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Ill. inmate gets married during hearing

Aug. 20, 2011 at 12:23 PM

WHEATON, Ill., Aug. 20 (UPI) -- An Illinois lawyer says acting as go-between at the wedding of an accused drug dealer and his pregnant girlfriend was a first for him.

Attorney Robert Duffy did the honors by placing the ring on Jessica Ortiz's finger because his client, Tharvin Benitez, wasn't allowed to touch his bride due to courtroom regulations.

"In 40 years of practice, that's never occurred before," Duffy told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The handcuffed Benitez and Ortiz became man and wife in a quickie ceremony Friday in the Wheaton courtroom of DuPage County Judge Blanche Farwell, who is also presiding over Benitez's case on felony drug charges.

Benitez, who was busted in May, faces 30 years and deportation if convicted, was in court to answer the charges. He expressed his desire to legally marry Ortiz before their child is born, which the newspaper said appeared imminent.

"It's going to be a while before they take their honeymoon," Duffy said. "But love springs eternal."

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