Houston criminal defense lawyer Mark Bennett has started a series on jury selection on his Defending People weblog. Mark is sharing good stuff; anyone who fancies himself or herself to be a trial lawyer should take the time to read Mark’s series on jury selection. The following is a list of Mark’s posts to date:
Archive for August, 2009
Case Name: People v. Miklos (.pdf)
Court: Appellate Court of Illinois, Third District
Date Decision Filed: 7/17/09
In this case, the defendant successfully challenged his statutory summary suspension on due process grounds. Ordinarily, once a defendant files a petition challenging his summary suspension, the hearing must be held within thirty days or on the defendant’s first court appearance on his citation. Here, the trial court held the defendant’s hearing on his first court appearance, however, the appellate court ruled that this was a due process violation under the circumstances of this case:
In this case, defendant filed a petition to rescind his summary suspension [. . .] 18 days after he was arrested for driving under the influence and 28 days before his summary suspension was to become effective. The State scheduled defendant’s summary suspension hearing for 22 days after defendant filed his petition to rescind. On the date of the scheduled hearing, the prosecutor announced that she was ready to proceed but then changed her mind because the officer was not present. The State then chose to reschedule the hearing for 15 days later, a date that was 36 days after defendant filed his petition and 8 days after the effective date of his summary suspension.
Based on these facts, we find that the State violated defendant’s due process rights. The State required defendant to appear in court for a hearing on a date that the State chose and then informed defendant that the hearing would not proceed because the officer was not available. However, the officer’s presence at the hearing was not required because the State could have presented its case through the officer’s official reports. [ . . .] The State then chose not to hold a hearing prior to defendant’s summary suspension but, rather, received the court’s permission to reschedule defendant’s hearing for over two weeks later and eight days after defendant’s summary suspension began. By refusing to proceed with the summary suspension hearing on the date it was originally scheduled and rescheduling defendant’s hearing for a date well over 30 days after defendant filed his petition and over a week after the effective date of his summary suspension without any justification, the State denied defendant of his “protectible property interest” in his driver’s license and deprived him of his right to a prompt hearing.
Gerry Spence is a famous and successful trial lawyer. Many criminal-defense lawyers, myself included, admire his courtroom skills and accomplishments. It is precisely because he is a success that his blog post yesterday on his own rejection is so powerful:
I never was elected to any student body office. I was rejected by the Wyoming Bar because initially I failed the bar exam – the first honor student to do so. I was rejected by the people of Riverton for a judgeship and by the University of Wyoming as a law professor. The voters of Wyoming rejected me when I ran for the United States Congress. Publishers have rejected some of my books, which made me a better writer.
Was Gerry Spence’s legal career a failure? Absolutely not — few lawyers will achieve the level of success that he has achieved. We should never be too hard on ourselves for our failures and rejections … they are great gifts.
In a previous post, I discussed how DUI cases cannot be expunged in Illinois. That post assumed that the inquiring person either plead guilty to a DUI charge or was found guilty of a DUI charge. A DUI case and arrest may be expunged if a person is found not guilty after a trial or if the DUI charge is dismissed. But, if a person pleads guilty to a DUI charge or is found guilty of a DUI charge, then the person cannot expunge his DUI case. This is true even if the person receives a sentence of judicial supervision.