Judge stands by decision in former Joliet city manager’s DUI case

Joliet City Manager James Capparelli talks to guest after the Mayor of Joliet’s annual State of the City address at Harrah’s. Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2022, in Joliet.

A Will County judge stood by her decision to restore the driving privileges for a former Joliet city manager charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in a two-vehicle crash earlier this year.

Prosecutors with Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow’s Office filed a motion Nov. 30 requesting that Judge Sherri Hale reconsider her decision to rescind the suspension of the driver’s license for James Capparelli, 62, a former Joliet city manager. He resigned from the position in June.

On Thursday, Hale denied Glasgow’s motion to reconsider her decision.

Capparelli was involved in a two-vehicle crash on Oct. 3 in Joliet. He was arrested by Joliet police officers on charges of DUI and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Sherri Hale, Associate Judge of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit, talks about the importance of voting and the electoral process to have representation at the judicial level at the Juneteenth event hosted by the Joliet Area Historical Museum on Monday, June 19, 2023 in Joliet.

Capparelli’s former attorney, Eugene Fimbianti, filed a motion to rescind the suspension of his client’s driver’s license by claiming a police officer did not have reasonable grounds to arrest him. Fimbianti also claimed Capparelli was not properly warned of the consequences of refusing to submit to chemical testing.

At a Nov. 2 court hearing, Capparelli testified about his version of events the night of crash. However, a prosecutor did not call a police officer to testify about the arrest, nor show Hale the police body camera video of the arrest.

The Nov. 30 motion from Glasgow’s office contended that if a police officer had been present, prosecutors would have played body camera video contradicting Capparelli’s testimony that he had not been warned about the consequences of refusing to submit to chemical testing.

The motion argued that Hale found Capparelli’s testimony “to be credible, despite the inaccurate testimony provided by [Capparelli].”

Capparelli retained new attorneys with the Tomczak Law Group. Those attorneys objected to Glasgow’s motion because any “further presentation of evidence in this matter” would violate the statutory restrictions on court hearings for driver’s license suspensions in DUI cases.