Illinois Supreme Court released 4 criminal law cases for March 2016.

 

Here are the top 13 criminal law cases from the Illinois court system for March 2016. The first 4 are from the Illinois Supreme Court. Number 4 was a victory for the defense at the lower level and the Illinois Supreme Court had something to say about that.

  1.  People v. Burns
    The “no-nights visits” rule is affirmed, can’t bring the sniffer dog to your front step for a little sniff action.
  2. People v. Bradford
    Prosecution no longer allowed to overcharge an ordinary retail theft to a burglary.
  3. People v. Clark
    Aggravated vehicular hijacking and armed robbery without a firearm are not lesser-included offenses of aggravated vehicular hijacking and armed robbery with a firearm.
  4. People v. Timmsen
    Apparently, the police can stop you for trying to legally avoid a roadblock.
  5. People v. Abram
    Officers approach defendant who was sitting in his car he then, to say the least, ensues in outright flight.
  6. People v. Smith
    This trial judge was overruled; there is nothing unconstitutional about requesting citizen’s to roll up their sleeves.
  7. People v. Thompson
    Some of the State’s remarks relied on questionable advocacy, but did not rise to the level of clear and obvious error.
  8. People v. Meuris
    In a leaving the scene of an accident prosecution the State must not only prove that Defendant knew he was involved in an accident but also that another person was involved.
  9. People v. Weinke
    Reviewing court says ASA exaggerated the severity of victim’s condition and misled the court as to the source and timing of her information in order to pressure the court into granting a quickie deposition.
  10. People v. Tayborn
    Trial counsel was ineffective for not challenging defendant’s confession given without Miranda warnings.
  11. People v. Little
    Cigarette break is not a sufficient amount of time to remove the taint of the original Miranda violation.
  12. People v. Gray
    These drug officers were themselves charged with distributing narcotics and Defendant was not told about the investigation before he plead guilty to his own drug charges.
  13. People v. Fulton
    In a charge of armed habitual criminal the same conviction can be used as one of the predicate offenses as well the predicate to the UUW Felony conviction that may be being used.

What is a deposition

 

What is a deposition?
In about 30 years of working in the law I have seen many documents used to prepare witnesses for deposition. I decided to write one that would be easily understood by the typical lay witness. This article is not legal advice. It is a compilation of advice given by various attorneys, which I hope you will find useful.

If you use this for a client, it should be provided on the attorney’s letterhead with this cautionary language at the top: Note: This document is privileged and confidential. Do not show it to anyone. Read it several times before giving your deposition.

PREPARING FOR YOUR DEPOSITION

General Notes

Your deposition is extremely important and will affect your case in many ways. You must understand everything in this preparation document before being deposed. A deposition is a device commonly used in the “discovery” phase of a lawsuit, before trial. All parties in a lawsuit, through their attorneys, have a period of time after a suit is filed in which to discover facts about a case in order to prepare for trial. Depositions and interrogatories (questions to be answered in writing under oath) are two of the most commonly used.

In a deposition, the witness (you in this case) is called the deponent and is sworn to tell the truth (by the court reporter, who is neutral) before any questions are asked. Attorneys will attend for both sides and the attorney for the opposing party will ask you questions, while the court reporter takes everything down to provide everybody with a copy. Portions of the transcript will probably be used in the trial.

The opposing attorney also wants to get your testimony committed to writing. Warning: everything you say will be used against you, and it is the opposing attorney’s purpose to get you to say something that will hurt your case. Your deposition is not for your benefit; it is for the benefit of the other side. You must resist the urge to tell your story or vindicate yourself or justify your actions. You must answer the questions as briefly as possible and never volunteer information. You will have your chance at trial, when your attorney is asking the questions. So listen carefully to each question, think before answering, and answer concisely-with a “yes” or “no” if possible.

Depositions are not the trial, even though they may be used at trial. Depositions are informal proceedings, usually taken in an attorney’s office, and the judge is not present. They usually last two to six hours sometimes less. The scope of questions is unlimited, and attorneys have the right to ask broad questions on topics that may seem irrelevant. Many topics are covered in depositions that will never be admissible at trial. You must answer all questions unless your attorney instructs you not to answer (another reason for listening to the complete question and taking time before answering).

The opposing attorney may act like Mr. Nice Guy, and you should be polite, but always remember: his duty is to try to help his client by weakening your case. Do not trust him and always remain mentally sharp. Some opposing attorneys will be short and snappy with you, and at times may seem hard-lined and relentless in questioning you. Despite the tactics by opposing counsel, you must remember that he/she is not your friend. Your only friend in the deposition is your attorney.

Your attorney will not ask you any questions. He is there to protect you from improper questioning. Remember: this is not the place to tell your story, but only to give facts as you know them. If your attorney begins to speak, you must stop talking. If the attorneys enter into discussions, you are not to say a word, but listen carefully to what is being said. If your attorney makes an objection, remain silent until he/she tells you to answer. If your attorney instructs you not to answer, do not answer no matter how angry the other attorney becomes or how harmless the question may seem to you.

Getting Ready for Your Deposition

First read this document several times and make sure you understand all of it. If not, ask your attorney or his staff about anything you do not understand. Then review any interrogatories you have answered, because the other attorney will probably use them at your deposition. Read the pleadings and motions that have been filed and go over them with your attorney if you have questions about them.

The other side has the right to ask you to bring documents to your deposition. If you have not been asked to bring anything, do not bring anything. If you have been asked to do so, do your best to gather the documents requested, even if it means getting them from a lockbox or storeroom. Review all documents with your attorney before your deposition. If you have not been asked to bring any documents, but you have documents you think you should bring, discuss it with your attorney.

Important: Letters between you and your attorney and his/her staff, and any documents prepared in connection with the lawsuit are privileged and confidential and never should be produced. These documents may be privileged under the attorney-client privilege or under the work-product privilege. If you produce even one of them, you may forfeit the privilege for all of them. If any documents requested by the other side are privileged and confidential, let your attorney know immediately.

Your attorney or his staff will meet with you before your deposition to prepare you further. Do not hide anything from your attorney. You must be totally truthful with your attorney (and that includes his/her staff) and you will not be fully protected if there are things the other side may know that your attorney doesn’t know. Be candid in all respects and rest assured that everything you say to your attorney or his staff is privileged and confidential. Think of any bad things the other side could possibly know and be sure to let your attorney know about them.

The Deposition Itself

Dress neatly. The best outfit is comfortable business attire, with nothing flashy, nothing offbeat, nothing dirty, nothing sloppy. Remember, the other attorneys are evaluating you as a witness. If you will be making a good impression on the jury at trial, your testimony is more valuable.

Produce requested documents and answer truthfully. Your duty is to answer each question as truthfully as you can, but also with as short an answer as possible. Before answering any question, remember to look straight at the attorney asking the question, listen carefully, pause at least two or three seconds to think, and then give your short, concise answer politely and calmly. For most questions, a “yes sir” or “no sir” or “I don’t know” is sufficient. If you say more than three sentences, you have probably said too much. Remember to do this with each question, so that every answer is formal and controlled and you are controlling the tempo of your deposition.

Always be polite. Your conduct and demeanor may be more important than the answers you give. Try to make a good impression. Relax and remain calm, trying not to show nervousness. (You will be nervous, but try not to show it.) Always respond courteously. Always refer to the attorneys as “Mr.” or “Ms.” Speak up positively with assurance.

You may consult with your attorney. If you have questions or concerns about your potential answer, you may ask the opposing attorney, “May I consult with my attorney?” You may then either talk privately at the table or go outside to discuss it with your attorney. Do not be afraid to ask your attorney questions if you feel it important, but keep these consultations to an absolute minimum. Your attorney cannot tell you how to answer but can help clarify the question. Never answer a question with a question or rhetoric.

Your testimony must be truthful. Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, but only in response to questions, and with short answers. If you do not tell the truth, you could be subject to criminal prosecution for perjury. If you are caught not telling the truth, it will hurt your credibility and therefore, your case. You must answer every question truthfully.

Answer only from your personal knowledge. Never volunteer an opinion unless specifically asked to do so. Never guess or speculate. Guessing or speculating is not truthful. Do not do it. Don’t let the opposing attorney fool you into making statements outside of your personal knowledge or about something you do not remember.

Testify in your own words. Don’t let opposing counsel put words in your mouth. Stay with your version of the facts as you know them. One tactic some attorneys use is to say “Well, is it fair to say that . . . ?” If he/she uses this tactic and attempts to summarize parts of your testimony, listen carefully and do not agree unless it is exactly true in all respects; if not, state that you do not agree with his/her summary.

Do not be intimidated. The opposing attorney may make an insinuation or express an opinion that you are not telling the truth. This is an old trick and you should not fall for it. He/she may say something like, “Do you mean to tell me that you’re willing to sit here under oath and swear to that?” Remain calm, look him/her in the eyes, and say, “I have just testified to that fact under oath.” The opposing attorney may speak with a raised voice and seem hateful, but your attorney will not let you be badgered or let things get out of hand.

Be careful of questions dependent on your memory. If you are asked about something that happened long ago and you do not remember the date or time, just say so, and do not guess. Nobody expects you to remember every fact of your life. If pressed for dates, you can say, “To the best of my knowledge, it was around that time.” If you don’t remember, say so. Often, the truthful answer to a question begins with “To the best of my knowledge at this time.”

If you don’t know, say so. Again, do not speculate and do not guess. If you do not know the answer to a question, just say, “I do not know.” Do not assume anything. Another old trick is for the opposing attorney to pull out a piece of paper and read it to himself, then ask you if you remember writing a letter to [name] that said [facts]. Don’t be fooled into admitting something of which you are not sure. Don’t say, “I guess so” when the truthful answer is “I do not remember writing such a letter.”

Don’t give long, rambling answers. The opposing attorney will always gain an advantage if you talk too much. Never ask to explain your answer before giving it. And don’t explain your proper “yes sir” or “no sir” answer, either. You must not volunteer information that is unsolicited ever. An example: You are asked to “State the highest degree of education you have earned.” Many witnesses respond: “Well I graduated high school and then went to college for two years.” This is volunteering information. The correct answer is “a high school diploma.” You will only hurt your case and help the other side’s case if you volunteer information, no matter how harmless it may seem.

Don’t give an opinion unless asked. Just answer with facts and never give your opinion or belief unless asked for it. Again, this is volunteering information and can only hurt your case.

Finish your answers. If you do have a long answer, and the other attorney interrupts you when giving your answer, you should politely insist on finishing your entire answer. Just state that you were not through with your answer and insist on being allowed to finish it.

Use care with documents. If you are asked about a certain document, you should ask to see the document before answering. But never refer to a document to refresh your memory without first discussing it with your attorney. In some states, if a deponent is asked a question and stops to look at a document to refresh his/her memory, the document must be disclosed even if it is a privileged document.

Always keep your guard up. Everyone is nervous about giving a deposition. It is only natural. Sometimes a deponent will begin to relax as the deposition progresses and they may even actually begin to enjoy being the center of attention. Avoid this feeling. It is dangerous and leads to your forgetting the rules outlined in this article. Remain alert, be on guard, sit up straight, and remember to:

a. Look and listen
b. Pause and think
c. Answer briefly

Remain polite and courteous, keep your guard up, and don’t let the opposing attorney talk you into hurting your case. Never let yourself be provoked into anger, arguing, or being upset.

Nothing is “off the record.” The court reporter is taking down every word. An attorney may ask you for an answer “off the record,” but do not fall for it. The only thing off the record will be discussions among attorneys when the reporter has been instructed to stop recording.

After Your Deposition

Provide information if agreed. During the deposition, you and your attorney may agree to produce something to the other side. Locate it immediately after the deposition and deliver it to your attorney as soon as possible.

Correct errors in the transcript. You will have a limited time to make any corrections after the court reporter has typed the transcript. Read it carefully and make all corrections. If you don’t do so within the time period, which may be as few as 20 days, you will not be able to correct it later and you will be stuck with it at trial. Follow your attorney’s advice regarding making the corrections.

Answers may need to be supplemented. In some states you are required to supplement any answers you gave at a deposition. If you are asked a question in a deposition, and your answer later changes, you must let your attorney know. For example, you may be asked for names of witnesses, and after your deposition you learn of another witness. You must give that new information to your attorney immediately.

Review your deposition before trial. Make sure you re-read your deposition testimony before you get to trial. Most cases settle and never reach trial, but not all cases settle. If you are going to trial, it is critical that you know everything you have said under oath, whether in a deposition or interrogatories.

Police body camera

A sweeping set of new regulations regarding police body cameras is aimed at addressing recent controversies over use of force and standardizing practices across the state.

Police departments would not be required to use the cameras, but now there will be statewide rules for those that do. Chiefly, officers will have to keep their cameras on when conducting law enforcement activities but could turn them off when talking to a confidential informant, or at the request of a victim or witness. Intentionally turning off cameras outside the exceptions could result in a charge of official misconduct.

Recordings generally will not be subject to the state’s open records law, however, unless they contain potential evidence in a use-of-force incident, the discharge of a weapon or a death.

To help pay for the body cameras, the state will charge an extra $5 fee on criminal and traffic offenses that result in a guilty plea or conviction. The money also will bolster an expanded training program that includes topics like use of force. In addition, the law bans the use of choke holds, creates a database of officers who have been fired or resigned because of misconduct and requires an independent investigation of all officer-involved deaths. Also, a special prosecutor can be requested if there is an apparent conflict of interest.

Since 1988, firm founder and criminal defense lawyer Louis M. Pissios

Since 1988, firm founder and criminal defense lawyer Louis M. Pissios has been a dynamic and leading advocate for the preservation and protection of constitutional rights—before, during, and following an arrest—as well as the defense of formal criminal charges.

The pursuit of a successful defense strategy, coupled with one-on-one client interaction, has been the hallmark of our practice throughout the past forty years. Our firm is the choice for people seeking cutting edge criminal defense representation that is both personalized and high quality. Guided by the philosophy that the situation of every person facing criminal charges is unique, we tailor our defense strategies to the facts and circumstances of each case, as they apply to the law, in order to attain the best possible results for our clients. A creative and intensive approach to criminal charges can make a big difference in your case’s results, as does the lawyer you choose to represent you.

He would be more than happy to discuss your situation at a meeting in our offices, advise you of the costs involved, and provide you with valuable and practical advice on how best to address the accusations. From DUI charges or violent offenses to crimes related to theft or traffic, or even expunging your criminal record, there is no case too large or too small. In your free consultation, you will learn that our attorneys are not judgmental; instead, we have the utmost respect for your privacy and dignity. All contacts and conversations are strictly confidential, and we accept phone calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We care about our clients and understand the anguish and stress that a person charged with a crime experiences. Being charged with a crime is a nightmare, not just for the individual charged, but for his or her family as well. We will guide you through the legal process, answer your questions, and provide you with the highest quality representation. We welcome you to compare our reputation, experience, and results with that of any criminal defense lawyer. Our professionalism and skill help us to obtain the best results and satisfaction for our clients.

We provide representation to individuals facing criminal charges in Lake County, and McHenry County. Please call us at (847) 263-0001 or email him directly at lawyerlou@sbcglobal.net Our lawyers will answer your questions and take time to ensure that you feel comfortable in fully understanding your rights, your options, and the consequences of your decisions.

Illinois DUI Case List

Expert Witnesses
 
People v. Jones, 2015 IL App (1st) 121016 (04/22/2015) (“foundational element” used
to strike a state firearms expert witness)
 
People v. Safford, 392 Ill. App. 3d 212, 221 (2009) (court said that the admission of an
expert’s testimony requires an adequate reliability foundation)
 
People v. McKown, 236 Ill.2d 278 (2010) (HGN foundations case but see King below)
 
People v. Floyd, 2014 IL App (2d) 120507 (March 2014) (retrograde extrapolation based
on a single breath test is more speculation than science)
 
Soto v. Gaytan, 313 Ill. App. 3d 137 (2000) (another case that talks about a foundational
element)
 
People v. Negron, 2012 IL App (1st) 101194 (2012) (another case that allows a
fingerprint expert to testify but discusses Safford’s foundations test)
 
Discovery Sanctions
 
People v. Tsiamas, 2015 IL App (2d) 140859 (December 2015) (State can’t ignore
discovery notice)
 
People v. Moravec, 2015 IL App (1st) 133869 (November 2015) (DUI sanctions
UPHELD)
 
People v. Kladis, 2011 IL 110920 (DUI evidence suppressed after video is destroyed)
 
People v. Aronson, 408 Ill.App.3d 946 (2011) (failure to make a copy is a sanctionable)
 
People v. Strobel, 2014 IL App (1st) 130300 (June 2014) (no discovery violation occurred here so it was error to impose a discovery sanction)
 
People v. Olsen, 2015 IL App (2d) 140267 (June 2015) (error for the trial judge to
suppress evidence due to a purported discovery violation)
 
People v. Moises, 2015 IL App (3d) 140577 (August 2015) (trial court’s decision to grant a discovery sanction is reversed because there was no discovery violation when officer did not record the FST)
 
Probable Cause
 
Navarette v. California, 134 S.Ct. 1683 (2014) (anonymous 911 call justifies traffic stop)
 
People v. Anderson, 2013 IL App (2d) 121346 (October 2014)
 
People v. Butorac, 2013 IL App (2d) 110953 (December 2014) (officers may board a
boat to enforce registration requirements)
 
People v. Cummings, 2014 IL 115769 (March 2014)
 
People v. Gonzalez­Carrera, 2014 IL App (2d) 130968 (September 2014)
 
People v. Timmsen, 2014 IL App (3d) 120481 (July 2014) (it’s ok to avoid a traffic roadblock so long as you don’t break any other traffic laws)
 
People v. Santovi, 2014 IL App 2014 IL App (3d) 130075 (May 2014) (no pc to arrest defendant before cop yells at the women and orders her to open the bathroom door or he’ll kick it down)
 
People v. Taiwo, 2015 IL App (3d) 140105 (April 2015) (proper to stop a car for a lane infraction when the cop had a hunch the car was connected to an accident he was
investigating)
 
Rescissions & Suspended DLs
 
People v. Elliott, 2014 IL 115308 (January 2014) (recession only acts prospectively and
has no retroactive effect, thus rescinding a suspension will not undue convictions based
on that suspension)
 
People v. Smith, 2013 IL App (2d) 121164 (November 2013) (DWLS can’t be revoked)
 
People v. Clayton, 2014 IL App (4th) 130340 (March 2014) (even if
notice was tampered with by the cop defendant had actual notice of his pending suspension)
 
People v. Gaede, 2014 IL App (4th) 130346 (November 2014) (defendant withdrew his consent and implied consent statute found constitutional)
 
People v. Morales, 2015 IL App (1st) 131207 (January 2015) (suspension reinstated defendant received proper notice from the police on the day of his arrest and had more than ample opportunity to challenge the suspension in court)
 
People v. McLeer, 2015 IL App (2d) 140526 (February 2015) (officer amends the report after it was issued, suspension stands because SOS had enough information that the
notice was given)
 
People v. Gutierrez, 2015 IL App (3d) 140194 (July 2015) (A PBT test is not a
statement, thus, the officer’s DL suspension is proper)
 
Blood & BAC
 
People v. Wuckert, 2015 IL App (2d) 150058 (December 2015) (625 ILCS 5/111­501.4
trumps hospital policy that the results should not be used for legal purposes)
 
People v. Armer, 2014 IL App (5th) 130342 (October 2014) (warrantless blood draw
suppressed when not done with consent nor under exigent circumstances)
 
People v. Harris, 2015 IL App (4th) 140696 (May 2015) (consensual blood draws ok)
 
People v. Weidner, 2014 IL App (5th) 130022 (March 2014) (no error to wipe
defendant’s arm with an alcohol wipe before hospital took his blood)
 
People v. Hutchinson, 2013 IL App (1st) 1023332 (November 2013) (no error in
admitting report of lab results as a business record)
 
People v. Harris, 2014 IL App (2d) 120990 (May 2014) (state had problems showing the
breathalyzer was certified)
 
People v. Eagletail, 2014 IL App (1st) 130252 (December 2014) (logbook and printout
admissible even though printout was made years after the breath test)
 
People v. Chiaravalle, 2014 IL App (4th) 140445 (December 2014) (officer made a
continuous observation even though he may have had his back to the defendant from
time to time)
 
People v. Thomas, 2014 IL App (2d) 130660 (May 2014) (speedy trial violated when
police waited to issue BAC citation they already knew what the hospital blood BAC was)
 
People v. Torruella, 2015 IL App (2d) 141001 (August 2015) (no error here when the
trial judge accepted calibration records of the breathalyzer as a business record and no
error when the court disregarded the defense expert’s testimony)
 
People v. Smith, 2015 IL App (1st) 122306 (August 2015) (state failed to establish that
the machine was properly certified within the 62 day window required by the
regulations)
 
Evidence
 
People v. Blakey, 2015 IL App (3d) 130719 (November 2015) (prior inconsistent
statement in this DUI huffing case was admitted in error)
 
People v. Phillips, 2015 IL App (1st) 131147 (October 2015) (defendant blew under .08
and attacked that the officer’s opinion he was intoxicated)
 
People v. Way, 2015 IL App (5th) 130096 (September 2015) (proximate cause defense,
error to deny the defendant a chance to defend her aggravated DUI by arguing that the
cannabis in her system did not contribute to the accident)
 
People v. King, 2014 IL App (2d) 130461 (November 2014) (officer can testify to how
defendant acted during instructions of HGN even though the results themselves not
admitted)
 
People v. O’Donnell, 2015 IL App (4th) 130358 (March 2015) (officer committed error
when she testified it was her belief that Defendant was lying to her at the scene of the
one car accident and that he was showing deception
 
People v. Kathan, 2014 IL App (2d) 121335 (August 2014) (a drug driving case with an
admission, bad driving and impairment leads to guilt)
 
People v. Morris, 2014 IL App (1st) 130512 (July 2014) (actual physical control
established when defendant passed out in front seat of parked car, the ignition off, the
driver’s side door open, and keys in his right hand)
 
Sentence
 
People v. Lake, 2015 IL App (3d) 140031 (April 2015) (9 year sentence for aggravated
DUI Death conviction upheld; it was not excessive; defendant was racing a horse)
 
People v. Rennie, 2014 IL App (3d) 130014 (May 2014) (16 year olds 6 year sentence
for aggravated DUI upheld she had weed in her system when motorcyclist died in an
accident)
 
People v. Stutzman, 2015 IL App (4th) 130889 (August 2015) (defendant inappropriately plead guilty to reckless homicide and aggravated DUI in violation of one
act one crime principles)
 
People v. Mischke, 2014 IL App (2d) 130318 (December 2014) (enhancement to a Class 2 felony occurs whenever a defendant has two prior convictions for any form of DUI, not just aggravated DUIs)
 
People v. Guillen, 2014 IL App (2d) 131216 (November 2014) (misdemeanor plea dismissed after defendant plead guilty and double jeopardy did not attach during the sentencing hearing)
 
Miscellaneous
 
People v. McGuire, 2015 IL App (2d) 131266 (December 2015) (section 11­501(a) of the Vehicle Code does not govern the operation of a watercraft)
 
People v. Hasselbring, 2014 IL App (4th) 131128 (November 2014) (defendant was a biker riding with friends when a friend hit his tire and died there was an error in an answer to a jury instruction)
 
Village of Bull Valley v. Zeinz, 2014 IL App (2d) 140053 (September 2014) (local
conviction for DUI reversed because the village failed to prove that it happened in their
jurisdiction)

Utah trooper accused of making false DUI arrests The officer, once praised for her knack for finding drunk drivers, is out of a job and facing lawsuits

 

SALT LAKE CITY — During her 10 years as a Utah state trooper, Lisa Steed built a reputation as an officer with a knack for nabbing drunken motorists in a state with a long tradition of teetotaling and some of the nation’s strictest liquor laws.

Steed used the uncanny talent — as one supervisor once described it — to garner hundreds of arrests, setting records, earning praise as a rising star and becoming the first woman to become trooper of the year.

Today, however, Steed is out of work, fired from the Utah Highway Patrol, and she — and her former superiors — are facing a lawsuit in which some of those she arrested allege she filed bogus DUI reports.

“If we don’t stand up to Lisa Steed or law enforcement, they just pull people over for whatever reason they want,” said attorney Michael Studebaker.

Steed declined to comment, but her attorney Greg Skordas said she denies the allegations. She is trying to get her job back.

The people snared by Steed say the arrests disrupted their lives and were costly to resolve.

Michael Choate, a now-retired aircraft logistics specialist at Hill Air Force Base, said he nearly lost his security clearance and job.

Steed stopped him because he was wearing a Halloween costume and booked him even though three breathalyzers tests showed no alcohol in his system. Choate said he spent $3,800 and had to take four days off of work to get his DUI charged dismissed.

The 49-page lawsuit includes two defendants, but Studebaker said dozens of others are lined up and willing to tell their stories. He said they are requesting the lawsuit be broadened into a class action lawsuit.

Every one of her DUI stops back to at least 2006 should be under suspicion, he said, adding that could be as many as 1,500 people.

The lawsuit, filed in December, also accuses the Utah Highway Patrol of ignoring Steed’s patterns of higher-than-normal DUI bookings and waited too long to take her off patrol. The agency declined to comment.

Steed joined the agency in 2002, and during her first five years, she earned a reputation as a hard-worker whose efficiency led to high arrest totals. By the time she ascended to trooper of the year in 2007, she was held up as one of the agency’s top stars.

In 2009, Steed became a member of the DUI squad. Her 400 DUI arrests that year were thought to be a state record, and more than double the number made by any other highway trooper. She earned special recognition at the state Capitol.

“With her training and experience, it’s second nature for her to find these people who are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” her DUI squad boss at the time, Lt. Steve Winward, told the Deseret News.

During a ride-along with the newspaper, Steed said it was simply a “numbers game,” noting that one in every 10 drivers stopped for a violation is driving impaired. “It’s a lot of hard work, but you make a ton of stops, and you’re going to run into them,” she said.

Steed’s career, however, turned. In 2012, while on the stand in a DUI court case, Steed acknowledged purposely leaving her microphone in her patrol car so that superiors wouldn’t know she was violating agency policy.

By April 2012, her credibility had come into question so much that a prosecutor said he would no longer prosecute DUIs if Steed’s testimony was the only evidence.

In October, the Salt Lake Tribune obtained a memo written in May 2010 in which Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Rob Nixon flagged Steed’s “pattern” of questionable DUI arrests. He wrote that the bulk of Steed’s arrestees had no signs of “impairing drugs” in their systems.

The memo said she based most of her arrests on signs of impairment such as dilated pupils and leg and body tremors.

Steed was taken off road patrol in April 2012 and fired in November. She was accused of violating department policies, falsifying police reports and using questionable practices when making DUI arrests.

The lawsuit is based on two defendants: Thomas Romero and Julie Tapia.

Romero was stopped after Steed said he was swerving, according to the lawsuit. After Romero said he wasn’t drinking, Steed gave him a roadside sobriety test anyway. She booked him for DUI even though his blood alcohol content was 0.00. Charges were dismissed.

Tapia went to pick up her ex-husband, who had been drinking. Steed approached Tapia as she got out of her car at her house, saying Tapia had been speeding, the lawsuit said. Steed said she could smell alcohol, and Tapia told her it was coming from her ex-husband.

Tapia was arrested for a DUI; her ex-husband for public intoxication. Tapia’s blood test showed no alcohol. Charges were dropped.

Choate, who hopes to join the lawsuit, said the entire agency should be held responsible for the damage Steed caused to him and others. “They let her get away with it for a long time,” he said.

Trial set for Fox Lake woman shot by McHenry County Sheriff’s deputies

Trial set for Fox Lake woman shot by McHenry County Sheriff’s deputies

Police: 55-year-old pointed assault rifle at them after making suicidal statements

WOODSTOCK – A Fox Lake woman who was shot in the neck by McHenry County Sheriff’s deputies after she allegedly made suicidal statements and pointed an assault rifle at them will face a jury trial in July.

Elizabeth Kloss, 55, will go before a jury on July 25, a McHenry County judge ordered Wednesday. She is charged with aggravated assault of a police officer, a Class 4 felony that typically carries a sentence of one to four years in prison.

She also is charged with possession of a firearms and ammunition without a valid FOID card, all Class A misdemeanors.

The charges stem from an incident on July 20, 2014, in which three sheriff’s deputies and a sergeant responded to the 7400 block of Boston Avenue in unincorporated Wonder Lake for the report of a suicidal subject.

Police at the time said Kloss pointed an assault rifle at the deputies. The gun belonged to the woman’s boyfriend and was not loaded, police said.

Police then fired seven rounds at Kloss, hitting her once in the neck, according to a civil lawsuit she has filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago in July 2015. Kloss was taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville in critical condition.

She was charged Oct. 8 as she was being released from the hospital, according to her civil suit. She has been free on $1,000 bond since the day she was charged.

As the criminal cases against her proceed, the civil suit Kloss filed against several deputies, former Sheriff Keith Nygren and McHenry County is pending.

The suit claims the department and deputies did not have the proper training, equipment and approach to handle Kloss, who had a history of depression, domestic violence and suicide attempts. Kloss is seeking an undisclosed amount of damages based on claims officers used excessive force and malicious prosecution, among other things.

Before trial on criminal charges, Kloss is due in front of McHenry County Judge Michael Feetterer for a status hearing July 8.

Texas Appeals Court Slams Forced DUI Blood Draw

Texas Appeals Court Slams Forced DUI Blood Draw

Second highest court in Texas says police must follow US Supreme Court ban on warrantless blood draws from motorists.

Chief Justice Terrie Livingston

The Texas Court of Appeals told local police officers last month that when the US Supreme Court says warrantless blood draws from motorists are unconstitutional, that means they need to get a warrant to perform a blood draw. Hurst Police Officer Brian Charnock did not believe the McNeely ruling applied to him as he ordered Laura Ann Swan to pull over in February 2012.

Officer Charnock had received a tip that the car belonging to Swan was swerving on the highway, so he drove to her home. Before arriving, he allegedly saw Swan fail to signal a turn. He conducted a traffic stop during which Swan refused to perform sobriety tests and denied drinking anything, leaving the officer with no concrete evidence beyond the smell of alcohol.

Officer Charnock decided to arrest Swan for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), but she refused a breathalyzer test. Under state law, police have the duty to forcibly perform a breath or blood test if the officer has reliable information that the suspect has been convicted twice before of DUI — and Swan was a repeat offender. So without obtaining a warrant, Officer Charnock had Swan’s blood forcibly taken.

The appellate panel reasoned that a state law cannot be used to overturn a constitutional interpretation of the Supreme Court.

“While section 724.012 requires the taking of a specimen in those circumstances, the section does not expressly authorize the taking to occur without a warrant,” Chief Justice Terrie Livingston wrote for the appellate court. “Courts of appeals, including this court, have repeatedly applied the holding from Villarreal to likewise conclude that a warrantless search and seizure of a defendant’s blood purported to be justified only by section 724.012’s requirements is unconstitutional.”

Prosecutors tried to save the conviction by arguing even if the warrantless blood draw was unconstitutional, the evidence so taken should be admitted in court. The purpose of suppressing evidence is to deter bad police conduct, but here, they argued, Officer Charnock was doing what he thought was the right thing to do. The argument did not work.

“In other words, the state argues that Officer Charnock’s good faith in applying what he believed the law to be at the time of the search precludes suppression of the blood test results even if the search and seizure violated appellee’s constitutional rights as determined by later decisions,” Justice Livingston wrote. “But as the state recognizes, we have considered and rejected this argument.”

A copy of the decision is available in a 75k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Texas v. Swan (Court of Appeals, State of Texas, 1/21/2016)

Cibolo Creek Ranch Begins To Look Like A Payoff To Antonin Scalia

Cibolo Creek Ranch Begins To Look Like A Payoff To Antonin Scalia
FEB 17, 2016by
Republicans like to describe the recently deceased Justice Antonin Scalia as a principled conservative who repeatedly ruled in favor of big businesses who had cases before the U.S. Supreme Court because of his “originalist” legal principles.

That’s not what it seems was going on with Justice Scalia and John B. Poindexter, the owner of the Cibolo Creek Ranch where Scalia was found dead last week.

Last year, the Mic Group, a subsidiary of a company owned by John B. Poindexter, was facing a discrimination lawsuit before the Supreme Court. Under circumstances that are not yet fully understood, the Supreme Court refused to allow the case against Poindexter’s company to go forward.

Today, the world is learning that Antonin Scalia received a vacation at the Cibolo Creek Ranch as a gift from John B. Poindexter. Scalia didn’t pay for his lodging, for his food, or for his hunting activities while at the desert resort.

antonin scalia john b. poindexter corruption

Scalia also had his plane ticket to Texas paid for by somebody, but at this point, it’s not known who that person was.

Scalia brought a “friend” with him to the Cibolo Creek Ranch, although the identity of this “friend” is also not yet known.

There’s a great deal of mystery around Scalia’s free vacation, but right now, it looks like a payoff.

The question many are asking now is how many other payoffs Antonin Scalia received during his time as a Supreme Court Justice. It may well be that Scalia repeatedly ruled in favor of big business interests because he received financial rewards for doing so, rather than for any ideological reason.

At present, the public does not have access to any details of the discussions about legal cases before the Supreme Court that were held between Poindexter and Scalia behind closed doors, at the Cibolo Creek Ranch or elsewhere. We don’t have definitive proof that bribery took place, but it appears that corruption of some sort did go forward.

When judges take big gifts from people who have received favorable rulings before their courts, it looks to reasonable eyes that court decisions are for sale. That appearance is what matters. When shadowy dealings such as those between Antonin Scalia and John B. Poindexter are allowed to take place, it’s impossible for ordinary citizens to have trust that the courts will provide them with true justice if they ever have to go to court against a wealthy adversary.