankakee in contempt of court on Wednesday for having not posted the required bond allowing her and three family members to remain in the 400 block of South Lincoln Avenue residence.

Circuit Judge Bill Dickenson sentenced Irene Guzman to 30 days in jail. Dickenson gave Guzman 45 days to get things in order prior to surrendering at the courthouse.

“The language in the order is clear,” Dickenson said. “If you had a question about the order, you should have talked to your attorney.”

Dickenson said because there have not been any incidents at the house since last November, he was sentencing her to 30 days. Prosecutors had argued for six months.

Guzman’s attorney Eric Davis argued Guzman had no criminal record.

“It would be unreasonable and unfair for my client to serve time,” he said.

Davis said clarifying when she had to pay the bond and a fine should be the sentence.

On Nov. 10, 2020, Dickenson declared Guzman’s home at 456 S. Lincoln Ave. in Kankakee is a nuisance property due to gang activity but allowed her to stay in the home by posting a $5,000 bond based on state statute.

Earlier this year, the Kankakee County State’s Attorney’s Office filed criminal contempt charges arguing Guzman did not comply with Dickenson’s Nov. 10 ruling.

The $5,000 bond Dickenson set last November had gone unpaid. That was until Wednesday after the hearing. Court records show the bond has now been paid.

Davis argued that Dickenson’s ruling last November did not give an actual time for that bond to be paid.

“She is not in contempt if she was not told when to pay,” he said. “She has been willing to pay.”

Prosecutors also argued more than Guzman, her husband and two grandchildren had been seen on the property or going into the home. That’s a violation of Dickenson’s order.

“She did the exact opposite by not paying the bond and allowing people on the property,” Assistant State’s Attorney Jonathan Watson said.

Watson provided photos and video of violations from a resident of the 400 block of South Lincoln. The neighbor testified about the photos and video that were taken last November and December.

Guzman testified two people that were seen in the videos were there working on the home.

She also said the neighbor came over to her home and had threatened her over an incident involving a vehicle.

“I called the police. It was very disturbing,” Guzman said.

Jeff Bonty is a reporter for The Daily Journal. He can be reached at jbonty@daily-journal.com and 815-937-3366.


Jeff Bonty has worked for The Daily Journal since September 1986, starting in the sports department before moving to news reporting in 2002. He's a native of Indiana and graduate of Purdue University. His email is jbonty@daily-journal.com.