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updated: 6/9/2013 4:16 PM

U.S. Supreme Court ruling bolsters 'No Refusal' efforts in Kane

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The Kane County State's Attorney's Office will work with local police departments to have an anti-drunk driving "No Refusal" event July 3 and 4.

It's the third time law enforcement agencies have taken special steps on Independence Day to fight drunken drivers. But it will be the first time knowing the nation's highest court agrees with the process used here if a motorist refuses to submit to chemical testing.

"It will be our first 'No Refusal' (weekend) since the U.S. Supreme Court decided the Missouri vs. McNeely case," State's Attorney Joe McMahon said. "It reconfirmed my faith in the process we follow."

In its April 17 ruling, the nation's highest court held that authorities must have a search warrant before drawing blood from a motorist under arrest for driving under the influence.

Tyler McNeely, who was arrested and had his blood drawn without a warrant, contested the case.

"The question presented here is whether the natural metabolization of alcohol in the bloodstream presents a per se exigency that justified an exception of the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement for nonconsensual blood testing in all drunk-driving cases," Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the majority in the 5-4 decision. "We conclude it does not and we hold, consistent with general Fourth Amendment principles, that exigency in this contest must be determined case by case based on the totality of the circumstance."

A "No Refusal" event is different from the standard roadside safety checkpoint, in which authorities set up a roadblock and search vehicles for infractions such as not wearing a seat belt or lack of insurance.

In a "No Refusal" event, a judge and phlebotomist are on call and prosecutors fan out to local participating police stations, ready to seek a warrant if a motorist is arrested on charges of DUI and refuses a breath test.

The process takes about an hour compared to several hours if a judge was not on call. If the motorist still refuses, he or she can be charged with felony obstruction of justice, which is a more serious charge than the DUI itself.

Elgin murder defendant in prison: A 34-year-old Elgin man faces up to 85 years in prison if convicted of the March 2013 murder of Lisa Koziol-Ellis in her Elgin townhouse.

But while Paul A. Johnson awaits trial, he won't be doing it from the Kane County jail.

Last week, the Illinois Department of Corrections moved Johnson to the Stateville Correctional Center.

Johnson's mid-March arrest was a parole violation from a 2010 felony burglary in Elgin that he pleaded guilty to and received a four-year prison term. Under state law, his sentence was halved for good behavior behind bars and he was released early.

Johnson will be held in prison likely until his case is adjudicated in Kane County.

"The biggest thing is the murder (case), but he has to answer for this, too," said IDOC spokesman Thomas Shaer.

Johnson is next due in court June 19 in the murder case.

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