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Attorney: Investigation of Aurora police officer a factor in DUI case

Updated: October 18, 2012 8:29PM

An Aurora police officer whose handling of a May drunken driving arrest drew scrutiny is now the subject of an internal investigation, according to the attorney for the DUI suspect.

Defence Attorney Kathleen Colton made the comment during a Thursday hearing at which Judge Thomas Stanfa shot down Colton’s attempts for court-imposed sanctions against the officer and to keep a special prosecutor on the case involving Aurora resident John Holdren. The Beacon-News is not naming the officer because no charges have been filed.

According to court records, the officer stopped Holdren near Galena Boulevard and West Park Place around 5:30 p.m.on May 22. The officer wrote in the DUI complaint that Holdren, 67, had glassy, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and smelled of alcohol. Holdren registered a .147 blood-alcohol content level — the legal limit in Illinois is .08 — and told the officer he had had two or three glasses of wine.

The officer gave Holdren a warning to motorist, which includes information about a mandatory suspension of his drivers license, but failed to enter two dates required by the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office. The Secretary of State’s Office, in a letter dated May 31, later notified police and the Kane County Circuit Clerk that Holdren’s license could not be suspended because of the errors, documents show.

In mid-June, Colton filed to have the suspension rescinded, and Stanfa granted the request.

Colton alleges the officer approached Holdren after that hearing and made derogatory comments toward him. The officer later refiled the paperwork in an attempt to harass Holdren, Colton maintains. She sought a special prosecutor because of the officer’s actions, and because of the relationship between the officer and the state’s attorney’s office.

“(The officer) is an arresting officer who regularly appears in other cases in this courtroom,” Colton said, adding, “By attacking my motion for sanctions, they (prosecutors) essentially are representing the officer.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth Flood countered that Stanfa had no jurisdiction to issue sanctions, such as barring the officer’s testimony at Holdren’s DUI trial, because it amounts to a civil matter unrelated to the criminal case. Flood also said it could become problematic if judges appointed a special prosecutor every time a defendant accused a police officer of misconduct. Stanfa agreed, and reversed his earlier decision to appoint a special prosecutor.

After the ruling, Colton told Stanfa she did not want to schedule the case for a bench trial until after the internal investigation was complete and she subpoenaed documents relating to the outcome. Stanfa set a Nov. 21 status hearing, by which time Colton said she hoped to have an update on the investigation’s timing.

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