Former Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica spent a little more than an hour in a holding cell at the Bridgeview courthouse this morning after showing up late for court in his misdemeanor criminal damage to property case.

Peraica’s case was scheduled for 9 a.m. but Peraica thought it was scheduled for 10:30. When he walked into Courtroom 207 he was taken into custody by the order of Judge Kerry Kennedy. Peraica’s lawyer, Sam Amirante, was even later than Peraica, because he had morning court appearance in Rolling Meadows. He, too, thought the case was scheduled for later in the morning.

Shortly before noon, after all the other morning cases on the court call were disposed of, Peraica came out of the holding cell to appear before an angry Judge Kennedy.

Peraica and his lawyer both apologized for being late and noted that the case had been set at various times in the morning in the 11 months since Peraica was charged with stealing and damaging a political opponent’s campaign signs.

“I thought he was supposed to be here at 10:30,” Amirante told Judge Kennedy. “He got here at 10:35. I apologize to the court.”

Peraica, a lawyer, also briefly apologized. A Cook County Sherriff’s deputy stood behind Peraica during the five minute or so court appearance as is customary when prisoners are in court.

But Kennedy wasn’t in the mood to listen to apologies.

“You of all people should know that 9 a.m. is 9 a.m.,” Kennedy told Peraica. “I cannot give you special treatment. I won’t give you special treatment. I don’t take joy in taking people into custody.”

After the brief appearance before Judge Kennedy, Peraica was free to go.

The weekend before the November 2010 election, Peraica was arrested by McCook police and charged with taking and damaging campaign signs for McCook Mayor Jeff Tobolski, Peraica’s opponent in last year’s race for the 16th District Cook County Board seat. Tobolski won the election

On Tuesday, Amirante did not want Peraica to speak with two reporters outside the courtroom.

Amirante, who told Judge Kennedy that he was defending Peraica pro bono, said that Peraica was handcuffed when he was arrested and was held in a holding area with other prisoners.

The case was continued until Dec. 21 at 9 a.m. because Amirante, a retired judge who defended mass murderer John Wayne Gacy and has a new book out about the Gacy trial, has re-filed a motion to suppress evidence against Peraica that was previously denied.

“Remember Mr. Peraica, 9 o’clock,” Judge Kennedy said.