Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Village of Plainfield v. Michael W. Huseman

A couple of days ago, I was pulled over for speeding while I was on my way to court. As soon as the officer asked me for my license and registration, I politely informed him that I was an attorney and that I was on my way to the courthouse.  He was not impressed.  Nor was he aware, apparently, of my privilege from arrest in these situations.  

I knew, however, that I had just invoked my privilege so I did not argue any further with the officer.  I just waited patiently in my car while he walked back to his car.  I was actually hoping that he would write me a ticket, which he did.  He then came back to my car and explained my options regarding paying the ticket by mail or appearing in court.  I didn't mention it to him, but I knew at that time that I would choose the later.

When I got back to the office, I dusted off the old Illinois Criminal Code of 1961.  Just as I remembered, there is a statute titled "Persons Exempt from Arrest."  This law applies to electors during their attendance at election, senators and representatives during the session of the General Assembly, members of the militia during their attendance at musters (wtf?), and judges, attorneys, clerks, sheriffs, and other court officers while attending court and while going to and returning from court.  725 ILCS 5/107-7.  

Normally, an officer faced with an attorney's or judicial officer's timely assertion of the privilege from arrest should obtain the requisite information from the one asserting the privilege, make arrangements for the complaint to be issued later against the accused, and promptly permit the accused to go on his way.  People v, Lynch, 266 Ill.App.3d 294, 297 (2nd Dist. 1994).

A further review of the case law interpreting the statute shows that if the privilege is violated, a motion to dismiss is the proper way to invoke the privilege.  So, if anyone wants to see a copy of my motion, HERE it is.  Just don't ask me how much billable time I have into this already.  I'm pretty sure just paying the ticket would have cost thousands less.  

I will keep you apprised of any developments.

UPDATE: Ticket dismissed. It only took about six months.


Cheryl Stephens said...

mellouDoes the case law support your interpretation that a delay in your travel to receive the ticket amounts to arrest? Sounds like a s t r e t c h.

Michael W. Huseman said...

Excellent observation. The case law is on my side. Most lawyers in those cases were detained for no more than 10 minutes. I was definitely detained and was certainly not free to leave the scene.

office space for rent makati said...

Exemption should be clear only if there's a probable cause for it. Though it may not be well explained to the officer.