MADD’s Court Monitoring Program enlists court monitors to observe and document what happens in the courtroom during drunk driving case proceedings. Court monitoring enhances transparency and accountability within the criminal justice system and reduces the likelihood of repeat drunk driving offenses. A key component of court monitoring is promoting public interest in the justice system and creating awareness of the outcomes of drunk driving cases. Court monitoring is a proven tool to affect the adjudication process and is an effective countermeasure to reduce drunk driving*. Court monitoring on the local scale can make an impact on the handling of drunk driving cases just by their mere presence in the courtroom. MADD’s team of staff and volunteers track individual cases, compile information about each case and create reports regarding case
disposition. Court monitors let prosecutors and judges know - in a non-adversarial way - that MADD is watching drunk driving cases and looking for trends in how these cases are handled. Through this process, MADD seeks to maintain strong partnerships with members of the judicial system. * Goodwin, A., Thomas, L., Kirley, B., Hall, W., O’Brien, N., & Hill, K. (2015, November). Countermeasures that work: A highway safety countermeasure guide for State highway safety offices, Eighth edition. (Report No. DOT HS 812 202). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The court monitors track drunk driving cases in the courts of their respective counties. The monitors are physically present for court settings and acquire case information from courtroom observation and, when necessary, from researching online databases in the event a monitor is not able to be present at the proceeding. The data is then entered into the MADD National Court Monitoring Database for reporting purposes.
This report is designed to present observations and trends relative to the counties monitored, and are not intended to be a statistical analysis. State Report (reporting period: 9/1/2017 - 9/1/2018)
160 361 163
Total Cases Monitored
Overall Disposition Detail
0 0 0
0 0 0
0 0 0
0 0 0
19 14 14
822 268 99 231
169 385 107 288 148 2,867
The chart above reflects a case study of data for the following counties — Boone, De Kalb, Du Page, Kane, Lee, McHenry, Sangamon, St. Clair, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago
Blood Alcohol Concentration
*Numbers on Blood Alcohol Content are based on cases where data on BAC was present
Key Findings and Observations Illinois’s court monitors observe misdemeanor DUI cases in the courts of Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, DuPage, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lee, Madison, McHenry, Ogle, Pike, Sangamon, St. Clair, Stephenson, Tazewell, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago counties. McLean and Peoria counties are in their first year with the MADD Court Monitoring Program and therefore will not be used for analysis at this time. In 2019, Court monitors will begin to monitor LaSalle, Macon, Adams, Champaign, Vermilion, Rock Island and Williamson Counties. These data will provide critical benchmarks for drunk driving cases in each county. Illinois court monitors are physically present for court settings and acquire case information from courtroom observation. The data is then entered into the MADD National Court Monitoring Database for reporting purposes. Through the examination of data from 2017-2018, the following are general observations for the following topics: • The added charge of Child Endangerment • The added charge for various Traffic Violations • The Average Case Length • SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring) Child Endangerment Charges
Average Case Length Based on the data, court monitors have noticed that the average case lasts around one to three years to bring a case to adjudication in the following counties: DeKalb, Kane and McHenry. However, some counties may experience delays based on caseloads, defendant failure to appear, or even a swifter pace related to plea agreements that offer amended charges, including reckless driving. Sangamon County noted that several cases took over 2 years to get to final sentencing; many relating to defendant failure to appear in court. Failure to appear can increase the number of case continuances. Tazewell County noted that most cases from arrest date to sentencing are just under a year and usually not more than two years. DeKalb noted that cases seemed to be moving along much quicker in 2018 than in previous years. SCRAM Many counties (DeKalb and Kane County) noted that SCRAM was used for DUI defendants. SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring) bracelets are ordered to be worn by felony DUI defendants as a condition of bond. Also, both the state’s attorney’s office as well as some municipal prosecutors use SCRAM as a tool in their arsenal in misdemeanor cases. McHenry County noted that SCRAM bracelets are often not ordered for DUI cases.
DeKalb, Tazewell, Kane and Sangamon County noted that the state’s attorney’s office in these areas actively pursue child endangerment charges when a child has been in the vehicle with a defendant. Monitors have seen assistant state’s attorneys passionately argue for sanctions pertaining to child endangerment during blind pleas. The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office has continued to pursue child endangerment charges, when appropriate. In fact, they will pursue the charges even if the DUI occurred in a municipality that has permission to prosecute its own cases. More often than not, some sort of sentencing will be added to the DUI due to the extenuating circumstances of having a child in the car. Community service is often a required sanction for the charge of child endangerment. In addition, the state might also include parenting classes as part of the sentencing parameters. Traffic Violations Will County noted that traffic violations issued at arrest for a DUI are often dismissed or defendants receive a Nolle Prosequi for the added charges. On the other hand, Pike County noticed that most traffic violations are not dismissed totally. Both counties noted that Nolle Prosequi is often used for traffic violations.
Each year, more than 1.4 million arrests are made for the crime of drunk driving. What happens after those arrests depends on the criminal justice system. How do we know if justice is being served? By being there to witness the process. As a Court Monitor, you have the opportunity to get an insider’s perspective on the justice system while making a vital contribution to the community. Your presence in court and the data you collect will help make sure our laws are upheld and the criminal justice system does what it is intended to do: keep us safe. Join MADD’s Court Monitoring Program EFFECTIVE JUSTICE THROUGH VOLUNTEERING
Volunteer Court Monitors are needed to:
Remind law enforcement that MADD wants to see their cases prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law
Track conviction rates and sanctions
Identify trends in offender age, gender, and blood alcohol concentration level
Notify judicial system of deficiencies
Create public outcry when weaknesses go unaddressed.
For information about how to volunteer in your state, please find your local MADD office at madd.org.
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