DUI and McHenry. Is the extra spending worth it?

It’s getting weird in the DUI world.  If you haven’t been paying attention, DUI arrests are on a sharp decline.  They were way down a few years ago, and they are currently down from even those numbers.  You’d think that would be a good thing, right?  You’d think police departments would beating their chests and issuing press releases touting how their cutting edge enforcement efforts have finally worked. Or talking about how the smoking ban in bars has cut down on DUI. Or telling us how great this brutal winter was at keeping drunks off the road.

Apparently, they’re not.  Some of them are doing quite the opposite… they’re telling us how they need to change the way they do things. They’re telling us how they need to spend more money.  They’re telling us, loud and proud, in this article today: Continue reading “DUI and McHenry. Is the extra spending worth it?”

McHenry County Branch Court is Closing. Interesting.

If you’re not aware, McHenry County actually holds court in two “courthouses”.  There’s the main courthouse at 2200 N. Seminary (right on Route 47) in Woodstock. There’s also a “branch” court that meets on Wednesdays in the City of McHenry village board meeting room.

Most counties have these branch courts.  In fact, most counties have many more of them than McHenry County.  The de-centralized court systems are more convenient to the public.  As they often times pop up in odd, inexpensive-to-rent places, the costs to operate can be relatively low.  How much can it really cost to use village board meeting rooms (like Carpentersville and Elgin branch courts, Mchenry branch court), strip mall store fronts (there used to be a whole bunch of these in Lake County) or VFW Halls (like Downer’s Grove Field court) to rent?   Continue reading “McHenry County Branch Court is Closing. Interesting.”

McHenry County might have the most inefficient system for DUI cases anywhere ever.

It might be impossible to come up with a less efficient way to handle DUI than they do in Woodstock.  Seriously.  I can’t think of one… and I’ve seen cases go through the system in a lot of counties aside from McHenry County.

Imagine, if you will, that you got a DUI.  Of course, it’s going to be the last DUI you get because every time somebody gets a DUI it’s always their last.  There are actually two parts to your case… the criminal DUI charges and the suspension of your license (why they are separate is another story, but that’s beyond the control of the courts).

You’re “actually innocent” so you want to challenge the license suspension and get a date set for a trial as soon as possible… because you want this thing out of your life.  So, you file the paperwork to challenge the license suspension before your first court date.  What would happen in an efficient system?

In places like Cook County or DuPage County you show up on that date and they will, most likely, have a hearing on the license suspension right there. You may even get to have a trial depending on what kind of trial you’d like.  In places like Kane County, they are going to take your DUI file, set the case over on a Friday- because that’s when they do all the license cases- and you will likely have a court date set even quicker than the one the police gave you for the DUI.

In McHenry County, though?  The first thing that will happen in McHenry County is that they will make a special file just for your license suspension.  Then the clerk will set that file on a special court date where your DUI criminal case won’t even be up in court.  Your DUI court date will likely be the following week (or the one after that).

Why do they make an extra file in McHenry County, and then give you an extra date when your DUI isn’t even scheduled?  Because, in the likely event that you will demand a jury trial on your DUI case before your license suspension is decided, they will assign the criminal file to a different judge on a different floor on a different day of the week… meaning it’s not uncommon for somebody to have to go to court in Woodstock on two different days in two different courtrooms in the same week, for the same DUI arrest.

You know why they do that?  

I don’t. I have no clue. It makes no sense.

Remember that the next time you hear somebody whining about how defendant’s drag stuff along and clog up the system. Maybe the system is clogging itself. It sure is in McHenry County