Monday, July 23, 2012

Former Lake County Chief Judge Not Guilty of DUI, Guilty of Resisting

A four-year legal fight over DUI charges against Lake County's then-chief judge ended swiftly Monday when he was cleared of drunken driving after a one-day trial.
But David Hall, who stepped down as chief judge after the arrest and retired this month following his diagnosis with Lou Gehrig's disease, was found guilty of resisting arrest in the April 2008 traffic stop.
Hall avoided jail, instead being sentenced to 100 hours of community service, 18 months of probation and a $1,000 fine. He could have received a year in jail for the resisting-arrest conviction.
Prosecutors' ability to prove drunken driving was hampered by the fact that the officer who pulled over and pepper-sprayed the judge died a few weeks later. And an appeals court later ruled that a blood sample taken from Hall at a hospital after the traffic stop was mishandled and therefore inadmissible.
During Monday's trial, overseen by a judge from Kane County, the officer who provided backup during the traffic stop, Mark Sosnoski, testified that Hall attempted to roll up his window, ignored an officer's order to exit the vehicle and turn off the ignition on his vehicle.

It would appear that the ex-judge got lucky in two aspects of his DUI arrest.  First the unavailabilty of the arresting officer would have made it difficult for the State's Attorney to ellicit enough testimony regarding the bad driving and the Defendant's state of inebriation.  Second the suppression of the blood tests would have been the key piece of evidence even if the arresting officer had not died.

The Law Offices of Brent M. Christensen has experience in dealing with this type of case and the results are frequently similar.  Officers from the Naperville and Oak Brook police departments have been known to initate (or admit to initiating) DUI arrest too early in these types of resisting cases.  Wheaton DUI Lawyer Brent Christensen would contend that skilled cross examination of the arresting officer at the summary suspension hearing stage can often "trap" police officers into admissions that make it impossible for prosecutors to win these types of cases.

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