Claiming her rights have been violated, the attorney for a Highland Park teenager charged with the reckless homicide of a five-year-old Highwood girl a year ago asked a Lake County Criminal Court judge to dismiss the case today in Waukegan.
Carly Rousso, 19, of Highland Park was charged a year ago with reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence after the car she was operating struck and killed five-year-old Jaclyn Santos-Sacramento, of Highwood, on Labor Day, 2012.
Doug Zeit, the attorney for Rousso, filed his motion to dismiss contending his client’s due process rights under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Illinois Constitution were violated.
“The statute is vague,” Zeit said of the law Rouso is charged with breaking. “We are arguing the vagueness of the statute.” Specifically, Zeit contends the substance Rousso is charged with inhaling, Difluorothane, is something which cannot legally intoxicate a person. “It’s not in the statute,” he said of the substance.
The motion prompted Judge James Boras to continue the trial date from Sept. 27 to Nov. 1 while he sorts out the legal issues which include Zeit’s motion and a request to expand media coverage, which is now on a back burner. “When there are substantial issues (like constitutionality) expanded media would take a back seat,” Boras said.
Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Ori had not seen the motion until Zeit filed it in court today. “I have to look at it and see if the (Illinois) attorney general will come into the case under Rule 19,” Ori said.
Any time a lawyer challenges the constitutionality of a case, the Illinois attorney general has the right to join the local state’s attorney to defend the contentions under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 19, according to Ori. He hopes to have that answer by the next status hearing at 9 a.m. Sept. 27 in Waukegan.
Though Zeit’s request has delayed the trial at least a month, Ori stressed the need for a prompt outcome. “I want to keep this case moving along,” Ori said. “There needs to be a resolution.”
Should Boras rule the law is unconstitutional, there will be an automatic appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, according to Ori. Rousso would have the right to appeal an unfavorable ruling.
When Rousso was indicted, she was charged with two counts of reckless homicide and four for aggravated driving under the influence, all felonies. A conviction could mean between three and 14 years in jail, according to Ori.