Friday, August 21, 2009

SAO wins without strong DUI evidence

PRESS RELEASE
AUGUST 20, 2009
McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office Wins Difficult DUI Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

McHenry County State’s Attorney, Louis A. Bianchi, is pleased to announce a recent victory on a DUI offender.

Assistant State’s Attorney’s Robert Malen and Patrick Kenneally won a DUI jury trial in the matter of People v. Dominique Miller.
This was a challenging case for several reasons. When officers arrived at the scene the defendant was not in her vehicle and was later found walking near the area; there were no field sobriety tests conducted due to the defendant’s hip injury; and the defendant submitted to a breath test which resulted in a BAC below the legal limit. After the trial started, the breath operator informed prosecutors that he was not certified to operate the breath machine at the time of the test. As a result, the breathalyzer results were excluded. Despite this fact, prosecutors continued with the trial even though it seemed almost impossible to win. They fought hard, gave passionate closing arguments and were victorious. We are once again proud of our attorneys’ performances and successes.

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Anyone who thinks that court is not a win/lose situation should read this press release carefully. Did the police and the SAO really have a case?

According to the word of this press release, maybe they didn't. 1) No roadside sobriety test; 2) BAC was below 0.08%; 3) the breath operator (who was he???) was not certified; 4) breathalyzer results were not admissible.

But good lawyering and persuasive arguments "won" over the jury. Wish I'd been there. Would the result have been different in a bench trial?

What police agency was involved? Who was the defense attorney? How many other breathalyzer tests were conducted by the uncertified breath operator? Were other convictions gained (or pleas negotiated) that involved the same breath operator while uncertified?

17 comments:

The Madd Bulldog said...

Years ago (10+) I had 2 beers afterwork. A drunken co-worker spilled her beer all over my shirt and front of my pants. I left the bar and drove home. I stopped for gas. When I got back onto the road, I didnt pay attention and was speeding 40 in a 30 zone. I got pulled over, and the cop made me do a sobriety test, which I cant do anyway; so I was arrested for DUI. I blew into the machine at the police station about 45 mins after the arrest. I was well under the limit... I'm around 280 pounds and I really did only have two beers. I passed the breathalizer but the cop wrote me up anyway because he said I was "impaired" and smelled of alcohol... no $hit Sherlock- my pants and shirt were soaked! I had to get a lawyer to goto court to get outta this... I ended up getting Supervision for the speeding, the DUI was dismissed but the judge made me go to Alcohol School anyway. Those two beers cost about $750 a piece! Sometimes its all about the Revenue...

Gus said...

And the harassment.

Somebody asked me recently if I thought cops wrote a lot of tickets so that the lawyers around here could remain fully employed.

Ten years ago your fine and court costs might have been $50-100, plus $50 for the DUI school. $1350 for the lawyer. Close?

Frank said...

"And the harassment"? Gus, you are the one demanding people who commit violations be cited (Two way left turn lane article) but then you say it harassment and to keep lawyers employed. You need to make up your mind sheriff!

The situation is unfortunate for Madd Bulldog.

Oh and where the hell did this DUI arrest you write about happen and who was involved? More questionable is how the hell did they win?

Gus said...

Next trip to the courthouse I'll look up the DUI arrest of Dominique Miller. A quick search on the websites of the Northwest Herald and the Daily Herald did not find the name or case.

I dunno. How DID they win?

Another Lawyer said...

They "won" because DUI is one of the only crimes that has it own commercials.

DA said...

No, they "won" because a jury of her peers heard the testimony and found her GUILTY. Isn't that how it still works in this country?

Obviously Gus, they DID have a case, but maybe not the standard cut and dried case.

"But good lawyering and persuasive arguments "won" over the jury. Wish I'd been there. Would the result have been different in a bench trial?"

Isn't that what they pay the SA for? Good lawyering and persuasive arguments instead of bad lawyering and non persuasive arguments? Would the result have been different with a bench trial? Since the lawyer for the defendant chose the course of action of a jury trial, your question really holds no merit.

Why you want to run for Sheriff when your hatred for police and the legal system in general is so apparent is mind boggling.

Philip said...

DA says: "Why you want to run for Sheriff when your hatred for police and the legal system in general is so apparent is mind boggling."
DA, what planet do you live on? To make that kind of statement is absurd and is one of the reasons why America is in the crapper.
Since when is it wrong to question authority? Since when is it wrong to hold those charged with enforcing the law accountable?
In my career as a journalist, I love to question authority. I like to make those in charge squirm. You could say I have a hatred for the legal system and police. I don't.
I have a duty as a journalist to hold those in power accountable. My readers demanded it. My God, this is such a stretch, but what would happen if the Northwest Herald grew a set and began to be real journalists? Would you claim that they have a hatred for police and the legal system because they hold those in power to account?
DA, it appears you have a hatred for the truth. Your mind has been conditioned to believe that holding those in power accountable is a bad, bad thing.
And when presented with the truth and facts, you're incapable of processing the information.
Hell, we could have prevented a war if the media held G.W. Bush's tootsies to the fire.
It's easy to sit back and criticize.
But, a real American will stand up and fight.
And Gus, is a real American.

Frank said...

You mention this country being in the crapper! Is it maybe because the "Sh!theads" aren't in fear of the police or being arrested because the police are "on trial" more than the criminal? Time to let the professionals do their job.

Gus said...

Frank, it sounds like you are recommending that rubber hoses and soundproof interrogation rooms be brought back. And maybe let detectives wear their guns into interview rooms, putting all at risk.

Frank said...

You are not understanding what I am saying. Absoutly the rights of the suspect should be protected. No doubt about that! I agree with you 100%. I am saying you critize the police and how they do their job but never talk about how you spoke with a "suspect" in a crime and took the police's side. The Gaugers, the Crystal Lake incident last week, etc., etc.

Frank said...

I apologize about the most recent post. I meant the Pavlins, not Gauger. I looked back on something you wrote about a father being arrested for domestic battery in Woodstock. That too you mentioned that you only heard one side of the story and still wrote about it...taking the suspects side.

Philip said...

If the police and legal system do their jobs right, then there would be no need for people, like me, to put the screws to them.
It's a helluva lot easier to tell me the truth than it is to lie.
I have a list of unemployed or jailed police and judicial officials who just couldn't grasp that concept.

Witness said...

A grand jury, and the SA's office heard both sides of the Pavlins story. Now Illinois State Poilice are investigating. A federal lawsuit has been filed. That means a lot of other people found the Pavlins version more believable.

STFU said...

Gus Philpot, the town Cryer. Your blog is a joke and so are you. You have minimal street experience that's decades old and from another state. Sheriff? I'll put money on it that you lose and lose bad....

And what's wrong with the cops & S/A winning a DUI trial. Dont defense attorneys play that same game everyday with summary suspensions and DUI's? Or anything else they go to trial with? The cops put the case together, the S/A's office prosecutes the case and the defense attorneys pick it apart and do everything they possibly can to pursuade a jury that their client is not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If she was found guilty by a jury of her peers, the prosecutors did their job and the defense attorney's failed at theirs. Thats the justice system in the United States.

DA said...

I see Philip (is this a pen name for a certain other "journalist" Philpot?) that you SAY you are a journalist? Do journalists have a code of ethics? Do they blindly report stories as facts without any fact checking, relying completely on one side of a story and reporting it as fact? Do journalist report opinions as facts? OR do you belong to the same journalism class that Gus belongs to and just make it up as you go along?

I stand by my statement.

"Why you want to run for Sheriff when your hatred for police and the legal system in general is so apparent is mind boggling."

Of course, Gus does not like me saying these things, so there is a good chance he will be the only one to read my reply. Don't really care one way or the other. The man that says he is all for free speech and getting out the word of the people has been very quick with the deleting of my posts, even though they do not bash anybody personally (although they do not flatter him). Of course, he will post those that agree with him, and bash those that do not, in a heartbeat. He is King of his blog, the only authority he has, and he does like his authority! He knows all! The fact that the lawyer for the defendant chose to have a jury trial and that 12 adults thought she was guilty has no bearing on the case in the world of GUS. He has so decreed!

DA said...

Frank, he understands what you are saying perfectly! He just chooses to warp what you say into something else entirely.

You say that it is "Time to let the professionals do their job." and he turns that into rubber hoses and soundproof rooms. That is very telling on so many levels. You see, Gus is NOT a professional law enforcement officer and really has no clue what one is. 99% of what he knows about police work he learned from watching shows on TV.

Philip said...

Hmm, let's see: A stack of Associated Press Managing Editors Awards, Arkansas Press Association Awards,and awards from various community organizations for my work on domestic violence, teen drug abuse and rural healthcare.
Yeah, I must be a schlock journalist who doesn't abide by a Code of Ethics nor fact-checks his work. Maybe that's why Fox Snooze didn't hire me.
So, DA, what have you done for your community lately? Who have you held accountable? Who have you stood up for?
Insert "cricket chirp" here.