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August 27, 2014

Cleaning up DUI cases

The public's confidence in St. Clair County's handling of DUI cases took a hit this week when forgery charges were filed against a drug and alcohol instructor.

The courts depend on these instructors to ensure that defendants get the appropriate treatment, hopefully averting future problems. But instructor Kevin Caliper, of Swansea, allegedly didn't do much more for one person than collect his fee.

Falsifying treatment documents is troubling, and so is the fact that it took two years for charges to be filed. Caliper's license was suspended in the summer of 2012 after auditors found discrepancies in his paperwork. Even in a justice system known for moving slowly, this is ridiculous.

Caliper's case raises an urgent question: Is this an isolated incident or a common practice?

To help answer that question, St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly is offering amnesty to defendants who got a certificate saying they completed treatment even though they didn't. The offer's good for 90 days.

It's important that defendants who know of wrongdoing step forward so the bad instructors are identified and the problems addressed. Our safety on the roads depends upon it.

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