The Black Robe Pass

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on February 20th, 2012

In my last post (The DUI Double Standard Continues), I commented on how cops commonly get a free pass when they’re caught driving drunk.  I should have added that this double standard is applied to judges, too….


DUI Charges Dropped Against Judge

Willowbrook, IL.  Feb. 15
– Charges were dropped Wednesday against a veteran Cook County judge accused of drunken driving last fall in Willowbrook, his attorney said.

Judge James Gavin was charged with misdemeanor DUI after police pulled him over Oct. 28 for using the shoulder to pass another motorist on southbound Illinois Route 83 after he had exited a tobacco store.

Police alleged that Gavin, 55, smelled of alcohol and failed an eye-gaze test before refusing to submit to other field sobriety and blood-alcohol testing. His license initially was suspended for his refusal to submit to the tests. But, on Dec. 7, DuPage County Judge Liam Brennan ordered that Gavin’s license be returned, ruling police lacked sufficient evidence to stop Gavin.

On Wednesday, at a hearing in which the defense sought to quash the arrest and suppress evidence, Brennan ruled that the act of driving on the shoulder absent other evidence of impairment was insufficient for the case to continue.

“The problem I have is all the other things that we typically look for to support a DUI arrest simply are not here,” said Brennan, according to a transcript provided by the defense. “Mr. Gavin was polite, oriented to time, place and person. I don’t think in the context of all the other things we expect to see and don’t see that there was reasonable grounds for his arrest.”…


Hmmmm…."The police lacked sufficient evidence to stop" the judge?  Since when is passing on a shoulder insufficient evidence to stop and ticket a driver?  

And "the act of driving on the shoulder absent other evidence of impairment was insufficient for the case to continue"?  Uh, what about smelling of alcohol, failing the "eye-gaze" nystagmus field sobriety test, refusing to take any more field sobriety tests and refusing all blood-alcohol testing?  And I’m pretty sure a few other things which are standard in any cop’s arrest report weren’t mentioned — slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, etc.  And what about the fact that a refusal to submit to testing is legally admissible as evidence of consciousness of guilt? 

Oh, right.  The judge must have been sober: he was polite, knew what time it was, knew where he was, and knew who he was.  Incredible.

For other examples of judges getting free passes, see When Judges Judge JudgesDUI Double Standard Continues, When Judges Protect Their OwnWho Will Guard the Guardians, and Who Judges the Judges?.
 

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