Thursday, June 12, 2008

Charges Against Former Lake County Chief Judge May Be Dropped After Death of Arresting Officer

Former Lake County Chief Judge David Hall is facing charges of driving under the influence and resisting arrest following an incident on Illinois Highway 60 on April 26th. Hall was arrested by Vernon Hills officer Jesse Goldsmith, who passed away on June 2nd from a heart attack. According to the Chicago Tribune, prosecutors from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office have indicated that they will speak to the second officer who provided backup to the arresting officer before determining whether or not to continue prosecuting the case. Goldsmith’s death could result in the inadmissibility of the arrest report.

According to Goldsmith’s report, he pulled Hall over after observing Hall weaving over the center line. Hall refused to submit to field sobriety and Breathalyzer tests. Goldsmith’s report states that he detected a strong odor of alcohol from Hall. Hall has entered a plea of not guilty to the charges and has asserted that Goldsmith pepper sprayed him without provocation while Hall was seated in his vehicle. According to Goldsmith’s report, he pepper sprayed Hall after Hall refused to exit his vehicle.

Videotapes of the arrest are not available; one camera had a malfunction, and the hard drive on the other camera was full. Defense attorneys for Hall have filed a motion to quash the arrest report and have filed a motion to toss out his arrest, based on the contention that Goldsmith lacked probable cause to stop Hall’s car.

Goldsmith would likely have testified at Hall’s trial, since arresting officers are routinely called to testify on the events leading to the arrest and on the information contained in their reports. According to various news accounts, the second officer arrived on the scene after Hall had been stopped. The second officer therefore will not be able to testify on Hall’s driving and the events leading to the actual traffic stop.

Will the testimony of the second officer, who did not witness Hall actually driving the vehicle, be sufficient for a conviction for DUI? In Illinois, a police officer does not have to observe you in the act of driving while intoxicated in order for you to be convicted of a DUI. When prosecuting you for drunk driving, the state must prove that you were under the influence of alcohol while you were driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle. However, the elements of the offense must be established by evidence and not by conjecture or speculation. In other words, the State must prove that there is sufficient proof of facts tending to show intoxication and that the defendant was at the same time driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. Circumstantial evidence is sufficient. For example, where a police officer observed a lone occupant of a vehicle slumped over the wheel of a running vehicle at 5:30am, the court ruled that although the officer did not see the person actually driving the vehicle, there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to show the defendant was in actual physical control of the vehicle.

Hall has stepped down as Chief Judge of Lake County, although he remains a judge and has been assigned to administrative duties. To avoid a potential conflict, Hall’s case is being prosecuted by the Illinois Attorney General’s office rather than the Lake County prosecutors. A judge from Kane County has been brought in to hear the case.

It will be interesting to see how the tragic turn of events in this case impacts the case against Hall and any other pending cases in which Officer Goldsmith was the arresting officer. Thanks for reading my blog. If you have a comment, please feel free to post it here, but keep in mind your comments will not be confidential. If you have been accused of a DUI or traffic violation, contact me for a free, confidential consultation.


DEWEY said...

The wheels of injustice were already in motion for Judge David, "DON'T MACE ME BRO!” Hall. All courtesy of the, "NIXON-LIKE", vanishing tape evidence debacle. And now there is an O.J.-like situation with the blood evidence that suggests tampering by 2 judges. Officer Goldsmith's death, while fluky in it's timing, was a sad and unfortunate fact of nature. My condolences to all that were a part of his shortened life. This type of shameful and manipulative waste needs to stop! It makes it very difficult for us, "NORMIES", to maintain any respect for the law and its agents. "WE THE PEOPLE", need a plumber to fix the pipes so we can finally flush all of this type of WASTE! JUSTICE FOR ALL AND JUSTICE FOR JUSTICE HALL! As Captain Jean Luc Picard would say,” Make it so!”

sad and afraid said...

Follow the money. Start with crooked cook county cop Steve Manning, his parents murder, his father's mutilated body in the Hawthorn Center parking lot, messages left at Vernon Hills police Chief Mark H's private desk, and Steve's pay off by lake county to protect Del re, Foreman and whoever. Check out the connection between the mcHenry resident with the poison and Goldsmith's sudden death. Anyone wonder why a deputy coroner was present at his death? Never heard of a coroner being present at time of death. I thought they were summoned after a death has occurred.

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Comments are welcome but please do not leave personal information or specific legal questions in the comment field. If you need legal assistance, the best way to get in touch with me is to call my office at 312.944.3973

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome but please do not leave personal information or specific legal questions in the comment field. If you need legal assistance, the best way to get in touch with me is to call my office at 312.944.3973