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Through Stephen Komie's relentless efforts Michael Penachio receives only five years for a crash that killed Danielle Baker


Chicago Attorney Stephen M. Komie Elected to
Illinois State Bar Association Board of Governors

SPRINGFIELD, IL ?Stephen M. Komie, a principal in the Chicago law firm of Komie and Associates, has been elected to a fifth three-year term on the Board of Governors of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA).

The 25-member Board directs the activities of the state’s largest bar association with 33,000 members.

Komie, a trial and appellate practice lawyer, previously served four three-year terms on the ISBA’s board of governors, from 1992-2005. He has been a member of the ISBA’s 201-member Assembly since 1985. He has served on numerous ISBA committees and been a frequent speaker at the ISBA’s Continuing Legal Education seminars. Among his professional awards, he received the American Trial Lawyers Association’s “Top 100 Trial Lawyers?award and its Public Service Award.

Komie, who is a life-long resident of the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Chicago, graduated from Francis Parker School.  He received his law degree from DePaul University College of Law and his Masters and undergraduate degree from University of Arizona in European and American History.

Komie is active as a member of the Patrician Society of Old St. Patrick’s Church and serves on the alumni boards of DePaul University College of Law and Francis Parker School.

Komie is best known in the Chicago community for celebrated cases which have been tried in Illinois in the last 30 years.  His defense of Sandra Fabiano for child abuse and John Carroccia for murder were widely reported in the Illinois media.

Located in Springfield and Chicago, the Illinois State Bar Association provides professional services to Illinois lawyers, and education and services to the public. More information is available at www.isba.org.


Blood test in Lake County Judge's DUI case thrown out

Prosecutors are moving forward with a drunken-driving case against a Lake County judge, despite the death of the arresting officer, the lack of video evidence and, most recently, a judge's decision to throw out a blood alcohol test.

Barred from the trial scheduled to start Monday are test results taken from blood samples drawn when Judge David Hall was taken to a Libertyville hospital following his April 2008 arrest, according to defense attorney Douglas Zeit.

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The sample was tested at an Illinois State Police lab more than two weeks later, but no preservatives were used as required by state law for it to be admissible in a DUI case, Zeit said.

The blood sample that Brown barred from evidence allegedly showed that Hall's blood-alcohol level was 0.107 percent; the legal limit is 0.08.

Hall challenged the finding and the hospital procedures that led to the result.

One expert said Kane County Judge Keith Brown followed the law in the latest ruling. Brown is presiding over the case against Hall.

"The judge is saying, 'Wait a minute, you did it improperly, and you can't have use of it,' " said Stephen Komie, a Chicago defense lawyer who is not involved in the case.

Komie, who has defended people accused of DUI for 35 years, said most cases would have been dropped by prosecutors with so little evidence.

"This is an increasingly difficult case to prove when the person who claims the judge was intoxicated has passed away," Komie said. "There's no way to cross-examine him."

Police Officer Jesse Goldsmith, who stopped Hall, died of a heart attack in June 2008. Goldsmith completed much of the paperwork and likely would have been the key prosecution witness at trial.

Another officer, Mark Sosnoski, who during Hall's arrest backed up Goldsmith from another vehicle, is expected to testify. At a previous hearing, he said that he saw Hall try to roll up his window on Goldsmith, who then pepper-sprayed Hall.

Prosecutors have said that one of two squad cars that pulled Hall over that night had a VHS system that was not working and that the digital recording system in the second squad didn't capture the arrest.

The Illinois attorney general's office is handling the prosecution, because of Hall's ties to the Lake County state's attorney's office and judges.


Credit: By Jeff Long, Tribune reporter


Miscarriage of Justice Overturned

In Federal Court Laura Baxter was re‑sentenced to 2 years probation after her previous sentence of 3 years in prison was vacated by Chief Judge James Holderman.  Judge Holderman found Mrs. Baxter's attorneys who had failed to retain the services of a qualified tax expert to determine the actual tax loss caused by the use of one false work paper in an IRS audit.  Ms. Baxter had pled guilty to submitting a false work paper to the Internal Revenue Service.  Her former attorneys had plead her guilty and stipulated the tax loss was $576,000.00.  Her new attorney Stephen M. Komie persuaded Judge Holderman that the actual tax loss involved was $23,000.00.  Then Judge Holderman vacated her previous sentence of three years in custody and re sentenced her to two years probation. 

Her sentencing hearing was marked by repeated testimonials from members of her Will County community and her family.  Notably, she had provided free tax return preparation service to veterans and people unable to pay for preparation of their tax returns.  Judge Holderman remarked during the sentencing; prison or community service was not warranted in light of her years of service to her community. 

At the conclusion of the hearing Judge Holderman said, "Thank you Mr. Komie for averting and correcting a miscarriage of justice which occurred in this case.?/p>

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