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Tough New Policy for Prosecutor DUIs

Posted Jun 6, 2007 12:53 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Prosecutors traditionally work hard and play hard. But because they enforce the law, they should be held to a higher standard, many believe. For that reason, prosecutors in Kane County, Illinois, will hereafter face disciplinary action, up to and including termination, if they are found to have been drinking and driving, even if they are not charged with driving under the influence.

That's what the Kane County State's Attorney announced yesterday, following the death of a prosecutor in another suburban Chicago county, in a drunk driving accident that seriously injured another motorist, and a subsequent threat of litigation against that county. John Barsanti announced the policy to his prosecutors and office staff last week, reports the Chicago Tribune.

He was reacting to the May 11 death of Jane Radostits, 46, who was deputy chief of prosecutions for DuPage County, after what the Tribune described in an earlier story as a "boozy lunch" with colleagues, as this ABAJournal.com post describes. Her blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.

Barsanti says he's not aware of any similar problem in his office, but noted prosecutors historically have tended to party hearty. He worried about how to be fair to prosecutors under his command who may violate his new policy down the road, but realized the buck stops with him, the Tribune reports. "I'm the one that got elected. I get paid to make decisions, and I will make that decision," Barsanti says.

The newspaper could not reach the DuPage County State's Attorney for comment.

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