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Boreal Community Media

Beck court case moved to Lake County

Nov 16, 2017 07:52PM ● By Editor

By Joe Friedrichs of WTIP Radio News - Thursday, 11/16/2017 

The criminal case involving former Cook County Health and Human Services Director Josh Beck has been moved to Lake County. Beck is facing four charges, including domestic assault and engaging in a past pattern of child abuse against a minor.

Beck was scheduled for an omnibus hearing in the Cook County Courthouse Nov. 13. That hearing was canceled after Judge Michael Cuzzo ruled Nov. 8 that Beck could likely not receive a fair trial in Cook County.

Beck’s next courtroom appearance will now take place Nov. 20 at the Lake County Courthouse in Two Harbors. This will be Beck’s omnibus hearing, with trial dates set for January. Moving forward, all of Beck’s courtroom activities regarding this case will take place in Lake County.

Citing Minnesota court rule 25.02, Cuzzo ruled that certain “material has created a reasonable likelihood that a fair trial on this matter cannot be held in Cook County.”

Many Cook County residents were contacted in late October asking how informed they were about Josh Beck and his criminal charges. The calls came from affiliates of the Duluth-based Zenith Research Group. In addition to inquiring about Beck’s criminal charges, the operator also asked if residents if they listen to WTIP regularly, read the Cook County News-Herald regularly and how often they follow local news stories. They also asked if they knew Josh Beck personally.

Though it happens infrequently in comparison to the overall number of cases that move through a courtroom in any given county, it is not entirely uncommon in Minnesota for attorneys to request a change of venue in cases where they feel it will be difficult to find unbiased jurors due to statements by public officials and media attention to a case.

Beck was first in court on Sept. 11. That hearing lasted more than an hour and included arguments regarding Beck’s bail. Judge Cuzzo finally ordered that bail be set at $20,000 and that it not be enacted unless Beck violates a series of mandates the court ordered, including that he not contact his children.

Also present during the September courtroom proceedings was Priscilla Beck. According to social service workers and attorneys who spoke during the hearing, Priscilla and Josh Beck are still married and have intentions to remain married.

However, Josh Beck has returned to Arizona and is employed by Gila County, Arizona. The Gila County website lists Beck as the public health emergency preparedness manager. Prior to his arrival in Cook County, Beck worked in the human services department in Gila County. Priscilla, meanwhile, is living in Indiana near her mother, Karen Perkins.

The Beck children are currently living with Priscilla’s mother, Karen Perkins in Indiana. In September, the court agreed that the children should remain in custody of Perkins until Joshua Beck’s charges are determined by the court

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