A move to dismiss four of the six counts against Carly Rousso for her actions behind the wheel a year ago in which she is charged with reckless homicide in the death of Jaclyn Santos-Sacramento is seen as necessary and not a technicality by a legal scholar.
Joe Margulies, a professor of the practice of law at Northwestern University, has read the motion to dismiss and supporting memorandum filed by Rousso’s lawyer, Doug Zeit, to have four of the six claims against her thrown out on constitutional grounds and believes it is the right move.
“You do not scoff on constitutional rights as a technicality,” Margulies said. “Constitutional rights are not a technicality and shame on the public for saying this kind of stuff.” He has not had an opportunity to learn the prosecution’s position. It has not been submitted to the court yet.
At the heart of the motion is Zeit’s contention diuflorthane, the substance the Lake County State’s Attorney has charged Rousso with inhaling to intoxicate her, is not a legally impairing inebriant. It is not one of the enumerated substances which can intoxicate a driver in Illinois.
“It’s not clear the material she is said to have (ingested) should be listed,” Margulies said of the intoxicants listed under the law being challenged. This is why you have to bring the motion.” Zeit claims the law is vague on the issue. Margulies did not offer an opinion on diuflorthane. “I have never looked at the question myself.”
Zeit said in court Wednesday the law under which Rousso was charged is unconstitutional because it is vague. Based on the statements in Zeit’s motion, Margulies agrees. “If the defense is correct, the statute is unconstitutionally vague,” Margulies said.
If successful, four claims of aggravated driving under the influence will be thrown out leaving two counts of reckless homicide. That will reduce the potential jail time for Rousso if she is convicted and make probation a possibility.
“That’s not inconsequential,” Margulies said. “If successful the defense will be in a much better position. That is exactly why it is the right thing to do.”
If Judge James Bouras rules in Rousso’s favor, the decision will automatically be appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, according to Assistant Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Ori.