Last updated: June 27. 2014 7:05PM - 5065 Views
By Sanford Schmidt sschmidt@civitasmedia.com



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EDWARDSVILLE — A judge has acquitted an Alton man of a driving under the influence charge after being convinced the state failed to prove he was driving the car.


Associate Judge Liz Levy rejected the state’s argument that blood on the defendant’s face and blood on the driver’s side of the car was not enough to prove that John A. Kardis, 32, of Bloomfield Avenue, Alton, was driving.


She said in her order that the testimony of a Madison County deputy was “questionable” because he assumed that a woman in the car was telling the truth when she said Kardis was driving. The woman made that assertion after she was informed by the deputy that if she was driving she could be charged with driving under the influence.


She noted that testimony at trial was that the passenger and Kardis had just left a wedding Feb. 1 or Feb. 2 and that the woman was intoxicated.


“It was all one big blur,” the woman was said to have testified.


The judge also pointed out several inconsistencies in the a deputy’s testimony. She said, for instance that the deputy noticed a cut on the defendant’s nose, but that other witnesses testified there was not cut.


The judge noted the defense argument that blood on the driver’s side of the car could be explained by the defendant crawling from the passenger side, over the driver’s side and out the driver’s side door. The passenger-side door did not work, according to testimony at trial.


Kardis, the son of retired judge Phil Kardis, was charged Feb. 3 after an officer said in a sworn statement that his speech was slurred, his eyes were red and glassy; and that he was stumbling and smelled of alcohol.


He refused to take a field sobriety test, and he never said he was the driver.


The vehicle was traveling in the 1000 block of Lars Hoffman Crossing when he was injured in an accident. The case went to bench trial May 30 before Levy, and she took the case under advisement.


A neighbor testified to seeing Kardis’ condition, which was consistent with what the officer said in his statement and to which he testified in court, the prosecution argued. Testimony in the trial indicated that Kardis was bleeding from an injury.


The passenger testified that Kardis was the driver. The officer also testified that there was blood all over the driver’s seat, which would be consistent with Kardis’ injuries and the contention that the defendant was the driver, Assistant State’s Attorney Trent West argued.


After the trial, defense attorney Don Groshong, at Levy’s suggestion, submitted a court case to support his position.


Sanford J. Schmidt can be reached at 618-208-6449 or Twitter @SanfordSan.

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