Lamar Odom, new Hawks coach each get DUIs this week

There are two new high profile NBA DUIs in the news:

According to TMZ, Lamar Odom was stopped by the California Highway Patrol after driving slowly and in a serpentine manner.  He is alleged to have failed field sobriety tests and acted in a manner consistent with being impaired by both alcohol and drugs.  He is said to have refused all blood, breath or urine tests.

ESPN reports that new Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer was pulled over after driving without working tail lights.  According to the police report, he had a strong odor of alcohol, bloodshot and watery eyes and mumbled speech.  He agreed to perform a field test but refused a breath test.  He admitted drinking a glass of wine earlier, but denied being under the influence of alcohol.

Should all school buses have interlock devices installed?

There has been a push in New York to have all school buses fitted with alcohol ignition interlock devices to prevent any bus from being driven by an intoxicated driver.

Many parents are all for this legislation, especially after several incidents of drunk school bus drivers.

The drivers are not happy.  According to this story, “bus drivers’ unions call the mandates discriminatory. ‘Having my drivers have to go through a process that’s only reserved for people that have been convicted of a crime,’ Paul Mori of the New York School Bus Contractors Association.”

In Illinois, any bus driver who commits a DUI in a school bus transporting persons under the age of 18 is guilty of a Class 4 felony.  Also, if a person has a school bus driver’s permit and gets a DUI or reckless driving in a personal vehicle will have his or her bus permit disqualified for three years.

This is an example of competing values in conflict — on the one hand, extra precaution and safety for our children and on the other, a willingness to make the insulting presumption that school bus drivers have a high likelihood of coming to work drunk and that they do not care about the well-being of the children they transport, plus the public not giving much weight to the inconvenience of making bus drivers provide breath samples every time they start their vehicles and every time the device calls for a “rolling re-test.”

What do you think?

More proof that the “War on Drugs” has gone too far

So you are pulled over for a traffic violation, and the police find a small amount of marijuana in your car.

Of course, being forcibly injected with a muscle relaxer, then intubated with a breathing tube and having the police probe your buttocks is just what you expected to happen next.

Oh you didn’t?  What country do you live in?

From RT.com:

Police violated a suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights when, in an attempt to find drugs on his person, they temporarily paralyzed him and administered an anal probe, a US federal court has ruled.

Felix Booker and his brother were driving through Oak Ridge, Tennessee in February 2010 when police stopped their vehicle. Smelling marijuana, police brought a K-9 unit to the scene, which alerted them to drugs in the car. Even though police are only authorized to give a ticket when finding less than 14 grams of marijuana, officers arrested Booker after finding .06 grams in his car.
The suspect was booked for felony possession of marijuana and strip-searched at the police station. At that point investigators noticed Booker was “fidgeting” and a doctor threatened to temporarily paralyze him if he did not consent to an anal probe.
Booker, who was handcuffed and naked except for a thin hospital apron, consented but doctors later testified that he still “clenched” during the invasive search. He was injected with a muscle relaxant with a tube forced down his throat to regulate his breathing.
Dr. Michael LaPaglia then found 10.2 grams of crack cocaine hidden in Booker’s rectum. The doctor estimated that Booker had been physically incapacitated for under ten minutes and strapped to a breathing machine for an hour. He was convicted of possession with intent to distribute and sentenced to five years in prison.
The US Court of appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in a 2-1 ruling Monday, overturned his conviction and said that police could not use the drugs obtained from inside Booker against him because the paralysis, intubation, and anal probe were in clear violation of Booker’s Fourth Amendment rights.
An attorney for the police said LaPaglia, not officers, was responsible for the cavity search. The court, not entirely disagreeing, said police frequently took suspects to LaPaglia when they suspected drugs were in an individual’s rectum and that they “effectively used Dr. LaPaglia as a tool to perform a search on Booker’s person.”
The judges, as quoted by Think Progress, said a medical procedure of this sort does not “immunize the procedures from Fourth Amendment scrutiny” and that such cooperation between police and the doctor “is one of the greatest dignitary intrusions that could flow from a medical procedure.”
In another recent incident of police testing the limit of “reasonable search and seizure,” two Texas state troopers were indicted earlier this year for sexual assault and oppression after they were recorded searching a woman’s anus and vagina when she threw a cigarette out of her car window.

New Law will require Police to video record interrogations in certain felony cases

Apparently, the Illinois legislature is concerned about wrongful convictions in cases besides murders.

Under a new law signed by Governor Quinn, police will have to record interrogations in eight violent felonies.  Police have been required to do this in homicide investigations for the past ten years.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Illinois police will have to record more interrogations of criminal suspects under legislation Gov. Pat Quinn signed Monday that aims to prevent false confessions and wrongful convictions.

The law expands on legislation passed in 2003 mandating the recording of homicide interrogations. The new requirements will take effect in phases over the next three years, and by June 2016, police will have to record interrogations of people suspected in any of eight violent felonies, including aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated battery with a gun and armed robbery…

A decade ago, Illinois was the first state to pass a law requiring recorded homicide interrogations, a fix enacted as the state dealt with faulty death penalty cases. Other states soon enacted more sweeping rules, and Illinois’ new law will make it the 17th state that — along with the District of Columbia — requires the recording of interrogations for crimes other than homicide, Sullivan said.

Illinois has carved out an unwanted reputation as a leader in wrongful convictions, with the bulk coming from Cook County and surrounding areas. Drury, a former federal prosecutor, represents part of Lake County, where four defendants have been exonerated by DNA since 2010. Three of those suspects confessed after long, aggressive interrogations that were not recorded.

Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim, who took over the office after those cases fell apart, said he supports the new law, though he said he would support an even broader bill that would call for the recording of all interrogations.

“I hope that’s where we’re headed. I think (that’s) where we should go,” he said.

Read the whole story here:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-ct-met-videotaped-interrogations-law-20130827,0,4894506.story

Cook County prosecutors to get fuller driving records beginning next month

Starting next month, a big change for a few drivers is coming to Cook County Traffic Court.

Prosecutors will be gaining access to defendant’s full driving records, from across the country.  Currently, they only have access to Illinois driving records, and in some courtrooms, only Cook County records.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Cook County judges overseeing Chicago and suburban traffic courts will now have access to driving records from across the country when they sentence offenders in hundreds of thousands of minor traffic cases.

Prosecutors, who are responsible for informing judges of a defendant’s criminal history, have long had access to national court records in DUI or other felony cases. But for speeding tickets, only Cook County records were available for the thousands of cases judges hear each day.

That made it more difficult to comply with a state law limiting a special type of probation called court supervision to no more than two per year per driver, officials said. That law was passed after a Naperville family’s son was killed in 2004 by a chronic speeder.

After two supervisions for speeding, a driver should receive a conviction for a third speeding offense in the same year. Licenses can be suspended for three speeding convictions in a year.

The Tribune reported in 2010 that nearly 8,000 illegal court supervisions were handed out by Cook County judges between 2007 and 2009. In one case, a driver received nine illegal supervisions over a two-year period.

Those illegal supervisions represented only about 1 percent of the total number of cases, but officials have said they wanted to close the gaps.

“This should help address that,” said city prosecutor Lynda Peters, who supervises Chicago’s traffic court prosecutors.

What seemed like a relatively straightforward fix required cooperation from the Illinois secretary of state, the Cook County clerk and the county judiciary, she said. The biggest hurdle was getting the computer systems used by the secretary of state and clerk’s office to communicate with one another.

Peters said she began meeting with Chief Judge Timothy Evans in 2012 to discuss the legal and technological hurdles in making more complete driving records electronically available to prosecutors.

Under the new process, which is scheduled to begin next month, the county clerk’s office will electronically transmit the names and driver’s license numbers for all the minor traffic cases to the secretary of state’s office, which will run the information through a national database.

Prosecutors will then have the information available to present to the judge when the defendant appears in court. Peters said there are so many cases that there was no way for prosecutors to manually search each defendant’s record in the broader database.

“This is a tremendous leap forward in (judges’) ability to help keep the public safe by keeping dangerous drivers off the road,” Evans said Friday in a statement.

Illinois makes dropping a cigarette butt on the ground a misdemeanor

I am not a fan of littering, and I really hate when I stumble across a pile of butts and ashes in a parking lot, but this is just ridiculous.

Come next January 1, the Illinois Litter Control Act will include cigarettes in the types of material that, if improperly disposed, would constitute littering.  Littering is a class B misdemeanor (punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500).  So you can become a criminal if you toss a butt to the curb.  Yikes!  Here is the text of the amended statute.

Proposed rules for drivers licenses for undocumented persons announced

The Secretary of State has proposed rules for “temporary visitor drivers licenses” (TVDL).  They seem very cumbersome and I don’t know if many people will be able or willing to go through all this for a license.

From The Flinn Report:

The SECRETARY OF STATE proposed amendments to “Issuance of Licenses” (92 Ill. Adm. Code 1030; 37 Ill Reg 13339) implementing Public Act 97-1157 that provides for temporary visitor driver’s licenses (TVDL) and in-struction permits to be issued to un-documented immigrants…To apply for a TVDL, an un-documented immigrant must make an appointment at a designated SOS facility and present a valid passport or unexpired consular identification document from his or her country of origin (rather than the U.S.-government-issued photo identification required of legal immigrants). Applicants also must submit acceptable documents verifying their written signature, name and date of birth, current Illinois residence address, and Illinois residency of more than 1 year. Examples of acceptable and unacceptable documents are listed. A verification of residency for and a letter from the Social Security Administration verifying the applicant’s ineligibility for a Social Security number are also required. All TVDLs must include the license holder’s picture and will be mailed to the applicant directly from SOS instead of being issued at driver’s services facilities.  Applicants for TVDLs or temporary visitor’s instruction permits are subject to the same testing requirements as other driver’s license or permit applicants. Unmarried applicants underage 18 are subject to general requirements for parental consent, instructional permits and behind-the-wheel instruction prior to receiving a license.  Male TVDL applicants ages 18-25 are not exempt from the general requirement of registration with the Selective Service system. TVDLs expire 3 years from the date of issuance (sooner for applicants age 81 and older) and are not renewable; upon expiration, TVDL holders must reapply for new licenses and submit all necessary documents again. Those affected by this rulemaking include undocumented immigrants seeking driver’s licenses
and businesses who employ them in duties that involve driving.
Questions/requests for copies/comments through 9/30/13: Brenda Glahn, SOS, 298 Howlett Building, Springfield
IL 62756, e-mail:TVDLrules@ilsos.net
Thanks to Springfield attorney Theodore Harvatin for providing this link.

IL raises top speed limit to 70 mph, but will it apply to Chicagoland?

There seems to be some debate about a law (signed earlier this week by Governor Quinn) which raised the maximum speed limit to 70 mph.  The Governor says that the law only applies to rural areas, its sponsor, Rep. Oberweis, says it will apply to highways throughout the state.

My guess:  don’t expect to drive (legally) at 70 mph in the Chicago area anytime soon.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

BY DAVE MCKINNEY

Springfield Bureau Chief

Last Modified: Aug 20, 2013 11:18PM

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois raised its speed limit Monday on its vast interstate and tollway highway system to 70 mph.

But don’t go flooring it just yet until the politicians that put this new law on the books figure out whether higher speeds were really meant for the Dan Ryan, the Stevenson, the Tri-State and urban super-highways like them – or just the ones cutting through the state’s corn and soybean fields Downstate.

Gov. Pat Quinn, who defied the advice of members of his own cabinet, signed the higher speed-limit legislation into law Monday but insisted the move from 65 mph to 70 mph will affect only rural interstates when it goes into effect Jan. 1.

But one of the bill’s chief legislative architects was as equally certain in his interpretation that the legislation would hike speed limits by as much as 15 mph on the 55-mph routes that run through the heart of Chicago, the densely-populated collar counties and the Metro East area near St. Louis – unless county boards in those areas opt out of the higher speed limits.

The back-and-forth set off confusion involving one of the state’s pre-eminent traffic-safety groups and officials in the collar counties, who seemed perplexed at being given any role in the discussion over higher speed limits.

“The governor’s press release misstated the facts,” said state Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove), the bill’s chief Senate sponsor, who insisted it was his intent for the higher speed limit to apply to even clogged arteries in Chicago and suburbia.

“The bill moves the speed limit to 70 mph for all interstates and tollways in Illinois,” Oberweis said, with an aide to Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) backing up Oberweis’ interpretation.

But late Monday, a Quinn aide insisted Oberweis was wrong in how he was reading his own legislation.

“The law is the law is the law,” Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said.

The dispute between the governor’s office and Oberweis revolved around a key phrase permitting the higher speed limit “outside an urban district” and new power given to Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties to opt out of the higher speed limits.

But that opt-out language had officials in some of those counties befuddled about how the law even applied to them since they seemed to lack rural stretches of interstate – or, for that matter, any roads with 65-mph speed limits — and have never had authority to set speed limits on expressways or tollways.

“Our interpretation is that this law does not impact our county highway system — 55 remains the maximum speed limit along the county’s roadways,” said Johnna Kelly, a spokeswoman for the DuPage County Board.

“The county doesn’t have jurisdiction over the tollway and IDOT roads,” she said.

A top Will County official echoed those sentiments.

“I think there’s a little confusion,” said Anastasia Tuskey, a spokeswoman for Will County Executive Lawrence M. Walsh. “Our county highway director said we can’t regulate any state highway speeds.”

You can read the whole story at http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/22032176-418/gov-quinn-gives-green-light-to-70-mph-speed-limit-on-highways-outside-of-cook.html

Gov signs cell phone while driving ban, goes into effect Jan 1

From the Chicago Tribune:

Illinois drivers will have to peel the cell phones away from their ears under legislation Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law Friday that bans the use of hand-held devices behind the wheel.

Motorists could still gab and drive if they use hands-free technology to conduct their conversations. Otherwise they’ll need to pull off the road to make a call or face fines starting at $75.  The law takes effect Jan. 1.

“Too many Illinois families have suffered because of accidents that could have been prevented,” Quinn said in a statement. “Anyone driving a car should be careful, responsive and alert behind the wheel.”

Quinn’s signature means Illinois will join the ranks of about a dozen other states with similar restrictions and will allow drivers to operate under a uniform ban instead of a confusing patchwork of local laws that vary from town to town. Illinois already prohibits texting while driving.

Violators will be fined $75 for a first offense, but could pay as much as $150 for repeat offenses as well as face a moving violation on their driving record. Three moving violations within a year could lead to a driver’s license being suspended.

Drivers still could legally make calls on hand-held phones in the case of an emergency…

Meanwhile, Quinn also signed a measure into law that would increase penalties for drivers who injure or kills others in crashes caused by the use of a cell phone or other electronic device.

Distracted motorists who harm other drivers would face a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in fines up to $2,500 and less than a year of jail time. Drivers involved in fatal accidents could be charged with a Class 4 felony, which carries fines up to $25,000 and up to three years of jail time.  That measure also goes into effect Jan. 1.

Guess What? $350 won’t buy your way out of a DUI

A Naperville woman found out this week that $350 won’t buy your way out of a DUI.  But it can buy you a felony bribery case.

From the Daily Herald:

A Naperville woman offered $350 to a state police trooper in a failed attempt to avoid her second drunken-driving arrest since May, authorities said Wednesday.

Tareya Rhone, 38, of the 1600 block of Kiowa Drive, is accused of offering the bribe during a July 21 traffic stop on westbound I-88, according to an indictment handed up Tuesday in DuPage County.

Police said Rhone was stopped at 6:15 a.m. for driving 81 mph in a 55-mph zone near Oak Brook. At the time, she had a blood alcohol content of 0.201, more than twice the legal threshold of 0.08, according to court records.

During the traffic stop, Rhone offered $350 to a state trooper in exchange for letting her go, police said. The trooper refused the money and instead cited her for driving on a suspended license, speeding and improper lane use. Rhone also was charged with DUI and felony bribery.

State’s Attorney Bob Berlin, a 26-year prosecutor, said cases involving offers of police bribery are “extremely rare.”

“This may be the first case I recall where we’ve charged someone with bribing a police officer,” he said Wednesday. “I think the overwhelming majority of people who live in this county have a tremendous amount of respect for the police and would never even consider doing such a thing.”

Berlin said it was no surprise the officer “did the right thing.”

“I think 99.99 percent of police officers in this county would have done the same,” he said.

Court records show Rhone’s license was suspended in May after she was charged with misdemeanor DUI in Naperville. In that case, police said she was driving her 2013 Volkswagen at 57 mph in a 40-mph zone on Washington Street.

In the earlier arrest, police said Rhone refused a Breathalyzer but failed a field sobriety test and had other indicators of intoxication, including bloodshot eyes, an odor of alcohol and slurred speech. In both cases, she admitted drinking before getting behind the wheel, authorities said.

Rhone remained jailed on $50,000 bail and is scheduled for arraignment Monday in front of Judge George Bakalis.