Kane County to hold “No Refusal” DUI Enforcement Wednesday Nov. 27

From the Daily Herald:

Kane County prosecutors will work with police to hold a No Refusal DUI event on Nov. 27, also known as “Black Wednesday” and one of the biggest party days of the year.

State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said this will be the sixth patrol held the day before Thanksgiving. The goal is not to make arrests, he said, but to encourage people to take alternative transportation if out celebrating…

A No Refusal is different from a roadside safety checkpoint at which police pull over selected vehicles to look for equipment and insurance violations or impaired drivers.

In No Refusal, prosecutors fan out across the county to work with police departments to prepare a search warrant for drivers arrested on charges of DUI who refuse to take a breath or chemical test.

The search warrant is taken to a judge for approval for a phlebotomist to take a blood sample. If the arrestee still refuses, a sample can be forcibly taken or the motorist charged with felony obstruction of justice, which is more severe that the DUI charge.

Courts to be closed due to sub-zero weather

Cook County has announced that courts will be closed Wednesday, January 30, 2019 and Thursday, January 31, 2019 due to expected sub-zero degree temperatures.  The only exception will be bond court at 26th Street and 555 W. Harrison.

This link will take you to Chief Judge Timothy Evans’ order, which includes information concerning rescheduled court dates.

Other courts have officially announced that they will be closed Wednesday, including the Federal Court in Chicago and state courts in DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties.  You can find information about court closures here:  http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/

 

Kane County will have a “no-refusal” Black Wednesday

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From the Daily Herald:

Kane County will hold another “No Refusal” anti-drunk driving event Wednesday night, commonly referred to as “Black Wednesday.”

State’s Attorney Joe McMahon announced the event well in advance so people can arrange safe transportation if they are going to be out on what is considered by many as the biggest party night of the year.

“The night before Thanksgiving is a day we have selected a number of times,” McMahon said. “That tends to be a night where there is a lot of drinking and driving, unfortunately.”

During a “No Refusal” night, a judge and phlebotomist are on call as officers patrol for intoxicated drivers. If a person arrested on drunken driving charges refuses a breath or chemical test, police work with a prosecutor and ask a judge for a search warrant to get a chemical test.

Expediting the process can help authorities get a blood-alcohol concentration result before a driver sobers up. If a driver refuses, the sample may be taken by force and the driver could be charged with felony obstruction of justice.

Kane County to end Electronic Home Monitoring

Oddly enough, at the same time that Cook County has been embracing Electronic Home Monitoring as a way to reduce its jail population, Kane County is taking the opposite tack.

From the Daily Herald:

Kane County has begun dismantling its electronic monitoring program that keeps tabs on criminal defendants who are not in jail, after the county board this week preliminarily approved a 2018 budget that cut all funding for the program.

Judges in the felony courtrooms Friday were telling defendants the electronic monitoring is no longer available, even though the new fiscal year doesn’t begin until Dec. 1.

Chief Judge Susan Clancy Boles told the board’s judicial and public safety committee Thursday that Court Services is also notifying all program participants, by mail, that they will have a hearing in the next 30 to 45 days to review the conditions of their bonds. Their monitoring devices will be removed at those hearings, she said. By Jan. 1, Court Services hopes to have collected all the monitors and shipped them back to the company that does the monitoring.

Sheriff Don Kramer told the committee he expects as many as 30 of the people could end up being jailed. That would put the jail over capacity, and he would likely have to board inmates at other counties’ jails.

…There are 102 people on electronic home monitoring and 75 on GPS. Of the total, 97 are in the community, and the rest are in jail because they haven’t posted the bond also required in their cases.

Read the entire story here:  http://www.dailyherald.com/news/20171013/kane-county-courts-start-dismantling-electronic-monitoring

Arrest of Kane County prosecutor for DUI shows that DUIs can happen to anyone

Often when people come to consult with me about a DUI arrest, they tell me that it is not representative of the type of person that they are.  Many of my clients are highly accomplished people.  I have represented lawyers, doctors, nurses, police officers, sheriffs and many successful business people.

So it doesn’t come as a surprise to see a Kane County State’s Attorney get arrested for DUI.  In fact, just a few years ago a prominent DuPage County prosecutor lost her life while driving intoxicated.

I post this not to embarrass the prosecutor, but to emphasize how common and universal DUIs are.  While there are certainly some defendants who fit the stereotype of an alcoholic whose life has become unmanageable, most DUIs are committed by first offenders who otherwise live productive lives.

From the Daily Herald (story by Susan Sarkauskas):

A Kane County assistant state’s attorney — recently praised as part of a team that handled a murder trial — has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, according to DuPage County court records.

Kathleen Doyen, 30, was arrested at 12:34 a.m. Aug. 15 in the 600 block of North Avenue (Route 64) by Carol Stream police.

According to court documents, she was charged with DUI; DUI with .08 percent or higher blood-alcohol level; improper lane use; and speeding.

Carol Stream police say she was driving 67 mph in a 45 mph zone and weaving between lanes. She failed an on-the-scene preliminary blood-alcohol test and two field sobriety tests, police said.

At 2:28 a.m. she submitted to a Breathalyzer test, and the blood alcohol content was .165 percent. According to police, Doyen said she had consumed two to three beers and “possibly some mixed drinks” at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.

Her driver’s license will be placed on a summary suspension for six months, according to a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office.

Court documents indicated she lived in Chicago, but her driver’s license lists an address near Elgin.

She is due to appear for arraignment at 9 a.m. Sept. 14 at the DuPage County courthouse in Wheaton.

She has worked for Kane County since 2011 and is in the criminal division, according to the state’s attorney’s office. When asked about her status, State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said, “This is a personnel matter,” and he would not comment further.

Doyen was one of three prosecutors McMahon publicly praised for their work earlier this year in the Shadwick King murder trial. The Geneva man was convicted of murdering his wife in 2014.

• Daily Herald staff writer Justin Kmitch contributed to this story.

Update on post about S. Elgin Cop who referred defendant to his softball pal

This is a brief update last week’s post about a South Elgin police officer who allegedly tried to steer a DUI arrestee away from his family’s attorney and towards another attorney that the Officer socializes with.

Since then, I have learned a few more facts about the case, so here they are:

  1. The Motion to Vacate the plea was timely filed within 30 days.  The delay in obtaining a ruling was the result of various issues, including an investigation into the facts, health issues for someone involved and the need for the defendant to obtain a new attorney because his previous attorney was expected to be a witness at the hearing.
  2. The Motion to Vacate was denied because the judge did not believe that a reasonable person would not be so nervous as to order his attorney to plead guilty without first reviewing discovery for potential defenses, as defendant claimed.
  3. The arresting officer in this case had made over 85% of South Elgin’s DUI arrests over an 11 month period.  It is still undetermined how many of this officer’s arrests hired his softball buddy as their defense attorney, or whether any of them received any special plea deals or other considerations.
  4. The news media is looking into this situation and there may be more details forthcoming.

South Elgin Cop refers his softball lawyer buddy to Defendant

*Updated in a separate blog post, click here to read the update.

The Daily Herald reported on an interesting situation from Kane County:  a 22 year old man, Travis Eubanks, was arrested for DUI last year by a South Elgin police officer, Bryan Kmieciak.  When Eubanks’ mother arrived at the station, the officer allegedly gave her a pen imprinted with the name and information of attorney Todd Cohen.  The officer told her that he recommended Cohen.  When the mother stated that the family usually used another attorney, Garrett Malcolm, the officer tried to dissuade her, claiming that Malcolm was “rude and unprofessional.”

Eubanks claims that when he went to meet Cohen, the attorney said that he was good buddies with Officer Kmieciak, and that they played on the same softball team.  Eubanks felt uncomfortable and retained Malcolm anyway.  On his first court date, Eubanks was very nervous and was afraid of retribution for hiring the “wrong” attorney, so he decided to accept a plea deal (which included a requirement that he wear a SCRAM bracelet for 100 days) in return for a rescission of his license suspension.  Malcolm had not read the police reports or seen the arrest DVD before Eubanks entered into this agreement.

Eubanks filed a motion to vacate the plea.  *The story did not state when the motion was filed, but since the plea was entered in October of last year, it is very likely that it was filed after the 30 day period to file such a motion.  After 30 days, a person must file a Petition to Vacate Judgment pursuant to 735 ILCS Section 2-1401.  “To be entitled to relief under section 2-1401, a petitioner must set forth allegations supporting: (1) the existence of a meritorious claim or defense; (2) due diligence in presenting the claim or defense to the circuit court in the original action; and (3) due diligence in filing the section 2-1401 petition for relief.”  People v. Coleman, 206 Ill.2d 261, 288-89. (2002).

According to the Herald, the judge denied the motion to vacate, so the plea stands.  The judge’s reasons were not fully reported, *but it would appear that Eubanks lacked a meritorious defense (he was twice the legal limit to drive) and was not diligent in moving to vacate his plea.  (Again, this is all guesswork on my part since I have not reviewed the court file or read the transcripts of the hearing).

What could Eubanks have done differently?  He could have reported Kmieciak’s actions to the police department, or state’s attorney, for investigation.   Kmieciak’s actions, if true, violated the South Elgin Police Department’s policies. Instead, he kept quiet, accepted a deal that was beneficial to him (his six month license suspension was recscinded even though he blew over twice the legal limit) and then attempted to get a do-over well after the fact.

Still, as one of the commenters to the the Daily Herald story asks, there are other questions that the public deserves to know.  How many times has Cohen represented defendants retained by Kmieciak?  Is there some sort of deal between the two?  Have these defendants obtained any unusual breaks when they have hired Cohen?  Has this officer told other people to stay away from Malcolm?

What do you think?