D. MICHAEL RIVA
ATTORNEY AT LAW
226 E. Main Street
WEST FRANKFORT, ILLINOIS 62896
(618) 937-2404 • FAX: (618) 937-2405
June 13, 2003
1345 Ezra Street
West Frankfort IL 62896
Dear Pastor Dryden:
Please be advised that I represent Tommy Ray Shelton and have
been directed to contact you concerning actions you have taken
against him which are slanderous and libelous and calculated
to deprive him of his right to earn a living. We are aware that
you have been talking to and sending letters to various individuals
in which you state with certainty that he has committed certain
You are putting yourself and the Ezra Church of God in a position
of legal jeopardy by your actions as you have used church letterhead
in your attacks on my client.
Even if the actions occurred, there is no criminal jeopardy as
the statute of limitations has long since passed. Senate Bill
1035 does not, nor could it constitutionally if it actually stated
so, place a person in legal jeopardy after a statute of limitation
had already run. The courts of Illinois have addressed this question.
A few of those cases are: People of the State of Illinois v.
Coleman, 1993 5th District, 245 Ill.App.3d 592, 615 N.E.2d 53,
185 Ill.Dec. 758; People v. Berg, 277 Ill.App.3d 549, 660 N.E.2d
1003, 214 Ill.Dec. 296; People v. Massarella, 80 Ill.App.3d 549,
660 N.E.2d 436, 36 Ill.Dec. 16.
These cases are enclosed for your review and to prove to you
that no State's Attorney will charge my client with any criminal
offense because the statute of limitations had already run and
any new legislative bill cannot put him back in a position of
I have discussed this legal point and cases with an attorney
in the State of Illinois Appellate Prosecutor's office and an
Illinois State's Attorney. There is no disagreement on this legal
Any action to encourage an individual to discuss any of the alleged
acts with the State's Attorney's office will never result in
a criminal prosecution for the alleged offense and will put the
Ezra Church of God and yourself in further jeopardy.
You are best advised to cease all of your activity regarding
Tommy Ray Shelton. To continue, will place your church, Ezra
Church of God, and yourself in legal jeopardy for no good reason.
Very truly yours,|
D. Michael Riva
xc: ________ _________|