Judge Joseph Hettel is sadly another judge in the news for allegedly failing to live up to the standards of his office. Judge Hettel was the former State’s Attorney of La Salle County was arrested Monday for driving under the influence of alcohol.
A La Salle County judge was charged Monday night with driving under the influence after reportedly striking a parked car. There were no injuries.
Circuit Judge Joseph P. Hettel, 46, of Ottawa was charged with DUI, improper lane use, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and using a handheld communication device while driving at 10:44 p.m. Monday in the 1800 block of La Salle Street, Ottawa police said in a report issued this morning.
Hettel, reached this morning at his home, declined comment but said he anticipated releasing a statement some time Wednesday.
Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr., who heads the judicial circuit that includes La Salle County, was not available before press time today. The chief judge’s office said this morning they were aware of the pending charges but were still gathering information and had no immediate comment.
The current La Salle County State’s Attorney indicates that he will likely seek to have a Special Prosecutor appointed due to Hettel’s association with his office. It is probable that a Judge from another county will be assigned to hear the case as well, to avoid any conflicts of interest or appearance of impropriety.