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Kafkaesque

Friday, Nov 14, 2014

* Scott Shirey was driving his twins to swimming practice when their car was hit by a distracted driver in an overloaded pickup truck who blew through a stop light. One of the twins died. Wanna guess who was charged?

Even though another driver caused the accident, it was the Island Lake father who faced up to 14 years in prison. He was not impaired at the time, but Shirey, now 52, was charged two months later after a blood test showed traces of marijuana in his system from — according to his attorney — smoking it a month beforehand.

“Nothing can possibly illustrate this idiotic law more than the Scott Shirey case,” defense attorney Patrick O’Byrne said. “It’s incomprehensible how bad the law is. It’s a worst-case scenario, charged with the homicide of your own son for smoking pot that had nothing to do with the accident.”

Yet prosecutors, law enforcement and Attorney General Lisa Madigan unequivocally support the law.

“The legislature has said, ‘If you’re going to consume these illegal drugs — illegally — you can’t drive,’” said Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon, noting the law clearly states drivers testing positive for any amounts of the drug are breaking the law.

Geez, what a dumb law. And what kind of a yahoo reefer madness prosecutor even charges a guy like that?

* The ISBA is trying to correct it

The state bar association has submitted a bill to the state legislature to change the DUI law in Illinois. […]

The Illinois State Bar Association says the DUI law shouldn’t apply to drivers who weren’t impaired during the time of an accident.

Seems to make sense to me.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

27 Comments
  1. - Chef - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    Exact same issue occurred in Champaign County. The sentence came out 4 days ago.

    Snippet:
    Defense attorney Steve Amjad of Champaign argued forcefully that Bretz (def.) was not feeling the effects of the cannabis he had consumed two weeks earlier when the accident happened.

    He also argued that Mr. Jones (man killed) may have been speeding, a factor the judge could not consider at trial but one he could at sentencing, Amjad said.

    http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2014-11-10/judge-sentences-man-8-years-fatal-dui-case.html


  2. - VanillaMan - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 2:48 pm:

    What is to be done in this case is use prosecutorial discretion. Have they ever heard of that?

    Ms. Madigan?

    The prosecutor’s hands are not tied on this case.


  3. - Lefty Lefty - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    So medical marijuana users can’t drive anymore? Somebody should tell them.


  4. - Demoralized - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 2:50 pm:

    Has this moron of a State’s Attorney ever heard of prosecutorial discretion?

    The guy gets hit by somebody blowing through a stoplight. His kid gets killed. And yet this moron prosecutor thought it was a good use of the taxpayers money and his time to charge the guy who got hit and had his kid killed. This prosecutor should get the Moron of the Year award. Does anybody use common sense anymore?


  5. - Not OW - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    VM is absolutely right. This case screamed for prosecutorial discretion. It would be interesting to know what other cases have been prosecuted by that office.

    And I suspect that the guy had no marijuana in his system whatsoever. He may well have had metabolites, which are different than the active ingredient. The presence of a THC metabolite (produced as part of the body breaking down the active ingredient), as opposed to THC itself, is enough to catch you a DUI charge in Illinois. You don’t have to have the active ingredient in your system at all.


  6. - Jimbo - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    I knew a kid who was not impaired at all at the time he was pulled over. Dogs were called, alerted, nothing was found, but a drug test done. He was charged with DUI saying he failed the partial gaze nastygmus test, which is the one used most to justify further testing. I’m not saying cops lie about it, it’s just a bad test. Everyone fails.


  7. - Bobio - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 2:59 pm:

    Ah, Patrick O’Byrne of skunk hat fame, is one of the finest of criminal attorneys because he actually makes sense. How unbelievably cruel to do to the father. Thank you for this post


  8. - Anonymous - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 3:01 pm:

    VM, the law is pretty clear on this issue. Having said that, stay tuned, campers. The 4th Dist. Appellate Court heard arguments in People v. Dana Hasselbring, 4-13-1128. Same issue. Oral arguments were held on 10/15/14 and a decision is forthcoming.


  9. - Westward - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 3:02 pm:

    sorry for the anon post, that’s me re: appellate court case.


  10. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    Who the hell is the prosecutor on this case?

    Pardon my language, but deciding to prosecute this man in light of the death of his own child is the peak of stupidity and callousness. You are supposed to be an intelligent human being, not a drone.


  11. - OneMan - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    Think there was one like it in Kendall county a couple of years ago..


  12. - Anonymous - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 3:20 pm:

    I’ve listened to Matt Jones speech on prosecutorial discretion in committee more times than I can count - usually I end up agreeing with him.

    However, based on the way the Shirey case has been handled, along with the Bretz case in Champaign prosecutors have demonstrated they don’t deserve such a powerful and one-sided statute. It’s time to change the law.


  13. - Old and In The Way - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 3:21 pm:

    Westward-
    Thank you for the post! I was about to post it myself. Glad there are others out there watching this. For those who rant prosecutorial discretion get a clue. About the first time a prosecutor passes on a case like this some righteous anti-pot nut primaries him or better yet vilifies him in the local paper. It’s not that easy or that cut and dried. Better to amend a bad law.


  14. - Westward - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 3:21 pm:

    The blame, to me, rests on slow legislation and backwards judges who don’t have the nuts to make rational laws. I’m still blown away that smoking pot is illegal but you can go out and drink your life away. More crimes induced by alcohol intoxicated than pot smoking. It’s asinine to the greatest degree. What the hell is wrong with so-called “intelligent” people? SMH.


  15. - low level - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 3:22 pm:

    FKA- we agree for once. Idiotic and stupid. And the AG should really take another look at the facts here and not simply the politics.


  16. - Norseman - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    Thanks Old for clarifying the point.


  17. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 3:27 pm:

    == About the first time a prosecutor passes on a case like this some righteous anti-pot nut primaries him or better yet vilifies him in the local paper. ==

    Better to lock a man up for the death of his child at another person’s hand… than to risk a primary challenge or an editorial in the local paper?

    == Get a clue ==, indeed.


  18. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 3:32 pm:

    My last post may have been a bit strong, @Old and In The Way, and was not intended to single you out. We agree that the simplest way to address this is through improvements to the law itself.

    I still just cannot believe the choice made by this prosecutor, regardless of circumstances.


  19. - justthefacts - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    DUI law in this country is draconian. The National Motorist Association has documented this:

    http://www.motorists.org/dui/myths


  20. - Just Observing - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 3:43 pm:

    This is the type of government policy and execution that makes my blood boil.


  21. - Jeff Trigg - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 3:45 pm:

    Illinois Democrats are disgusting. Change the law now.


  22. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 3:55 pm:

    low level - First sign of the apocalypse? Or just an indication this is such a boneheaded and clear situation even we can agree on this?

    Either way, it is nice being able to say “I agree with low level on this one” for a change, lol. Have a good one.


  23. - jake - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 4:05 pm:

    We just had a sentencing under this law in Champaign County, see

    http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2014-11-10/judge-sentences-man-8-years-fatal-dui-case.html

    I agree, the law has to change.


  24. - Abraham Froman - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 4:10 pm:

    Double tragedy, very sad for the father. The law needs to be changed and the courts need to be able to take into account the entire situation.

    High Times just covered the congressional hearing on stoned driving back in August

    http://www.hightimes.com/read/nhtsa-official-affirms-little-known-about-stoned-driving


  25. - Ahoy! - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 4:37 pm:

    –Better to lock a man up for the death of his child at another person’s hand… than to risk a primary challenge or an editorial in the local paper?–

    I didn’t think your post was too harsh at all, well said. What about the rational people who think the prosecutor is an idiot? Reasoned people write letters to the editor and run for office too.


  26. - MrJM - Friday, Nov 14, 14 @ 4:44 pm:

    “Illinois Democrats are disgusting.”

    Ever wonder why your advocacy isn’t more effective, Jeff?

    – MrJM


  27. - Viola - Wednesday, Dec 3, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

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    I will be sure to ƅookmark it and return to learn extra
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