A driving under the influence charge comes with many headaches – and that’s only dealing with the court system. Going through the court system due to a DUI charge can cost you days and weeks while you wait on proceedings, but it can be worse than that as the Cook County Court System in Illinois recently demonstrated with a DUI case that only recently closed after ten years.
After ten years of deliberation, court date stays, and perhaps some incompetence – a DUI case was recently closed in Cook County, Illinois. The case stems from a 2007 incident in which Reginald Burrell of Riverdale, Illinois was charged with aggravated DUI and reckless homicide after Burrell struck and killed pedestrian Anthony Joyner. Due to the violence of the impact, it was several hours before police located Joyner’s body and a severed foot. Burrell initially denied being the driver of the vehicle but eventually did confess. Though Burrell was found to be over the legal limit of .08 DUI and marijuana was found in his system his defense argued that Joyner was intoxicated himself and caused the accident by stepping out in front of oncoming traffic.
Matthew Martin, a Denver-based attorney, let us know that this case finally closed on June 28 with Burrell taking a plea deal for two years of probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor DUI charge. Burrell told a reporter, “I want to get on with my life.”
The trial made it to a full ten years through a combination of more than 100 continuances that were agreed on by both the defense and the prosecution. There is no note if the presiding judge ever challenged the continuances. The defense had also filed several complex pretrial emotions that allowed evidence to be suppressed, further delaying the trial. In a statement released Illinois State Attorney Kim Foxx noted that the languishing trial was “unacceptable” and that her administration would perform a “systematic review of the office’s longest pending cases to ensure that situations like this do not re-occur.”
Joyner’s sister Elaine Joyner sat through more than 100 court appearances but was not pleased with the outcome. My brother was a good guy,” said Joyner. “He didn’t deserve to be killed the way he was. It wasn’t a gun, but it was still a killing. Drunk driving is a crime. It’s not an accident at all. A misdemeanor for taking someone’s life. Justice was not served.”