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updated: 5/30/2013 7:15 PM

Palatine grandmother convicted of DUI

Repeat offender had 1-year-old girl in the car

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  • Jeanine Jenkins

      Jeanine Jenkins

 
 

A Rolling Meadows jury deliberated less than two hours before finding a 53-year-old Palatine grandmother guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Jeanine Jenkins was intoxicated on April 23, 2012, when she picked up her 1-year-old granddaughter from a day care center and drove away after striking a parked car, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Shilpa Patel during closing arguments Thursday afternoon in Rolling Meadows.

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Jenkins was unable to "act with ordinary care," said Patel, who referred to testimony from day care workers that Jenkins smelled of alcohol when she came to pick up the child, was unable to open a door or grasp paperwork and staggered to her car while the girl nearly slipped from her grasp.

One of the workers ended up "hanging halfway inside her car screaming at her" in an attempt to get Jenkins to stop, said Patel, who also cited testimony from a Palatine police officer who said Jenkins ignored his instructions to pull over and later tried to pull away while he stood at her car window.

Jenkins failed several field sobriety tests, Patel said.

Although Jenkins has four DUI convictions, the last in 1994, she had a valid driver's license at the time of her arrest, prosecutors said.

Defense attorney Terry Slaw said prosecutors and police fell short of proving his client guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Slaw characterized his client's interaction with police as "he said/she said," pointing out that the audio cuts out on one of the police car video recordings and a second police car recording has no audio at all -- audio that presumably would have answered whether Jenkins had slurred speech that could indicate intoxication.

Slaw added there's no police car video recording of the field sobriety tests.

"Why didn't the officer have her conduct the test in front of his car?" he said. "For whatever reason, the tapes don't tell the whole story."

"It's their burden of proof ... they have to bat 1,000 and they didn't in this case," Slaw said.

Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Mike Clarke rejected the defense claims of faulty equipment.

"Is it a shock to you to see someone have technical difficulties with their equipment?" Clarke asked. "Cameras are nice. ... But this is not TV and they are not required."

Clarke urged jurors to rely on testimony from the day care workers and the officers, all of whom observed Jenkins.

"People rely on accounts of other people. You do it in your personal life and you do it in a courtroom. You assess whether a person is telling the truth," Clarke said.

Ultimately, the reason for her predicament rests with Jenkins, Clarke said.

"She made the decision to drink, to drive and to pick up her granddaughter. She brought everyone else into her world that day and has no one to blame but herself," he said.

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