How could Illinois prosecutor Jane Radostits, who won awards for handling drunk driving cases, die in a head-on collision when her own blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit? The Chicago Tribune tries to answer that question. The newspaper noted that her boss, DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett, said Radostits had led a “great life and mistakes can be made”–a concession Birkett seems disinclined to make regarding criminal defendants his office prosecutes.
Author-lawyer Scott Turow, a one-time federal prosecutor who has had galling experiences with DuPage County justice relating to a notorious death penalty case in which his client was exonerated, said that a decade ago, DuPage County prosecutors “were as morally arrogant as any group on the face of the Earth.” Turow cited a “self-conscious decision” during his days on the government payroll not to err in categories of life he prosecuted. His reaction to Radostits’ last lunch, namely: “You wonder how somebody let her get back into the car.” Michael Josephson of the Josephson Institute of Ethics in Los Angeles asked, “Was she an alcoholic? Was there a family tragedy in the background?” Exhibit compassion, he counseled, but don’t forget that “even with compassion, this was a horrible act.”