In the past few days, I have had three DUI cases that resulted in either a not guilty or a summary suspension rescinded for lack of reasonable grounds to arrest.
One in Chicago, one in Skokie and the third in Bridgeview.
All three cases involved State Troopers.
I should point out that State Police cases are often the hardest cases to beat because the Troopers are better trained, have better equipment (like Portable Breath Tests and dash cam videos) and they make better witnesses than your average local cop. They even look better — they stay in shape and I don’t think I have ever seen a State Trooper with an unpressed shirt or unshined shoes.
In all three cases there were squad car videos.
This last fact made all the difference.
Did I do a nice cross-examination of the Troopers? Sure. But then again, the State’s Attorney’s did nice direct examinations of the Troopers too. All three State’s Attorneys did as well as they possibly could have.
And the judges were not novices — they probably had over 80 years combined legal experience.
But ultimately, what swayed the three judges was the fact that the defendants in the videos didn’t look intoxicated. Not at all. No swaying, no stumbling, no confusion, no crying, no anger, no slurred speech. All three submitted to field sobriety testing and looked perfectly normal, even though the Troopers claimed that they failed.
When I get that type of video, I start to look like Clarence Darrow.
Without the video, I might have still have won all three cases, but who knows? The videos sure helped.
I should point out that videos do not always help the defense. This week, I also obtained a couple of arrest videos that will lead me to strongly suggest to my clients that they should consider pursuing a plea bargain.
So, again, I want to thank the Illinois Supreme Court for their recent ruling that arrest videos are now required to be turned over to the defense, even in misdemeanor cases.