New DUI forfeiture opinion upholds forfeiture of Wife’s Harley driven by Husband

The Illinois Supreme Court has reversed an Appellate Court ruling that I previously discussed on this blog.

In the case, a husband and wife went drinking.  The husband’s license had already been suspended for drunk driving.  The wife claimed that she had been the driver of the motorcycle, but when the left the bar to go home, her husband, who had a key fob, got on their Harley Davidson first and refused to relinquish control.  He was later arrested with DUI with a BAC of twice the legal limit, and the vehicle was forfeited.

The Appellate Court held that the forfeiture was unconstitutional, considering that the wife had paid $35,000 for the bike and that she was not the one violating the law.

On further appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, the Court noted that the actual value of the vehicle at the time of the forfeiture had not been proven during the forfeiture hearing, only the cost of purchase four years earlier.  It also held that the wife bore some degree of culpability for this occurrence, because she knowing consented to her husband driving even though she knew that his license was suspended and that he was intoxicated.

Read the Opinion here:  The People of the State of Illinois ex rel Matthew Hartrich v. 2010 Harley Davidson, 2018 IL 121636 (February 16, 2018).

I was interviewed for the IL Supreme Court’s 2Civility Project

The Illinois Supreme Court’s 2Civility Project has a mission of “To promote a culture of civility and inclusion, in which Illinois lawyers and judges embody the ideals of the legal profession in service to the administration of justice in our democratic society.”

Each month, they have been interviewing attorneys who exemplify professionalism and civility.

I am the subject of this month’s 2Civility lawyer spotlight.  I guess that means I’ve behaved myself.

You can read the interview here:

Illinois Supreme Court makes cameras in court rule permanent

From the Chicago Tribune (via the Associated Press):

The Illinois Supreme Court has deemed a four-year pilot program allowing media coverage at certain trials a success and is making the policy permanent.

A spokeswoman for the state’s highest court said Monday the rollout of the program has gone so well that justices decided to end the experimental phase.

Bethany Krajelis said nine of the 24 judicial districts in Illinois that haven’t applied for the cameras-in-court program won’t be forced to join. And strict criteria will remain for when and under what conditions cameras and audio are allowed.

Some observers worried cameras could be disruptive and undermine defendants’ rights. But Krajelis says there have been no such “red flags.”

She says cameras have been permitted in dozens of cases across the state, including in Chicago.

One State’s Attorney disbarred, another suspended, in separate matters

On March 15th, the Illinois Supreme Court entered orders disbarring six attorneys and suspending eleven.  Two of them caught my eye because they were State’s Attorney, one an Assistant State’s Attorney from Lake County, whom I have blogged about before, and the other was the acting State’s Attorney of Union County downstate.

From the Illinois Bar Association Illinois Lawyer Now website:

  • Aaron Ray Isaacson, Arlington Heights

Mr. Isaacson, who was licensed in Illinois in 2008, was disbarred. While serving as an Assistant Lake County State’s Attorney, he engaged in a conspiracy with his roommate and others to possess marijuana and drug paraphernalia. He also obstructed justice by lying to police concerning his knowledge and involvement in his roommate’s drug dealing after his roommate was arrested.

I wrote about Mr. Isaacson before, in this post “Not exactly ‘The Odd Couple’ – the prosecutor and the drug dealer.”


  • Allen W. James, Anna

Mr. James, who was licensed in Illinois in 1997, was suspended for four months. He committed aggravated assault on a process server who was attempting to serve him with a summons in a lawsuit. Mr. James, who was serving as the State’s Attorney of Union County, was named as a defendant in the lawsuit. The suspension is effective on April 5, 2013.