But first, the Quotation du jour:
"When an attorney arrives intoxicated at the prison for a legal visit, the policy shall be that he shall be escorted out of the facility. If correctional officers assess the attorney as too impaired to drive, the Madison County Sheriff shall be called."
-- Policy memo taped to the wall in the public lobby of Limestone Correctional Facility, Harvest, Alabama, where the state warehouses HIV-positive prisoners. The carceral certainty in the directive's first word [emphasis added, of course] continued to make the investigators giggle a year after the first time we read it on the wall.
Now, the story: The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reports that the former chief judge of St. Clair County (Illinois) Circuit Court, and a colleague, face judicial misconduct complaints for a December 2006 car wreck attributed to drunk driving.
According to the Complaint [PDF warning!] by the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board, Judge Patrick M. Young started drinking before a St. Louis Rams game, kept drinking till about 5, and wound up with eight beers and two bloody marys in his honor's blood.
His boss, then Chief Judge Jan V. Fiss, was two beers shy, but keepin' up in the bloody mary department, according to the complaint.
(Aside: The best bloody mary in the whole world is at The Twisted Spoke in Chicago.)
Then, the judicial inquiry says, Young got behind the wheel while Fiss had open alcohol in the passenger seat.
Bureaucratic prose can be obtuse, so it's hard to tell quite what happened next, except that "the collision resulted in an injury to the other motorist and damage to that motorist's vehicle."
The best part of the statement of facts [again w/ the PDF warning!] is Number 8:
"...respondent Fiss exited respondent Young's vehicle, pulled an open can of beer from the front seat, and poured in on the ground. A Belleville police officer would testify that respondent Fiss would make several attempts to conceal the can within the front of his jacket before finally succeeding in placing it within an inside jacket pocket."
Young also refused a blood alcohol test.
Young was convicted in a stipulated bench trial the following March of driving under the influence of alcohol, 625 ILCS 5/11-501.
Fiss pleaded guilt to illegal transportation of alcohol by a passenger, 625 ILCS 5/11-502, a couple weeks later.
The hammer comes down: Slowly, though. And maybe not too hard. Fiss stepped down as chief judge, but still oversees a felony call. Whether any DUIs are among them is, erm, unclear.
Young presides over civil cases.
"I believe it's likely" that Fiss will agree to a stipulation and joint recommendation of discipline with the judicial inquiry board, Fiss's lawyer, Philip J. Rarick, told the Law Bulletin. Rarick is a former Illinois Supreme Court justice.
Clyde L. Kuehn, a retired Illinois Fifth District Appellate Court justice who represents Young, said something to the Law Bulletin that sounds like Demosthenes talking with pebbles in his mouth.
Again with bureaucratese. Oh, the prolixity! But the corporate media seem to think the judges won't lose their jobs.
Impatient non-bloggers, non-law-nerds are pulling faces and looking at their watches behind me, because everybody's big goal in life tonight is get sober as a judge, here.
Tags: law, policy, judicial misconduct, Limestone Correctional Facility, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, St. Clair County, Illinois, Judge Patrick M. Young, Judge Jan V. Fiss, Judicial Inquiry Board, St. Louis Rams, bloody marys, Chicago, Chicago Word, Quotation du jour, QDJ, Twisted Spoke, Handlebar, bike messengers,