Orthopedic Surgeon Gets 6 years for Aggravated DUI

malik

Here is an interesting news item:  an orthopedic surgeon, who according to the Chicago Tribune headline has had seven previous DUI citations (I’ll get back to that in a moment), received a sentence of six years in prison from a Rolling Meadows Judge after being found guilty last April.

This is what the Tribune said about his background:

According to court records and authorities, Malik pleaded guilty to DUI in DuPage County in 2002 and again in 2007. He was also cited for DUI in Cicero in 2004 and in Franklin Park in 2005; though in the Cicero case, the DUI was stricken from his record after a probationary period, and in Franklin Park the DUI charge was later dropped.

Authorities said he was also charged with DUI in Wisconsin in 2007.

Some of this didn’t make any sense to me, so I did a little sleuthing myself.  As far as I can tell, the doctor received court supervision in DuPage County for one DUI in 2002, had another in 2004 (Cicero) that may have been reduced to reckless driving, and was convicted of another in DuPage County in 2007.  I suspect that he was found not guilty of the one in Franklin Park.  I could not verify the Wisconsin case.

What that means is that this was the doctor’s sixth DUI arrest.  Of those, he was found guilty of three.  None of the previous Illinois cases were felonies (and from what I know about Wisconsin law, I doubt that the Wisconsin OWI was a felony either).

A fourth DUI in Illinois is a Class 2 Felony, and the sentencing range is anywhere from three to seven years.

So by getting six years, the doctor received a result at the high end of the sentencing range.  This is where his other arrests, even though they did not result in convictions, may have played a factor, as the Judge may have felt that the Doctor was a danger to the public.

Also, my sleuthing disclosed that the Doctor was found guilty after a jury trial.  This is all speculation, but my guess is that faced with a bad case and a minimum sentence of three years, the Doctor chose to take a gamble with a jury.  One problem with that strategy is that Rolling Meadow juries are not traditionally sympathetic to drunk drivers.  Perhaps he thought that they might be impressed by his medical degree, but I guess they weren’t.

Here are the facts of the case, according to the Tribune:

Malik, 64, of Oak Brook, was found guilty in April of aggravated DUI and criminal damage to property stemming from an arrest last July when authorities said he sideswiped a parked car with his Lincoln LS in Franklin Park and then drove onto a lawn in Schiller Park, where he struck a garage, two fences and some landscaping blocks, according to prosecutors and police records.

Here are the highlights of the sentencing, from the article:

The judge was apparently not persuaded to offer leniency to Malik by a several character witnesses who spoke on the doctor’s behalf, including another physician who is also in alcohol recovery, a lawyer and a retired DuPage County judge.

With credit for good behavior and for time served in jail and in treatment, Malik is likely to be released from prison in less than three years, officials said.

For more than three decades, Malik had affiliations with Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, as well as Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist LaGrange Memorial Hospital. Malik stopped seeing patients at those locations by 2014…

“It’s not as though the defendant has not been given a chance or two or three. But this is his seventh time,” Judge James Karahalios, noting that Malik’s salary at his last job at $520,000. “He could have hired a driver.”

Effective? Budweiser Super Bowl ad has Helen Mirren insulting drunk drivers

Budweiser has released a Super Bowl ad featuring British actress Helen Mirren, introducing herself as a “notoriously frank British lady,” insulting drunk drivers.  Then she holds up a frosty Bud and toasts her fellow Bud drinkers.

I don’t get it.

First of all, does Helen Mirren play with the drunk-driving, football watching demographic?  I think not.

Second of all, the insults don’t work.  Most people who drink while intoxicated don’t realize how drunk they are.  They think that they are good enough to make it home.  They don’t see themselves as “utterly useless, oxygen wasting, human form of pollution.”  They see themselves as hardworking parents, good citizens, church members.  Which they are, most of the time.

A much better pitch is to remind people how easy it is for a good person to get arrested, or much worse, seriously injure or kill themselves or someone else when they drink and drive.

What do you think?

How does AA stack up in comparison to therapy?

Pretty well, according to this article.

From the Washington Post Wonkblog:

A watershed in scientist’s views of the value of AA occurred in the 1990s with Project MATCH, the largest study of alcohol dependence treatment ever undertaken.   Two well-validated professionally-developed psychotherapies were evaluated head to head against “twelve-step facilitation counselling.”  This counselling approach adapted AA ideas and goals into a 3-month long psychotherapist-delivered outpatient treatment protocol and also strongly encouraged involvement in community-based AA groups.

AA skeptics were confident that by putting AA up against the best professional psychotherapies in a highly rigorous study, Project MATCH would prove beyond doubt that the 12-steps were mumbo jumbo.  The skeptics were humbled: Twelve-step facilitation was as effective as the best psychotherapies professionals had developed.

Here is the best part:  Alcoholics Anonymous is free, and there are meetings near you, at all hours of the day.  Here is a link to find a meeting in the Chicago area.

Bill to end lifetime license revocations advances through House Committee

The bill that would end the “lifetime license revocation” for anyone convicted of four DUIs has made it through a major hurdle — getting out of House Transportation Committee.

Elise Dismer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports on her blog:

SPRINGFIELD-Legislation giving Illinoisans with four DUI convictions another chance to get back on the road moved through a House committee Wednesday with backing from a prominent anti-drunk-driving organization.

By an 8-3 vote, the House Transportation: Vehicles & Safety Committee signed off on House Bill 4206, which would let four-time drunk-driving offenders apply for a restricted driving permit five years after their last offense—so long as they have logged three years of uninterrupted sobriety and a successful rehabilitation record.

“I believe in giving people a chance,” said Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, the bill’s chief House sponsor. “For someone who’s truly turned their life around, we ought to be giving them opportunities.”

Under existing state law, anyone with four or more drunk-driving convictions faces a lifetime revocation of their driving privileges…

Nekritz’s bill also drew support from a police officer from northwestern Illinois.

Lt. Donnie Pridemore, of the Fulton Police Department, testified in support of the bill, saying he’s seen people—including his own alcoholic brother—turn their lives around.

“For those who have proven they have numerous years of sobriety, who have become productive members of society, and who don’t pose a threat to themselves or other drivers out there, they do deserve a chance to have independence—to drive to work, to drive to meetings—and they’ve earned that privilege,” Pridemore said.

But Nekritz’s opportunity comes with conditions: Those who obtain a restricted driving permit under her legislation must also drive a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device, which would affirm their identity through video technology and prevent them from driving without initially passing a breathalyzer.

Nekritz’s bill bars anyone convicted of a DUI-related crash resulting in a fatality from applying for the permit.

Rita Kreslin, executive director of the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists, said she supported the legislation in light of the permit eligibility requirements listed in the bill. Her group did not testify Wednesday…

The Tribune looks into Illinois’ Drug Induced Homicide law

Last March I wrote about Illinois’ Drug Induced Homicide law, which makes it a Class X felony if someone gives another person a narcotic that causes death.  My problem was that the law, as written, is extremely overbroad and covers situations such as where a boyfriend and girlfriend share heroin, one dies, and the other gets 15 to 30 years in prison for surviving.

Now Christy Gutowski of the Chicago Tribune has written an lengthy piece about this law, which can be found here.  In it, she quotes me, which of course makes her brilliant.

So please take a look at it.

The article is timely as it is appearing a day after the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who apparently died of a heroin overdose.  It has been reported that Hoffman had a drug problem when he was younger, and had gone 23 years of being clean and sober until a relapse one or two years ago.  Even then, he went through treatment and cleaned up, only to relapse again.  Here was a man who had been clean and sober for over two decades, had the support of friends and family and the resources to get the best possible drug treatment, yet he could not stay away from heroin.  It is a horribly addicting drug.  So why should we prosecute the fellow junkie who shared the needle?  Isn’t he a victim too?

 

 

A Mother shares the story of her daughter who OD from heroin

moakIs there ever a good heroin story?  I don’t think so.

This is an excerpt from Gregory Pratt’s story in the Chicago Tribune.  Read the whole story by clicking the link.

By this time in September, Jackie Olson had hoped her daughter Kaitlyn Moak would be settling into her second year at Illinois State, weathering the usual ups and downs of college life away from home.

In the months before her death from a heroin overdose in June 2012, the New Lenox teen seemed full of plans, talking with friends and family about the year ahead.

But the 18-year-old former choir member at Providence Catholic High School became another casualty of heroin in the suburbs, dying of an overdose just weeks after graduating from the New Lenox school.

“A lot of people think it would never happen to them,” said Olson, who hopes her daughter’s story might help others avoid the drug. “But you’d be surprised who it happens to.”…

Up until the last months of her life, Moak seemed an unlikely victim of heroin’s ravages, said Olson, describing her daughter as a regular, “dorky” teen.

Providence choir director Stacy Eckert remembers Moak as a bright, hardworking student with a great sense of humor. And former classmate Cassidy Glenn recalls Moak volunteering to carry her books when she tore her ACL during a basketball game their junior year…

During the teen’s senior year, close friend Amy Gauger said she noticed changes. Moak began hanging with a new crowd and Gauger said she heard that Moak had tried hard drugs. When she confronted her, Moak said she had everything under control…

In New Lenox’s tight-knit group of young heroin users, Moak met and became friends with another user.

The friend, who asked not to be named, said that the two did not feel they had an addiction and even had “sober Sundays,” when they would play cards, visit the zoo or watch TV.

“I never saw it as a problem just because, at the time, we were not injecting it. We were snorting it. We were going to school during the week and only using on the weekends.

“Neither of us pawned anything,” the friend said, “like your typical addict.”

In the months before Moak’s death, Olson said she regularly drug tested her daughter and searched her belongings, but Moak kept turning up clean. The teen visited colleges and registered at Illinois State, Olson said, while showing up to school every morning and working her job at Subway…

On the night Moak returned home, she traveled to Chicago with a couple of friends and bought heroin, according to police records.

The group met up with a drug dealer off 95th and Halsted streets in Chicago, police said, where Moak paid $90 for some bags of what the teens called “good heroin.” Moak overdosed and died on June 22…

To this day, Olson still struggles with the grief of losing her child, who would have been 19 if she were alive. In the end, Olson said, she thinks her daughter was naive about the drug’s danger and didn’t understand what she was getting herself into.

“She just wanted to get high,” Olson said. “She never thought she would die.”