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State’s attorney finds no wrongdoing in DUI reporting errors

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – An investigation into DUI reporting errors during former Kane County Circuit Clerk Deborah Seyller’s leadership showed no acts of criminal conduct or intentional wrongdoing, Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said Tuesday during his monthly meeting with reporters.

“From my perspective, we’re done with this inquiry,” he said.

The investigation – which was prompted by a June 20 letter from past chairmen of the Kane County Board’s Judicial Public Safety Committee – addressed driving under the influence convictions that weren’t registered with the Illinois Secretary of State.

McMahon said the Circuit Clerk’s Office submitted the information to the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, which then would forward the information to the Illinois Secretary of State.

The Secretary of State works to match those convictions with a driver’s license number, he said. In some cases, he said, transposed numbers or inconsistencies in middle initials would cause the report to be returned to the circuit clerk with error codes. He said errors also would occur when someone convicted of DUI didn’t have a driver’s license.

Those error reports weren’t addressed until 2009, McMahon said.

Tom Hartwell, the current circuit clerk, said his staff has been auditing the DUI convictions from 2002 to 2008. Of the 13,703 total cases, he said, 3,667 are left to review. He said 1,734 have needed action.

Hartwell expects the audit will be completed within a month, he said.

“We’re getting through the pile,” Hartwell said.

Because the state’s attorney’s office also receives information from the state police, its own records and the clerk’s records, McMahon said it is unlikely the errors would have affected the way his office prosecuted cases.

For example, a repeat offender who was away from a felony DUI charge wouldn’t slip through the system.

McMahon thanked members of Hartwell’s staff for their cooperation.

“We received outstanding cooperation from the deputy clerks,” he said.

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