Archive for May, 2012
May 16th, 2012 at 3:40 pm
Don Ramsell: These clever burden-shifting devices, where the defendant is ‘presumed guilty’ and where the judge must give someone jail ‘except in extraordinary circumstances’ are simply clever back doors that legislators, prosecutors, and some judges have used to create the new Star Chamber. They may all be called constitutional, but the constitution these people are talking about isn’t the one I read about in grammar school.
By Clifford Ward, Special to the Tribune
May 15, 2012
An Aurora woman convicted of killing five teens in a drunken-driving accident should get a new sentencing hearing because of vague language in Illinois DUI laws, her attorney told an Appellate Court panel Monday.
The three justices from the 2nd Appellate District in Elgin listened to almost an hour of arguments in the case of Sandra Vasquez, who is serving a 15-year sentence for the 2007 accident in Oswego. About two dozen family members and supporters of Vasquez, as well as family members of the crash victims, filled the courtroom’s small gallery to hear the arguments.
Lawyers sparred over a provision in the aggravated DUI statute that requires probation, rather than a prison sentence, in cases where “extraordinary circumstances” exist. The law, however, fails to spell out what those extraordinary circumstances may be, and it can’t be properly argued by lawyers or applied by judges at sentencing, Vasquez’s attorney said.
“Due process requires guidance,” Assistant Appellate Defender Sherry Silvern argued. “There is no guidance here.”
But Assistant Appellate Prosecutor Scott Jacobson said Judge Clint Hull, who sentenced Vasquez, took all factors into account, including those circumstances that Vasquez’s trial attorney, Kathleen Colton, had argued met the “extraordinary circumstances” threshold.
“The trial court considered everything,” Jacobson said.
The Appellate Court probably will issue its opinion sometime within the next eight weeks.
Vasquez was convicted in 2010 of aggravated DUI for the deaths of the teens, who were among nine people crammed into her car on Feb. 11, 2007.
Vasquez, 23 at the time, was going about 70 mph when she veered across a highway and hit a light pole. She had gone to a party to pick up her younger sister and accommodated other partygoers who did not have a ride.
She was sentenced under a statute that went into effect in 2006. Colton has said language in the revamped law left her wondering whether she was to argue that the facts of the case or her client’s past record were extraordinary and made Vasquez worthy of probation. Vasquez is a mother of two who worked with dementia patients.
Colton attended Monday’s session and said she didn’t walk away with any clearer interpretation of the law based on the lawyers’ arguments or judges’ questions.
For family members of the victims, Monday’s proceeding dredged up bad memories.
“I feel this was an absolute waste of time,” said Donna Dwyer, whose son, Matthew Frank, 17, was killed in the crash.
May 16th, 2012 at 1:31 pm
Traffic Law CLE
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 (5:45 PM – 9:00 PM)
Growing & Changing With Our Community For Over 50 Years!
Traffic Law CLE: U
5:45 – 9:00 PM
MCLE Credits: 3
Secretary of State Hearings,
Larry A. Davis, Davis & LaScola Ltd.
DUI Panel Discussion
Moderator: J. Brick Van Der Snick, Van Der Snick Law Firm, Ltd.
Prosecutor: Joseph Zeit, Office of the State’s Attorney
Defense Attorney: Thomas M. Moran, Ahern, Maloney & Moran LLC
Judge: Hon. Mark W. Dwyer, Ret.
Defending DUI Refusals of Jury Trial Cases,
Donald Ramsell, Ramsell & Associates LLC
CDL & Overweight Cases, Richard Adler, Attorney at Law
Forest View Education Center, 2121 S. Goebbert Road, Arlington Heights, Illinois
Parking Lot B; Entrance #1 located off Goebbert Road. Once inside, there will be signage directing you to the classroom.
May 15th, 2012 at 4:10 pm
Cops DO arrest hot chicks — in fact, the hottest teenager in Arizona in 2010 (at least according to the Miss Teen USA competition) was arrested just last weekend in L.A. … on suspicion of DUI.
Law enforcement sources tell TMZ, 18-year-old ex-Miss Arizona Teen USA Tori Vance was pulled over last Saturday night around 9:15PM after making an illegal U-turn in Hollywood.
The officer approached her Mini Cooper (duh) and law enforcement tells us Tori showed signs of intoxication — so the cop asked her to get out of the car.
According to law enforcement sources, the officer administered a field sobriety test — and Tori PASSED WITH FLYING COLORS.
Just kidding, Tori bombed … so she was arrested. Tori was then taken to a nearby police station and booked for misdemeanor DUI.
We’re told Tori registered a blood alcohol level of just over .08 — the legal limit in California. Attempts to reach Tori were unsuccessful.