Kansas City Chiefs Cornerback Sean Smith charged with DUI after wreck

seansmithYou would think that if someone earns six million dollars a year, he could afford to spend twenty bucks for a taxi.  Apparently this is not the case in the NFL.

From KCTV5.com:

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith is in trouble with the law after an incident that happened in the wee hours of the morning Monday.

Kansas City police say they were patrolling the area of 10th Street and Grand Boulevard about 12:30 a.m. Monday when they saw a driver try to turn left at 12th Street and Grand Boulevard and lose control.

Their report said the driver lost control and struck a light post at the intersection.

The driver, later identified as Smith, appeared confused and began mumbling statements that the officer did not understand. The police report said that the officer asked Smith if he needed medical attention, but he said he did not want to be seen by EMS.

Smith was arrested and taken to police headquarters where he was booked on three citations: operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or more, driving a vehicle in a careless manner by attempting to make a left turn at an intersection and failing to slow down, causing the vehicle to run into a light pole, and no insurance.

Police said Smith’s vehicle had major front end and undercarriage damage. The light pole was hit with such force that it was broken and found on the sidewalk.

Des Plaines Police Commander pleads guilty to falsifying DUI stats to get grant money

From the Chicago Tribune:

A former Des Plaines police commander accused of padding DUI arrest records to obtain federal grant money for the police department plead guilty to a lesser charge in federal court today.

Timothy Veit, 57, faces a maximum sentence of up to one year in prison after entering a guilty plea to a misdemeanor of violating Title 18 of the U.S. Code involving embezzlement and theft of public money.

The Mount Prospect resident initially was charged with one felony count of making false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine…

From 2009 to 2012, Veit falsely inflated DUI arrest numbers by 122, and provided false blood-alcohol content levels for those arrests, according to the written plea agreement.

“(Veit) did so with the understanding that the true number of DUI arrests would not meet the performance objectives of the STEP enforcement campaigns and, if the number of arrests were not inflated, Des Plaines would not have qualified for STEP grants,” authorities said in the plea agreement.

His actions caused the northwest suburban police department to receive nearly $184,000 in Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program grants funded by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and administered by the state Department of Transportation, federal authorities said.

I’ve written about this before.  I am not convinced that this will be the end of the investigation.

Carly Rousso’s attorney will seek probation for his client. Will she get it?

According to news reports, Carly Rousso’s attorney will seek probation for his client.

Under Illinois law, a person who is found guilty of an aggravated DUI resulting in the death of one person shall receive anywhere from three to fourteen years “unless the court determines that extraordinary circumstances exist and require probation” 625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(2)(G).

What “extraordinary circumstances” would require probation?  The statute does not give us an answer, and the few court opinions dealing with the issue have not helped to clarify.  If anything, the courts indicate that the wording of the statute was designed to indicate that while prison is the legislature’s the preferred outcome in a DUI causing a death, it wanted to give judges the discretion to be lenient when the interests of justice so demanded.  See, People v. Winningham and People v. Vasquez.  A good hypothetical example might be when the drunk driver was seriously injured as a result of the collision, or the victim was a close relation or the victim’s family was in favor of probation.

Obviously, Douglas Zeit, Rousso’s attorney, was hoping to avoid having to deal with this issue when he tried in vain to have his client plead guilty to reckless homicide in return for the State’s Attorney agreeing to dismiss the aggravated DUI charge.  When that didn’t happen, Rousso still plead guilty to reckless homicide, which is probationable, but went to trial on the aggravated DUI case.  The defense hinged on the issue of whether the cleaning fumes that Ms. Rousso was “huffing” prior to the fatal accident was a substance that was a substance that was covered by Illinois’ DUI statutes.  Although they lost on this issue, Judge Booras indicated that he felt that it was quite possible that there might be a different result on appeal.

Will Mr. Zeit be able to convice Judge Booras that Rousso’s case involves extraordinary circumstances sufficient to support probation?  I would assume that Mr. Zeit will argue that Rousso’s lack of any other arrest, her youth, her subsequent substance abuse treatment, her successful period of a year and a half of pre-trial services (which almost certainly has required weekly urinalysis), her regret for this incident and the settlement of victim’s family’s wrongful death claim are all “extra-ordinary circumstances.”  Possibly Mr. Zeit will also argue that the law was vague about the “huffing” chemicals, and that the conviction may be overturned on appeal.

Personally, I feel that these factors are not extra-ordinary enough to result in probation, even if they are mitigating factors that may help Rousso get a sentence closer to three years as opposed to fourteen.  My best guess is a sentence somewhere in the range of four to seven years, although I would not be surprised if she received as much as ten years.

However, Judge Booras’ decision to allow Rousso to remain on bond pending sentencing, along with his comments indicating that he felt that Zeit had made a strong argument as to whether the huffing chemicals fell under the DUI statute, make me wonder whether the Judge is leaning towards probation.

That is the way it is with legal proceedings.  Even experienced litigators can only make an educated guess about what will happen in court. That is why so many cases are resolved through a settlement or plea negotiation — so that the parties can avoid the uncertainty that occurs when you are waiting for a judge or jury to decide.