Settlement Reached in False DUI Case

In 2008, Julio Martinez was falsely charged with a DUI, handcuffed to a metal bar, and beaten by a Chicago Police officer in a holding room. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Officer John Haleas was “indicted and relieved of his police powers in 2008 and pleaded guilty four years later to misdemeanor attempted obstruction of justice.” In early May, the City Council’s Finance Committee ruled that Martinez will be compensated $325,000 by the City of Chicago, “but not before aldermen demanded to know why Haleas was still being paid by Chicago taxpayers,” according to the Sun-TimesSettlement Reached in False DUI Case IMAGE

Officer Haleas was once “Chicago’s most prolific officer in making DUI arrests,” according to the Sun-Times, having accumulated 718 arrests in 2005 and 2006. After he was stripped of his badge and accused of falsifying drunken driving arrests, more than 150 of these cases were dismissed. Yet after a five-day suspension that was reduced to one day, Officer Haleas was assigned to the Records Division and is still on the City of Chicago’s payroll.

The case brought up some sore spots for the city and its officers—Terry Ekl, who was representing Martinez in the case, “also represented a diminutive bartender beaten by former Chicago Police Officer Anthony Abbate in a case that culminated in a $850,000 damage award and a precedent-finding that a ‘code of silence’ in the Chicago Police Department played a role in the videotaped beating.”

In 2007, a New York Times article reported that Chicago police officers receive more brutality complaints per officer than the national average. The national average for large police departments in the country is 9.5 complaints per 100 full-time officers. That’d work out to about 1,283 complaints per year, but from 1999 to 2004, according to the New York Times, Chicago residents “filed about 1,774 brutality complaints a year against Chicago officers.”

If you or someone you know has been wrongly accused of a crime—whether or not the police took it too far—don’t go through it alone. Contact an experienced Chicago-area criminal defense attorney today.

 

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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