Lake County to Increase use of Alcohol Ankle Monitors in DUI cases

From the Libertyville Patch:

From the Lake County State Attorney’s Office: With nearly 1,800 DUI arrests in 2016 Lake County has the fourth highest rate of drunk driving in Illinois, and high-risk DUI offenders—those who repeatedly drive drunk or are most likely to cause a serious crash—account for up to a third of those arrests. Now, to improve public safety and reduce repeat offenses, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office has launched a new program that will monitor these high-risk offenders around the clock to ensure they aren’t drinking.

As a condition of bond, drunk driving offenders who cause a crash with serious injuries, those with multiple DUIs and those who are arrested with a high BAC will be required to stay sober and wear a high-tech anklet that monitors them for drinking 24/7. Post-conviction, these offenders can be sentenced to monitored sobriety for up to 180 days. The program is also set up to address other offenses, like domestic violence and assault, where alcohol played a contributing role.

The goal of the program is to reduce the number of offenders who are putting the community at risk by committing alcohol-involved crimes. Offenders are responsible for the costs of their monitoring, which allows them to maintain their employment and family commitments while ensuring they aren’t drinking and endangering the public.

According to Michael G. Nerheim, Lake County State’s Attorney, “When we separate these offenders from alcohol, we know they aren’t going to be out drinking and driving or committing other alcohol-involved crimes. We are targeting the root cause of these problems, saving taxpayers’ money and giving these offenders the chance to get sober and get their lives back on track.”

Known as SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring, or SCRAM CAM, the anklet automatically tests the wearer’s perspiration every 30 minutes for alcohol consumption. The technology has been used to monitor 620,000 high-risk DUI offenders around the country and more than 12,500 people in Illinois.

“Alcohol monitoring, especially when it’s part of a larger program of supervision and treatment, can support long-term behavior change, making it less likely these individuals will be back here for another offense in the future,” notes State’s Attorney Nerheim.

 

Expect heightened police presence for St. Patrick’s Day this Weekend

From the Libertyville Patch:

From the Lake County Sheriff’s Office: Sheriff Mark Curran announced the Lake County Sheriff’s Office is teaming up with State and local law enforcement for the St. Patrick’s Day traffic safety enforcement campaign. The national campaign begins Friday, March 16 and runs through Sunday, March 18, 2018. Funding for this traffic safety campaign is made possible through a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Administration and is administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Sheriff Mark Curran stated, “Highway patrol units will be in force beginning Friday morning, as a reminder to motorists to secure a designated driver or alternative means of transportation if their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are away from home.

And from the Orland Park Patch:

The Orland Park Police Department will conduct extra enforcement patrols over St. Patrick’s Day weekend to crack down on drunk drivers and make sure everyone in the car is buckled up. Expect to see more Orland Park police officers patrolling the streets starting Friday, March 16 through the early morning hours of Sunday, March 18.

St. Patrick’s Day is one of the deadliest holidays due to the number of drunk drivers on the road. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, drunk driving has killed more than 300 people during each of the last four years in Illinois.

“If you plan on going out for St. Patrick’s Day, always think ahead and designate a sober driver,” said Village Trustee Pat Gira, chair of the village’s Public Safety Committee. “Remember, it’s not just about you. There are other people on the road who want to get where they are going safely.”

Please follow these tips to stay safe on the road:

  • If you will be drinking, arrange in advance for a cab, ride-sharing service or designated driver to take you home.
  • If you become impaired, do not drive for any reason. Call a taxi or ride-sharing service, or phone a sober friend or family member.
  • If someone you know has been drinking, do not let them get behind the wheel. Take their keys, take them home, or help them arrange a safe way home.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement by dialing 9-1-1. Your actions could help save someone’s life.
  • Buckle your seat belt, regardless of where you are seated. By law, all occupants, in all seating positions, must wear their seat belt.

Lake County Sheriff pleads guilty to making false statement in a DUI hearing

From the Chicago Tribune (Jim Newton reporting):

A former Lake County sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty to criminal contempt of court charges Wednesday for lying under oath during a misdemeanor DUI hearing last year in Lake County Circuit Court.

As a result of the plea, the state dropped felony perjury charges against 28-year-old Justin Hill, of Kenosha, and he was sentenced to a 90-day jail term that was stayed as long as he completes other conditions of his sentence.

Hill also was sentenced to a period of conditional discharge during which he must perform 100 hours of community service, pay a $500 fine and donate $500 to Lake County CrimeStoppers.

The sentence was handed down by Kane County Judge David Kliment after Lake County judges recused themselves from the case because the charges stemmed from proceedings in Lake County Circuit Court.

According to prosecutors, Hill was charged for lying under oath while he was being cross-examined by the defendant in the misdemeanor DUI case, in which the defendant was acting as his own attorney.

Defense attorney Thomas Briscoe said after the plea deal that Hill admitted he lied about whether he had contacted or attempted to contact the defendant in the case prior to the DUI hearing.

Briscoe said that Hill maintains he lied to protect an informant or informants related to another case he was doing on his own without the knowledge of the Lake County sheriff’s office.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli said Wednesday that Hill’s position as a deputy was terminated June 2

…Sheriff’s office officials said inconsistencies were allegedly discovered in Hill’s testimony during a Nov. 2 civil court DUI hearing on the potential statutory summary suspension of a DUI defendant’s driving license….

Read the entire story here:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/lake-county-news-sun/crime/ct-lns-lake-deputy-perjury-plea-st-0914-20170913-story.html

Lake County, IL to have fine amnesty week beginning July 17

From the Daily Herald:

Drivers with unpaid fines and court costs from traffic violations in Lake County will get a financial break — and perhaps a return of their driving privileges — when county officials offer a one-week amnesty next month.

Dubbed “Operation Green Light,” the program will allow fined drivers to avoid collection fees and interest if they pay their original costs between July 17 and July 21. Payments can be made over the phone or at courthouses in Waukegan, Mundelein, Park City and Round Lake Beach.

“I understand that fines can become costly, especially when older fines incur collection agency fees and accrue interest,” Lake County Circuit Clerk Erin Cartwright Weinstein said Monday in an announcement of the amnesty week.

“The point of Operation Green Light is to help people clear up their financial obligations and get back on the road.”

Lake Co. Sheriff charged with perjury for testimony in DUI case

From the Chicago Tribune (reported by Jim Newton):

Deputy Sheriff Justin Hill, 28, of Kenosha, was indicted by a Lake County grand jury Wednesday on three felony counts of perjury, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office…

According to Sgt. Christopher Covelli of the Sheriff’s Office, inconsistencies were allegedly discovered in Hill’s testimony during a court hearing on the potential statutory summary suspension of a DUI defendant’s driver’s license. The testimony was allegedly given by Hill on Nov. 2.

Covelli and Jim Elliot, deputy chief of the Sheriff’s Office of Professional Standards, said the Sheriff’s Office is working with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office to determine whether any other cases in which Hill was involved could be impacted.

According to Elliot, each DUI case in which Hill was the arresting officer or was involved would be reviewed individually, and the State’s Attorney’s Office would decide whether each case would move forward based on all evidence involved.

Elliot said he does not believe there will be any blanket dismissal of cases in which Hill was involved. He added that he was unsure how many cases were to be reviewed.

A spokesperson for the State’s Attorney’s Office said Wednesday the number of cases was not immediately available, but would soon be released.

Following the Nov. 2 hearing, the Sheriff’s Office was notified Nov. 23 that “inconsistencies with Hill’s testimony (that) potentially resulted in perjury” had been discovered, according to Covelli.

Hill was placed on administrative leave and relieved of his police powers following an investigation by the Office of Professional Standards, Covelli said.

Expect Heightened DUI Patrols Super Bowl Weekend

Police reports are gearing up for an expected uptick of drunk drivers this weekend.

From the Chicago Police:

The Chicago Police Department is conducting DUI Saturation Patrols in the Wentworth (2nd) and Near West (12th) Districts this weekend. The DUI Saturation Patrol in the Wentworth (2nd) District will commence at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, February 3, 2017 and end at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 4, 2017. The DUI Saturation Patrol in the Near West (12th) District will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 4, 2017 and end at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, February 5, 2017.
The Illinois State Police will be out in force as well:

The Illinois State Police Department says they are increasing patrols for super bowl weekend to crack down on drunk drivers.

State troopers will also be on the lookout for speeding seat belts and distracted driving.

Public safety officer Sean Ramsey says you won’t just see state police out on the highway.

“We can be on the interstate, state routes, in town,” Illinois State Police Trooper Sean Ramsey said. “So really they have the latitude to go where they want. Where they think that these violations may be occurring.”

The Cook County Sheriff has also announced that it will be conducting heightened efforts:

Cook County Sheriff’s Police are scheduled to conduct enhanced patrols this weekend, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today.

Sheriff’s Police are conducting countywide DUI enforcement patrols today, Saturday and Sunday nights. They will also be on the lookout for those violating seatbelt laws, today, Saturday and Monday.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office will conduct special traffic patrols this Super Bowl weekend, cracking down on alcohol-impaired drivers, drug-impaired drivers, and those not wearing their seatbelts.

Buffalo Grove police will be out in force this Super Bowl weekend, cracking down on seat belt law violators and alcohol and drug-impaired drivers.

Department officials announced the beefed up patrol efforts last week, reminding residents, “If you plan on drinking alcohol while cheering on your team, pass your keys to a sober driver before the Super Bowl party begins.”

The initiative coincides with the statewide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.

Other police departments will be out as well.  Please be safe and don’t drink and drive!

Not everyone gets 10 days in jail for DUI fatal accidents

The ten day jail sentence that Ryne San Hamel received last week for the drunk driving crash that killed Bobby Cann has sparked outrage (Click here to read the Sun-Times’ editorial).

But don’t think that everyone who drives drunk and kills someone gets a slap on the wrist.

Here is another recent case that had a very different result.  From the Chicago Tribune:

A Mundelein woman was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison Tuesday for the death of a 22-year-old man in an early morning drunken driving crash in Libertyville.

Amanda Auld, 24, was sentenced after pleading guilty last year to one count of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in a death.

Killed in the crash was Steven Daskaukas, a passenger in Auld’s car when she struck the back of a truck at the intersection of Peterson and Harris roads in Libertyville at 2:43 a.m. on March 7, 2015.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Patricia Fix said she was particularly struck by reports that Auld’s friends, following in another car, had been calling Auld and Daskaukas on mobile phones in an attempt to stop the woman from continuing to drive.

Fix noted that Auld was speeding, leaving the second car unable to catch up with her.

Auld admitted in a statement to the court that she and her friends had been drinking heavily at two bars and had left a bar in Fox Lake when the crash occurred.

Auld apologized to Daskaukas’ family, saying she knew no words would make up for the loss, but that he had been her best friend and that “living through that accident is my very own life sentence.”

“You will never know what it’s like to watch your best friend die and walk away unharmed,” she said.

Auld said she takes “full responsibility for the part I played” in the crash, but also asked for a probationary sentence that would allow her to go into a formal treatment program to battle long-term alcohol, substance abuse and mental health issues.

But Assistant State’s Attorney Dan Brown said Auld had been given supervisory sentences in the past that were to involve treatment programs and she failed to complete them.

Fix also noted that point in handing down the sentence, saying that although Auld had begun treatment programs and courses while in jail, it was hard not to believe her plea for treatment was an attempt to avoid prison.

Auld’s sentencing followed her guilty plea to the charge in a negotiated deal in which other charges were dismissed, including reckless homicide, and a cap of eight years was put on the sentence she would receive. Without the cap, she would have faced up to 14 years in prison, or probation if the judge found that the case included extraordinary circumstances.

Read the whole story here:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/lake-county-news-sun/crime/ct-lns-dui-death-sentencing-st-0201-20170131-story.html