Thursday, August 11, 2011

Woodstock's own court - August cases

Woodstock's own Administrative Adjudication Court was held this morning, and it started early with a single, sort-of-quick case and then a hearing (trial) for a cashier of a local store who got nicked for selling cigarettes to a minor during a sting.

Woodstock Police used a 16-year-old boy as a "confidential juvenile information" and sent him into a busy retail establishment just before 6:00PM. He went in with his state I.D., money from the McHenry County Department of Health, and came out with cigarettes, receipt and change. The Woodstock detective testified that the kid told him that the cashier had not carded him.

The cashier brought a CD from the store's security camera and pointed out a transaction that she said involved the informant, in which she looked at his ID. She thought his ID showed that his year-of-birth was 1988 and sold him the smokes. She argued pro se that she did not knowingly sell cigarettes to a minor but, unfortunately, "intent" (the knowingly part) is not an element of the law. Judge Eterno was respectful to her and fined her the $200 minimum, plus those pesky court courts.

Several minors got clobbered with $500 fines (plus court costs) for citations for consumption of alcohol by a minor. I've written about this before, and I'm sure I'll write about it again. A $500 minimum fine for this violation is absurd. The City Council is raping the public with the level of this fine. The judge doesn't have a choice about imposing it.

Until the public stands up and complains loudly and long to the City Council, this will not change. It may be that all the Council members and the Mayor will have to be dumped in future elections to bring about a change. I don't condone under-age drinking, but a $500 fine is far, far over any reasonable fine.

Other cases today involved under-age tobacco possession ($25 fine) and drug paraphernalia ($150 fine).

Three kids caught scaling a wall on Christian Way got hit with $75 fines.

One kid and his mom made a deal with the prosecutor on his consumption-of-alcohol-by-a-minor ticket (risk of $500 fine), and the City knocked it down to Disorderly Conduct and a $250 fine.

One woman paid $50 for a loud radio complaint, and two kids paid $50 each for curfew violations.

Four people stiffed the judge today and didn't show up. They will wish they had, when they get their "Greetings" in the mail and the notices of fines due on their default convictions.

One person had been charged with nudity in a public place (really, urination in a public place). That one will cost $400 + court costs.

One kid didn't show up on two charges of tobacco-related offenses. Those will cost him $50 + $75 + court costs on both.

One man didn't show up on a fireworks citation; that will cost him $250 + court costs.

One 20-year-old man didn't show up on a alcohol-possession-by-minor charge. The City's prosecutor asked for an increased fine for "aggravation" (there is a legal meaning of that term). The man allegedly was uncooperative and made vulgar remarks to the cop. He'll get a notice for $750 + court costs.

Next court? Thursday, September 8, 2011. 9:30AM. City Hall, 2nd floor.

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