My Life Story by Leah Johnson







One unforgettable August night I answered a knock on my door. I met terror head-on as the police informed me of a car crash involving my beautiful 21 year old daughter, Laura, and her girlfriend. In one senseless act of callous irresponsibility, both of their lives were destroyed by a drunk driver who so ignorantly chose to get behind the wheel of a 3,000 lb speeding bullet. Continue reading

The 7 Deadly Sins of Alcohol

7 Deadly Types of Cancer

Directly Linked

to Alcohol Consumption

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By now, you’re probably aware that alcohol can do some pretty significant damage to your body. Drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol can and will do some lasting damage to your system if you’re not careful. Of course, almost everyone is going to have a drink here and there. Aside from the well-known issues associated with alcohol consumption, you should know that drinking has a direct relationship with one of the deadliest diseases in the world: cancer.
Scientists have known that there is a relationship between alcohol consumption and cancer for a long time. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest alcohol is carcinogenic, but we don’t often think of it as being as destructive or dangerous as other substances like tobacco. A new study, conducted by researcher Jennie Connor at the department of preventive and social medicine at the University of Otago in New Zealand, suggests that it’s time we take the carcinogenic properties of alcohol more seriously.

 Alcohol as a carcinogen — further evidence

Published in the journal Addiction, Connor’s research shows that drinking is more or less a direct cause of no less than seven types of cancers. Again, we already knew alcohol consumption increased the likelihood of a cancer diagnosis, but Connor’s work says that 5.8% of the world’s cancer deaths can be attributed to drinking — a figure we didn’t have before.

“There is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites in the body and probably others. Current estimates suggest that alcohol-attributable cancers at these sites make up 5.8% of all cancer deaths world-wide,” the study concludes. “Confirmation of specific biological mechanisms by which alcohol increases the incidence of each type of cancer is not required to infer that alcohol is a cause.”

For more details, be sure to read through the entire brief. But for the specific types of cancers Connor’s study points out, read on.

1. Liver cancer

Drinking does damage to your liver, there was never much doubt about that. And we already knew that booze can have a potent carcinogenic effect on the liver. This study simply adds another log to the proverbial bonfire, as far as evidence goes. If you care about your liver, it would serve you well to moderate your drinking habits.

2. Colon cancer

Colon health isn’t something you hear much about, especially compared to all the campaigns focusing on breast or prostate health awareness. But aside from cancers of the lung, colon cancer is the second-most-deadly form you can be diagnosed with. For that reason, you’ll want to take the risks very seriously.

3. Breast cancer

If you’ve been on Earth for any amount of time over the past decade or so, you’ve seen all of the work being done to raise awareness about breast cancer, and the risks and dangers associated with it. Well, it turns out that drinking and alcohol consumption are one of those risks.

4. Rectal cancer

Cancers of the rectum are closely associated with and are sometimes synonymous to those of the bowel and the colon. But they’re not exactly the same, and there are some differences in the treatment courses for each. If you’d rather not deal with either, staying away from booze should be added to your list.

5. Larynx cancer

When you drink, you’re putting your larynx in harm’s way — almost directly. Your larynx is what many people may commonly call a voice box. It’s the structure in your throat that holds your vocal cords and passages to your lungs. Needless to say, it’s pretty important, and if you want to avoid a diagnosis, steer clear of alcohol.

6. Oesophageal cancer

As far as your neck and throat goes, the larynx isn’t the only biological structure in danger from your drinking habits. The esophagus, or the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach, is also at risk. As booze passes from bottle to belly, it seems there’s some real damage being done.

7. Oropharyngeal cancer

Last but not least, the oropharynx is another part of the throat and digestive system that’s put at serious risk by drinking alcohol. The base of your tongue, your tonsils, and other parts of your throat are all a part of the oropharynx. If you can’t imagine life without those, then cutting out alcohol would be a wise choice — at least according to the available research.

7 Deadly Types of Cancer

Directly Linked

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to Alcohol Consumption

Let’s Make a Deal – Terry Ekl Edition


This gallery contains 5 photos.

Let’s Make a Deal – Terry Ekl Edition This is your wake-up call! Vehicular homicides are enabled by the DuPage County Criminal Defense System: the same system responsible for the murder of my daughter and her friend. Terry Ekl and … Continue reading

This Will Make You Ill

Driver in Deadly

Crash Never had

License Revoked

despite Many Violations

(Take the time to read this)

Des Plaines crash

Repeat Offender Hall of Shame

Repeat Offender

Hall of Shame


WARNING: We urge you to visit the traffic court in your county and observe the proceedings on how drunk drivers and repeat offenders are getting plea bargained back out on the streets – to endanger you and your children, as you see on this site. At least once a week.

There is nothing that takes a higher priority. The courts belong to you, your tax dollars fund their salaries. They are your employees. Leah Johnson.

Be aware through Citizen’s Advocates 4 Justice web site that your constitutional rights are being violated by your criminal justice system as you can see from their lengthy arrest records below. Your 14th amendment to due process has been violated. This has been going on for years unbeknownst to us. There is no higher crime than violating their sacred oath to uphold your constitutional rights to protect your family. (People have said it’s mass murder) Many of these tragedies were preventable if we had responsible and ethical government. It is time we incarcerate these political criminals for all the justice denied to law abiding citizens.

To honor the memory of Laura and Dina and all others whose lives were destroyed needlessly, sign our petitions for power of the people. Approximately 50,000 drivers are charged with driving while intoxicated in Illinois per year. Of those, an estimated 20% are repeat offenders. Calculated, that means 10,000 people annually are charged with more than one DUI violation. Statistics show that the percentage of repeat offenders increases to 33% nationally. It is frightening to think of what happens when those figures are compounded year after year.

We are sharing our highways with hundreds of thousands of repeat drunk drivers – potential time bombs just waiting to explode, endangering the lives of those around us. Drunk driving has been called the nation’s most frequently committed violent crime, yet light sentences and dismissed charges continue to prevail. Our own criminal justice system is enabling these criminals to strike again and again. How many lives will be destroyed before something is done?  Citizen’s Advocates 4 Justice is ready to take action, but we need your support.

Click on the link below:

Drunk driving repeat offenders

Repeat Offender Hall of Shame

Laws and Cases: How to Do Legal Research

Laws and Cases:

How to Do Legal Research

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Answers & Explanations

Definitions — The Jargon Used in Legislation

As with every other area of life, legislation comes with some jargon that, once mastered, should come in handy when you’re trying to understand the law. Here are some terms you may encounter when researching federal or state statutes:

Annotated Codes: Publications that combine state or federal statutes with summaries of cases that have interpreted the statutes. With a few rare exceptions, annotated codes are only available in a law library or on subscriber-based legal websites.

Bill: What a statute is called when it is introduced in Congress or a state legislature. When a bill is passed by both houses and the President or a state governor, it becomes a law and will usually be published according to its bill number in a publication called “Session Laws” or “Statutes at Large.”

Bill Number: Bills are referred to by number. The number really has two parts: the abbreviation for the specific wing of the legislature in which the bill is introduced, as in HB (house bill) or SB (senate bill), and the number which identifies the particular bill, as in HB 1507.

Chapter: A term that identifies a group of related state or federal statutes that have been gathered together within a particular Title or Code.

Chaptered: A bill becomes chaptered if it is approved by the legislature and signed by the governor.

Citation: Formal references to statutes that describe where they are published. For instance, the citation 23 Vt. Stat. Ann. § 1185 tells us that this cited statute is Section 1185 of Title 23 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated. And the federal citation 42 U.S.C.§ 1395 tells us that this cited federal statute can be found in Title 42, Section 1395 of the United States Code.Code: In general, the term “code” refers to the main body of statutes of the jurisdiction (for example, the United States Code or the Arizona Revised Statutes). The statutes that are published in a state’s code are grouped by subject matter into Titles, as in Title 11 of the United States Code (bankruptcy laws). In some states, including California, Texas and New York, the term “code” may be used both to refer to the overall collection of statutes and the separate subject matter groupings of statutes, as in “Penal Code,” “Family Code,” or “Probate Code.”

Engrossed: A bill is engrossed when a legislative body (such as the House) votes to approve it and sends it on to the other legislative body (such as the Senate).

Enrolled: A bill is enrolled when both houses of a legislative body have voted to approve it and it has been sent to the executive branch (the President or a state governor) for signing.

Legislative history: Assorted materials generated in the course of creating legislation, including committee reports, analysis by legislative counsel, floor debates, and a history of actions taken. Legislative history for recently enacted federal statutes can be found at Legislative history for state statutes is sparse and not easily found on the Web.

Session Laws: When bills become law, they are published in a text according to the session of the legislature that enacted them into law. For instance, laws passed by the California legislature in 1999 were passed in the 1999-2000 session. The individual laws in the publication for a particular session (such as Session Laws 1999-2000) can be found according to their original bill number.

Statutes at Large: See Session Laws.

Statutory Schemes: Groups of statutes that relate to one particular subject. For instance, all of the federal statutes that make up Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (which forbids employment discrimination and sexual harassment) are known as a “statutory scheme” because they are all related to each other.

Title: In the federal system and in some states, “title” is used to denote a collection of state or federal statutes by subject matter, as in Title 11 of the U.S. Code for bankruptcy statutes or Title 42 of the U.S. Code for civil rights statutes. Title is also used to denote a group of statutes within a larger set of statutes, as in Title IX of the Civil Rights Act (which itself is located in Title 42 of the U.S. Code).

For more definitions, see Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.

The Role of Statutes in our Legal System

When people talk about “what the law says” or “what the law is,” they are generally referring to statutes (sometimes called codes). Statutes, which are created by the U.S. Congress and by our state legislators, attempt to lay out the ground rules of “the law.” When disputes arise over the meaning of statutes, state and federal courts issue court opinions that interpret the statutes more clearly. This is referred to as “case law.” In addition, numerous federal and state agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the IRS, and the various Secretary of State’s offices, issue regulations that cover the legal areas that the agencies control (such as environmental law, federal taxes, and corporations law).

Should I Search Federal or State Laws?

Most legal research involves state statutes rather than federal statutes because states have the sole power to make the law in many areas, such as child custody, divorce, landlord-tenant, small business, personal injury, and wills and trusts. A growing number of legal areas are covered by both state and federal statutes, including consumer protection, employment, and food and drug regulation. (State laws give way to stricter federal laws that address the same issue.) Finally, the federal government alone creates the law for a few specific subject areas, such as copyrights, patents, bankruptcy, federal taxes, and Social Security.

How to Find a Law

There are two main ways to find a particular state or federal statute on a state’s website — by doing a search or by browsing the table of contents. Not all states allow you to do a search, but for those that do, simply enter a few terms that relate to the subject you’re looking for. For instance, in you’re looking for the minimum number of directors that your state requires a corporation to have, you might enter the terms “corporation” and “director.”

However, this can often be difficult to do because you may not know the exact terms your state uses to address the issue you’re researching. Browsing the table of contents of statutes is often a better way to find laws on your subject because it lets you look first at the general subjects (titles, or sometimes divisions). From there you can move to particular topics (chapters, or sometimes articles), and then to the precise statutes you need (sections). By browsing, you also get a general idea of all the statutes there are on a specific subject.

How to Read a Law

Some statutes are clearly written, meaning that you can easily understand exactly what the legislature intended and what “the law” is on a particular subject. Unfortunately, many statutes are very difficult to understand. Exceptions to the statute, “whereases,” and cross-references to other statutes can make it very hard to understand what a statute means. Here are some rules to use when interpreting a statute:

  • Read the statute three times and then read it again.
  • Pay close attention to all the “ands” and “ors.” The use of “and” to end a series means that all elements of the series are included, or necessary, but an “or” at the end of a series means that only one of the elements need be included.
  • Assume all words and punctuation in the statute have meaning. For example, if a statute says you “may” do something, that means you are allowed to do it. But if it says you “shall” do something, it means you are required to do it.
  • It’s tempting to skip words you don’t quite understand. Don’t do it. If you’re confused about what a word means and can’t understand from the context, look the word up.
  • If the statute is one of a number you are studying, interpret it to be consistent with the other statutes if at all possible.
  • Interpret a statute so that it makes sense rather than lead to some absurd or improbable result.
  • Track down all cross-references to other statutes and sections and read those statutes and sections.

How to Make Sure a Law Is Up to Date

Once a statute becomes law, it seldom remains unchanged for very long. A future legislature may change (amend) or revoke (repeal) a statute for any number of reasons. Unfortunately, many online collections of statutes are not kept up to date. For one, the online U.S. Code is often a year behind — it takes a lot of time to work new federal legislation into the existing organizational framework. In this case, you can use Thomas, a Congressional website that provides both pending and recently enacted legislation, to find out if there have been any recent changes to the statute you’re interested in.

In addition, many state collections of statutes are not up to date, but the state website will usually tell you the year that the collection was last updated. In that case, you will have to search all the bills that have passed since the last time the statutes were updated. The text of these bills is available on your state legislature’s website, which is often linked from your state’s statutes.

Laws and Cases:

Image result for legal researchHow to Do Legal Research

DUI Plea Deals – CA4J Spotlight

DUI Plea Deals

sidestep mandatory

license loss


How Illinois drivers get away with DUIs

Joe Mahr and Ted Gregory,Tribune reporters
Lose your license for DUI? The law may say so, but many suburbs cut deals around it.

Illinois’ tough-sounding DUI statutes make one thing clear: Those arrested for drunken driving are almost guaranteed to lose their licenses for a time.

But in suburbs across the Chicago area, a Tribune analysis found a special plea deal is regularly cut that allows those arrested to weave around get-tough laws and remain behind the wheel.

That’s in stark contrast to laws that proclaim anyone arrested for drunken driving will not be able to drive for at least a month, typically followed by months of intensive supervision that include a breath-monitoring device on their vehicles.

Defense attorneys say the Tribune’s findings reflect a common-sense response by the courts to an overly harsh law, while advocates for tougher enforcement say the special deals reflect longtime concerns that some towns seem more interested in collecting fines than rehabilitating offenders.

“I don’t know what can be done,” said Rita Kreslin, executive director of the Schaumburg-based Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists. “We all know this is a moneymaker.”

When told of the Tribune’s findings, Secretary of State Jesse White said he would seek recommendations from his traffic safety advisory panel on how to better enforce the law.

The analysis showed the deal occurs across the state. But the data suggest that in metro Chicago drivers in DuPage County are most likely to be offered the deal. And within the county ground zero for the deal has been a middle-class enclave in the heart of suburbia: Bloomingdale, a west suburb known more for shopping malls than unusual courthouse tactics.

The Tribune studied 2011 misdemeanor DUI arrests — to best ensure cases had been completed in the courts. Records show the plea deal was regularly cut in Bloomingdale not just for first-time offenders barely over the legal alcohol limit, but also for those who crashed or were previously arrested for DUI. In case after case, they didn’t miss a single day behind the wheel.

One was Jorge Gamboa.

According to police reports, Gamboa rear-ended a car so hard in Bloomingdale that it flew across an intersection, injuring the other driver. Testing at nearly twice the legal alcohol limit, he insisted he wasn’t drunk.

Another was Lawrence Sbertoli.

He had pleaded guilty two years earlier to a DUI in Oak Brook before he tested at three times the legal limit in Bloomingdale, according to court and police records. On the way to the station, Sbertoli dropped a balled-up receipt in the back of the squad car that indicated he paid for 10 drinks that night, records state.

Also getting the deal was Frank Willis.

It was his third arrest in a decade, according to police and court records. Each time he refused testing, which is supposed to trigger an even longer suspension. Willis got a suspension after his second arrest in Mount Prospect. But he got no suspension for his third, in which Bloomingdale police said he nearly sideswiped a moving vehicle.

Another three-peater getting the deal was Joseph Zuccaro.

In his first DUI arrest, Zuccaro, then 20, crashed a new SUV into a light pole while being pursued by Glendale Heights police, according to records. He was arrested a second time at age 26 in Lombard before his third arrest in Bloomingdale at age 29. He refused breath tests all three times, flatly telling the latest duiofficer to question him: “Just go ahead and arrest me.”

Two of the drivers who spoke to the Tribune said they deserved the deal because they weren’t really drunk, but records show they agreed to deals that included hefty fines.

Bloomingdale is under a new mayor, Franco Coladipietro. He switched prosecutors after taking office in 2013 but said it had nothing to do with complaints the old prosecutor was too lenient.

Bloomingdale’s former prosecutor did not respond to requests for comment from the Tribune, but in the past defended the deals as better ways to ensure drivers get treatment and avoid repeat arrests.

Special prosecutors

The revelations come amid a decadeslong debate about just how much to punish drunken drivers — in a state with a rich history of get-tough legislation that contains enough fine print for arrestees to wiggle out of supposedly automatic penalties.

A cornerstone of the law is the automatic loss of a driver’s license even if you’re only arrested and not convicted.

To supporters of get-tough laws, the threat of losing a license provides a key incentive to keep many drivers sober. It also is a tangible punishment for those who drive drunk yet are cut breaks by what advocates often deride as notoriously lenient courts eager to cash in on lucrative DUI fines.

“I believe a driver’s license is a precious commodity,” said Cathy Stanley, an anti-DUI advocate whose daughter was killed in 2001 by a repeat drunken driver.

“If they’re not hit right away with a consequence, it’s so old it becomes meaningless,” added Stanley, who monitors the courts for the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists. “We all need consequences, and it’s not in fines. It’s in losing that driver’s license.”

Critics, including many defense attorneys, counter that those arrested have a hard time being rehabilitated if they lose licenses they need to keep their jobs, drive to counseling and pay off fines. They bemoan get-tough laws that they say seem geared for politicians’ re-election brochures, not problem-solving.

“It became overly harsh, and not everybody fits that cookie-cutter mold,” said longtime Wheaton DUI defense attorney Don Ramsell, who said his office has handled more than 14,000 DUI cases. “You can’t excise human compassion. You can’t steal people’s souls.”

And some of those defense attorneys — because of the peculiarities of Illinois’ court system — also find themselves on the other side of the courtroom handling the prosecution for DUI cases.

Illinois allows many cities and villages to prosecute their own DUI cases and keep much of the fine money. Cities and villages typically hire part-time prosecutors, drawing applicants from the ranks of defense attorneys, many of whom have cut their teeth defending drivers arrested for DUI.

Critics say those defense attorneys-turned-prosecutors are more willing to cut the special deal in ways that stretch the boundaries of state law.

Dodging suspensions

It’s because of the unique way DUIs are prosecuted.

Just for testing over the legal alcohol limit or refusing testing, a driver can have his or her license suspended by the secretary of state. This “statutory summary suspension” is supposed to occur 46 days after an arrest, regardless of what’s going on in the criminal case.

635927041187205797-dui-posterSeparately, if the criminal case ends with a DUI conviction, that also sparks a license revocation, a sanction that requires greater effort for a driver to undo.

The suspension and revocation are supposed to complement each other to take drivers off the road for at least a month, and then bring them back with restrictions, such as breath-monitoring devices installed in their cars, before they get their full licenses back.

But there are ways to stay on the road. For the statutory suspension, the defendant can ask a judge to void the suspension but has to prove at a hearing that police somehow mishandled the arrest. Examples might include the police lacking a good reason to stop the driver or not offering the chance to take a test to prove sobriety.

The prosecutor, in theory, tries to show that the arrest was legitimate, and the judge is left to decide whether to toss the suspension.

But when the plea deal is cut, the prosecutor, in essence, lets the driver win the suspension hearing and keep his or her license. The law offers only a limited number of ways that can happen — a plea deal is not one of them. And yet the Tribune found that on many court forms someone justified letting the driver win by scribbling some version of the phrase “plea deal.”

The deal also ends the criminal case — and the chance of a revocation — with a finding that it wasn’t technically a DUI conviction. A driver is convicted of a lesser crime, such as reckless driving or improper lane usage. Or the driver can plead guilty to DUI but get sentenced to a special probation that doesn’t technically count as a conviction.

Either way, without a formal conviction for DUI, no license revocation is triggered.

The legal maneuvering often creates a head-turning set of documents in the court file.

Drivers will “win” the hearings on the summary suspension, implying they were wrongfully arrested, yet plead guilty to driving drunk. Then they’ll be sentenced in ways that carry hefty fines and fees — often $2,000 to $3,000 — but aren’t officially logged as DUI convictions.

Though the legal matrix can be confusing to follow, the end result is simple: no loss of license.

Towns that deal

The plea deal has been offered for years, prompting occasional public outrage from advocates and county officials. But the state hasn’t studied how often the deals are cut — or where.

In an effort to find out, the Tribune analyzed suspension and conviction data from the secretary of state’s office for those arrested in 2011, looking for the highest rates of drivers who kept their licenses.

In the Chicago area, that appeared to occur most often in DuPage County, according to the analysis.

The Tribune obtained court data from DuPage County to study where the deals were offered the most — scoring suburbs based on how often drivers left the courthouse without losing a day of driving.

Whether someone got the deal often depended on where he or she got the DUI.

In Burr Ridge, which straddles the Cook-DuPage border, only one of the 31 people arrested for DUI on the DuPage County side stayed on the roads uninterrupted after the arrest — for a rate of 3 percent.

But the town is one of 15 suburbs in DuPage County that haven’t hired their own prosecutors. Instead, the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office handles the cases, and — common of countywide prosecutors — they’re leery of offering the more generous deals.

That’s often not the case for towns that handle their own prosecutions.

Image result for back door dealsIn Wheaton, the 2011 figures show the deal was cut for 19 percent of those arrested for misdemeanor DUI.

It was cut for 22 percent of those arrested in Elmhurst.

And 23 percent in Naperville.

And 37 percent in Downers Grove.

And 50 percent in Bloomingdale.

Those numbers don’t count the times when a driver got the special deal after the summary suspension started. In those cases, drivers lost their licenses, but only for a few days or weeks until the deal was cut. Then everything returned to normal for their licenses, as if the DUI never happened.

Adding those cases to the mix, the rate of arrested DUI drivers who benefited sometimes doubled in suburbs, topping out at 76 percent in Bloomingdale.

`I don’t even drink’

That west suburb of 22,000 stands out among its peers for having a regional mall that anchors rows of big-box stores. But it also drew the ire of former DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett, who told the Daily Herald in 2005 that the town was far too lenient in how it cut deals for those arrested for DUI.

Still, the plea deals continued — even to those previously arrested for DUI. In the 2011 cases studied by the Tribune, repeat arrestees were more likely than not to get the deal. Eighteen had their suspensions voided — most of them after refusing to be tested.

Records show the town made the prosecutor, Thomas Howard, file reports every month documenting how he handled DUI cases.

For some cases he said he cut the deal out of sympathy for the defendant, such as: “Gave 58-year-old woman chance to save job.” He didn’t note it was her second arrest in a year.

Other times, Howard complained of weak evidence, such as with Willis and Zuccaro. In both cases, he justified the deal by saying in his reports that there were no field sobriety tests or breath tests. He did not note that the tests weren’t given because both men refused to take them, according to police reports — a scenario envisioned under Illinois law that mandates at least a one-year license suspension.

Instead, court records show, the two men got the special deal that voided that suspension.

Willis and Zuccaro both told the Tribune they weren’t drunk the nights they were arrested by Bloomingdale.

Zuccaro said he simply didn’t “trust the computer” and that he “would never take a sobriety test. I don’t even drink. I’m a diabetic.”

Willis also said he’s never been drunk enough to merit arrest. That, he said, included his most recent arrest, 11 months ago, in Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood. Police said they saw him stumbling out of a parked car, with its engine running, carrying a bottle of rum and smelling of alcohol, records show.

When an officer asked to test him, Willis responded: “I have had DUIs before and I ain’t doing any tests, officer. Nothing against you.”

DUI Plea Deals

Image result for chicago tribune

 sidestep mandatory license loss