The judge in the case of Carly Rousso, accused of “huffing” fumes before a fatal accident, is now considering arguments that the DUI statute is unconstitutionally vague.
From the Chicago Tribune:
Lawyers debated the intoxicating effects of various substances this morning during a hearing for Carly Rousso, the Highland Park woman charged with “huffing” a computer cleaning product before the vehicle she was driving struck and killed a 5-year-old girl.
Prosecutor Michael Ori said that he had coffee this morning, but didn’t seek to intoxicate himself. Lake County Circuit Court Judge James Booras noted that he drinks coffee to become more alert.
The discussion followed a motion by defense attorney Douglas Zeit questioning the constitutionality of the aggravated DUI charges against Rousso. The cleaning product police say she inhaled contains difluoroethane, which is not spelled out as an intoxicating substance in the law.
“This statute is implicitly vague,” Zeit said. “No person of ordinary intelligence could understand the catchall phrase used in the statute.”
Ori said it is meant to be interpreted in the context of driving under the influence, and that it would not be possible to list every substance that induces a high.
Judge Booras said that, theoretically, one could be charged for ingesting “thin air.”
“The substance the defendant ingested impaired her,” Ori said. “She intended to impair herself … the defense is trying to gain leverage where there is no leverage to be had.”
“These are profound constitutional issues,” said Booras, who did not rule this morning, asking the defense and prosecution time to file briefs on the issue.
I will update as soon as the judge makes his ruling.