Repeat DUI defendant before Hightower faces felony perjury for swearing his license was valid

By Record News | May 14, 2019

EDWARDSVILLE – Associate Judge Jennifer Hightower’s recusal from cases of criminal defense lawyer Bryce Joiner followed the filing of a sworn statement from a client who now faces a charge of felony perjury. 

According to State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons, drunken driving suspect Daniel Sweney of Collinsville provided a false affidavit through Joiner on Nov. 19. 

Hightower recused herself from Joiner’s cases last December. 

Sweney allegedly indicated he hadn’t received court supervision for a previous offense, according to criminal information filed by Gibbons. 

Gibbons alleges Sweney indicated his license hadn’t been suspended, knowing the statements to be false and against the peace and dignity of the people of Illinois.

Sweney, age 32, has picked up 20 traffic tickets in Madison County. 

Edwardsville police stopped his 2007 Ford Taurus on Route 157 in 2011, and charged him with driving under the influence. 

An officer wrote that he refused a blood alcohol test, a decision that by law triggers summary suspension of a license. 

Sweney retained Barbara Joiner, mother and law partner of Bryce Joiner. 

He pleaded guilty, paid $775 in fines, and accepted 12 months of supervision. 

He signed an affidavit stating his license was valid at the time of arrest and it hadn’t ever been revoked or suspended. 

Last Aug. 9, at 1:51 a.m., Collinsville officer Trent Ross stopped Sweney’s 2006 Toyota at Summit Avenue and West Clay Street. 

Ross wrote, “Ran a stop sign, swerving, improper lane usage, 45 mph in a 25 mph, dazed look, unopened package, slurred speech, odor of alcoholic beverages on breath, bloodshot eyes, ptosis, delayed internal time clock, difficulty following directions, uncoordinated stagger, admitted drinking.” 

He issued tickets on charges of driving under the influence, speeding, disregarding a device, using lanes improperly, and lacking insurance. 

Bryce Joiner entered an appearance for Sweney on Aug. 27. 

In court on Sept. 20, Joiner moved to continue the case. 

Hightower set it for Oct. 18, and on that date, Joiner moved to continue it. 

She set it Nov. 15, and on that date, Associate Judge Thomas Chapman granted a motion to continue it for three weeks. 

Four days later, according to the felony information against Sweney, he filed an affidavit like the one he filed in 2011. 

The earlier one appears in public record through the Circuit Clerk’s office, but the one from last year does not. When asked why the newer one was not publicly available, a circuit clerk took a message and returned it saying a reporter should contact the State’s Attorney’s office. 

When Hightower recused herself from Joiner’s cases in December, Chief Judge Dave Hylla transferred 271 of them to Associate Judge Ronald Slemer. 

On Jan. 22, on a motion from Joiner, Slemer continued the case to April 30. 

On March 14, Glen Carbon officer Josh Daniels stopped Sweney’s Toyota on Route 159 at Brenda Street. 

He wrote that Sweney’s license was suspended. 

This time, according to the ticket, Sweney didn’t refuse the test. 

Daniels wrote that it showed alcohol concentration of .187. 

Gibbons raised the misdemeanor ticket to a felony the next day. 

Conviction on that could cost up to three years. 

On April 3, Gibbons charged Sweney with perjury. 

Conviction on that could cost up to five years. 

On April 15, Tom Daley of Belleville appeared for him on both felony charges. 

On April 30, Slemer continued the hearing on last year’s ticket to May 28. 

The docket doesn’t show that anyone filed a motion to continue. 

Slemer also set the aggravated driving charge for May 28. 

Associate Judge Neil Schroeder set a May 24 hearing on the perjury charge.   

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