Archive for February, 2010

HGN in Illinois

Case Name: People v. McKown (.pdf) (link to case summary)

Court: Supreme Court of the State of Illinois

Date Decision Filed: 2/19/2010

This important DUI case can be boiled down to two points: (a) the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) field sobriety test satisfies the Frye test; and (b) HGN evidence will only come into evidence at trial if NHTSA requirements are complied with.

For commentary on the case by Illinois DUI guru Don Ramsell, please visit this post at Illinois Lawyer Now.

Jeremy Richey

Saved By Facebook

I can be paranoid when it comes to my clients.  Some (but certainly not most) criminal defendants have a way of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory via boneheaded moves (e.g, committing new offenses while on bond, failing drug tests, displaying obnoxious courtroom behavior, etc.).  Part of my job as a criminal-defense lawyer is to protect clients from themselves.  One thing I look out for is social-networking accounts (Facebook and MySpace in particular).  Clients can hurt their cases by the information they place on social-networking sites.  This is because police and prosecutors may be watching the clients’ online activities.  But, despite the heartburn that Facebook and MySpace can give me, good is possible from these sites.  Scott Ealy shares a story about how Facebook saved a client of his from an arrest warrant.

Jeremy Richey

DUI Urinanalysis: Improper Sample Collection

Case Name: People v. Henry (.pdf)

Court: Appellate Court of Illinois, Third District

Date Decision Filed: 1/19/2010

In this DUI case, a phlebotomist collected the motorist’s urine for testing purposes.   An Illinois regulation provides that “[a] urine sample may be collected by the arresting officer, another law enforcement officer, an agency employee, or a hospital nurse who can authenticate the sample.”  There is no mention of “phlebotomist” in the regulation.   The trial court suppressed the urine-testing results.  The majority opinion of the appellate court remanded the case back to the trial court and ordered it to determine if the regulation was substantially complied with.  “On remand,” said the majority, “the State may rebut the presumption of unreliability with proof that the test results were valid even though the State did not strictly comply with [the regulation].”  The dissenting justice would have reversed (without remand) the ruling of the trial court since, in her view, the list does not exclude unlisted categories of people.

Jeremy Richey


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Jeremy J. Richey, Attorney at Law
© Jeremy J. Richey and The East Central Illinois Criminal Law & DUI Weblog, 2008-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.