Young's lawyer wants evidence preserved

Ann Knef Jan. 18, 2007, 10:30am

Clyde Kuehn

Judge Janet Heflin

St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Patrick Young's lawyer wants evidence collected at the scene of his client's Dec. 3 DUI arrest preserved.

Attorney Clyde Kuehn of Belleville, former appellate court judge, asked that prosecutors produce and preserve 911 tapes, radio transmission and the beer can "that was supposedly discarded by the defendant's passenger in the presence and view of arresting officers."

"The defense believes the requested materials will tend to negate the defendant's guilt and accordingly constitute discovery that must be turned over," Kuehn wrote in a motion filed in the case last month.

St. Clair County Judge Jan Fiss, 64, was a passenger in Young's 2005 GMC Yukon at the time of the accident. The two were returning from a St. Louis Rams game.

Young, 58, was northbound on Frank Scott Parkway and turned left onto Dutch Hollow Road in front of a southbound vehicle driven by Abel Muhammed, 40, of Swansea, according to the police report.

Muhammed had to be extricated from his 2006 Toyota Tundra. He was treated and released from Memorial Hospital's emergency room.

According to the police report, Fiss was seen attempting to conceal a can of beer and reportedly poured out a can of Bud Light at the accident scene. He stepped down as chief judge following the incident.

Madison County Associate Judge Janet Heflin, who was assigned to the case by the Illinois Administrative Office of the Court, granted Kuehn's motion on Wednesday.

"There being no objection by the state, the court orders the state to immediately inform the appropriate law enforcement personnel to preserve any and all items," Heflin wrote.

The case is being prosecuted by Marion County attorney Randy Patchett.

Kuehn asked for a copy of "any 911 tapes or other tape recordings, whether video or audio, containing information relative to this case."

He also wants recordings produced during Young's "detention, arrest, transportation, testing, booking or charging of the defendant."

The motion requested "all radio broadcasts and transmissions occurring between the officer(s) who detained, and arrested and/or transported the defendant...and any other agency, officer, communications center or station."

Earlier in the week Heflin granted Young's request for a judicial driving permit that allows him to drive from home to work. But she has yet to set a hearing on Young's request to void the automatic six months driving suspension he received for refusing a breathalyzer at the scene.

Belleville Patrolman Shane Brown and Patrolman Jeffrey Sheary wrote entries in the arrest report.

Brown wrote that Young was "unstable in his stance, swaying forward and backwards."

"...When the suspect walked to the rear of the vehicle I noted he was staggering side to side in an unbalanced motion," Brown wrote.

"I smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the suspect and noted he had slurred speech when talking to me," Brown wrote.

The report stated that Fiss was seen emptying a can of Bud Light at the scene of the accident.

"After pouring out the beer, Fiss made several attempts to conceal the can in an inside pocket on the front of his coat before finally sweeping," Sheary wrote.

Brown asked Fiss what he did with the beer can.

"(Fiss) stated, 'I was told to get rid of it'," Brown wrote.

"I asked (Fiss) who told him to get rid of the beer can and he refused to answer my question," Brown wrote. "I then asked him where he disposed of it and he stated, 'along the road.'"

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