Image via WikipediaA few weeks ago the Chicago Tribune suggested in this article, "Judges don't slow 100 mph speeders" that Illinois judges, and to an extent, defense attorneys, were responsible for excessive leniency toward chronic and dangerous drivers. It is suggested in the article that in some counties, judges tend to give breaks to "dangerous drivers" who appear with attorneys:
Unfortunately, the the article is based upon incorrect facts and assumptions that call into question the conclusions reached therein. For example:
Prosecutors in DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties insist they rarely accept plea deals calling for supervision for people driving 100 mph or faster. Most blame judges for agreeing to it.
In DuPage County, where 62 percent of triple-digit speeders get the deal, State's Attorney Joe Birkett said those speeders usually impress judges by getting attorneys.
"Unfortunately, the mere fact they step up with a lawyer, the judge will take into consideration that this person is taking this seriously," Birkett said.
Judges in those counties, for their part, say they look at every case individually. They don't want to be overly harsh. Convictions can cost a driver his or her license, which could mean losing a job. And, judges often face a heavy volume of cases, with pressure to move through them quickly and assign fines.
- Contrary to the claim in the article, sentences of court supervision do not keep the tickets ‘off’ the drivers’ records--in fact, the Tribune was easily able to locate the records of drivers who received this sentence
- The article refers to people convicted of speeding as "dangerous drivers," but in the article, the Tribune was unable to locate any evidence that drivers who received a sentence of court supervision had been in an accident after receiving that sentence