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Blood alcohol evidence barred from judge's DUI trial
By Tony Gordon | Daily Herald Staff

David Hall

 

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Published: 3/2/2010 11:51 AM

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Evidence of Circuit Judge David Hall's blood-alcohol level at the time of his 2008 arrest for DUI will be barred from his trial, scheduled to begin next week.

Kane County Circuit Judge F. Keith Brown's ruling Monday that proper procedures were not followed in the testing of Hall's blood is the latest blow to the case against Hall.

In spite of the ruling, and the June 2008 death of arresting officer Jesse Goldsmith, prosecutors said they intend to forge ahead with the trial on Monday.

Hall, 57, of Waukegan, was arrested by Vernon Hills police in the early morning hours of April 28, 2008, and charged with DUI and resisting arrest.

Police used pepper spray on Hall when they said he refused to get out of his car, and he was taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville by ambulance.

Once at the hospital, doctors discovered Hall had an irregular heart beat, and at least three vials of Hall's blood were drawn for testing.

There is no record that police ever asked hospital personnel to test that blood for alcohol content until days after the arrest.

On May 15, a chemist at the Illinois State Police laboratory in Westchester tested the samples and found a blood-alcohol content of 0.107 percent, above the legal definition of intoxication of 0.08 percent.

Hall's attorneys, Douglas Zeit and Jason Mercure of Waukegan, argued in the two-day hearing this week on the blood's admissibility that the blood taken from Hall was protected from the state because it was drawn for medical purposes only.

Assistant Attorney Generals William Elward and Daniel Nikolic countered by saying the defense had offered no evidence the blood was improperly handled or stored, and therefore the results of the test were reliable.

But Brown ruled that state law requires that blood drawn for medical purposes that is later tested for blood alcohol content must be tested by an approved laboratory at the hospital where it was drawn.

Because the blood was tested at the police laboratory in Westchester in violation of that statute, Brown said, it cannot be used as evidence against Hall during the trial.

Hall, who resigned his position as chief circuit judge shortly after his arrest but remains on the bench, faces up to one year in jail if convicted of either offense.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday.