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November 2009 Archives

Unfortunately there is no shortage of repeat DUI offenders throughout Chicago whose revoked licences still are not enough to keep them from driving while drunk. The latest (Daily Herald) is a pair of DUI convictions -- numbers 13 and 14 (he got his 14th before the arraignment date for number 13) -- which will put Crystal Lake resident Daniel Munoz behind bars for the next decade.

The 56-year-old man is no stranger to the big house and has spent time in prison for DUI convictions twice before. Judge Joseph Condon offered words of both encouragement and disappointment at Munoz's sentencing hearing:

I think you have the power to avoid that behavior. I'm not optimistic about you exercising that power.

DUI Cop Sued For Targeting Gay Drivers

Not to be outdone by the Chicago police officer charged with falsifying arrest records to boost his DUI arrest numbers while earning extra overtime pay, Chicago officer Richard Fiorito is under fire for allegedly targeting gay and lesbian motorists (NBC Chicago). 

Like John Haleas, referenced above, Fiorito was honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for his impressive-but-tainted 313 DUI arrests between Jan. 1, 2007 and June 6, 2008. The case against Haleas was dropped after the prosecution against him fell apart due to procedural errors.

Fiorito, however, is looking down the barrel of 37 lawsuits alleging he targeted gay and lesbian motorists and issued false DUI arrests. The suit claims he waited outside of gay and lesbian bars, followed patrons as they left, and then apprehended them on falsified evidence. 

DuPage County Judge Thomas C. Dudgeon ruled (Sun-Times) recently that the Illinois law allowing police to seize the vehicles of repeat DUI offenders runs counter to the state's constitution. Anti-drunk driving groups were left fuming.

While the judge says the law was overly broad and unfairly impacted co-owners of cars or where the repeat offense is only a misdemeanor, MADD Illinois executive director Susan McKeigue insists the seizure law is crucial (as quoted in the Sun-Times article):

Suspected South Side DUI Kills Two

A large number of DUI cases involve motorists who perhaps drank just one too-many beers and hit that magic number of .08 on the breathalyzer. There's a fine line between .07 and .08, but a huge gulf between receiving a police warning and going through the process of a DUI arrest.

But then you read about drunk driving rampages where the motorist was virtually pickled in alcohol and just a sip away from unconsciousness. When they hit and kill innocent drivers who happen to be on the road, it's a wake up call not even the highest-paid Chicago DUI attorney could erase.

It's even more of a shame when allegedly drunk drivers who take lives with their carelessness walk away with minimal injuries, as was the case with 52-year-old Darnell Wells.