Madison County Associate Judge Neil Schroeder granted asbestos attorney Randy Gori’s petition to rescind summary suspension after he was charged for driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Schroeder was assigned to the case after Associate Judge Jennifer Hightower recused herself as judge. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Hightower worked at asbestos plaintiff’s firm Simmons Hanly Conroy in Alton.
Schroeder granted Gori’s motion on Jan. 3, stating that the “people admit allegation of improper warning to motorist.”
According to a Dec. 12 confirmation of statutory summary suspension, Gori’s Illinois driver’s license and his privilege to operate a motor vehicle were to be suspended for six months beginning Jan. 7. His driver’s license would have been reinstated on July 7.
Gori filed a petition for a judicial hearing to rescind statutory summary suspension on Dec. 10 through attorney Curtis M. Dawson of Lucco, Brown, Threkeld and Dawson LLP in Edwardsville.
According to the petition, Gori was arrested by Edwardsville Police Officer Brennan Vahle for driving under the influence.
“That the arresting department filed a sworn report with the Clerk of the Court stating not only that defendant was arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol but that defendant refused or submitted to a blood or breath analysis and said analysis indicated an alcohol concentration of .08 or more,” the petition stated.
Gori sought a judicial hearing to determine whether he was placed under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or under a similar provision of a local ordinance, as evidenced by the issuance of a Uniform Traffic Ticket. He also sought to determine whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe that Gori was in control of a vehicle upon a highway while under the influence and whether he refused to submit to tests after being told that his license would be revoked or suspended.
According to an Edwardsville Police Department incident report, Gori was arrested on Marine Road at 11:52 p.m. on Nov. 21 – the night before Thanksgiving – for improper lane usage while driving a 2016 black Ford passenger car.
Vahle wrote in the report that while speaking with Gori, he “observed his eyes to be glossy and his speech was slurred. I detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from Gori’s breath” during a field sobriety test.
Gori submitted to a blood alcohol test which registered at .101, exceeding the lawful limit of .08.
On Dec. 10, Gori pleaded not guilty and demanded a speedy jury trial.
On Dec. 12, Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons moved for the appointment of a special prosecutor, because the “defendant is relation (sic) to an assistant state’s attorney.”
“The prosecution of the defendant by the State’s Attorney’s Office could be a conflict of interest for the office, or alternatively, could create the appearance of an impropriety,” the motion states. “It is in the interest of justice that a Special Prosecutor be appointed to avoid any such appearance.”
On Jan. 7, a pretrial conference was set for April 1 at 9 a.m.
Gori’s law firm – Gori Julian and Associates – is the most prolific filer of asbestos litigation in the nation.