Rep. Kam Buckner's (D-26th) court case following his March 2019 DUI arrest outside of the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield has been continued to Oct. 19 in Sangamon County.
"The attorneys are still discussing a possible resolution to the case. It's still set for pretrial on Oct. 19. It may end up in negotiated agreement; it could be resolved with a jury trial. I don't know at this point in the process which one it will be," said Morgan County State's Attorney Gray Noll (R), who is prosecuting the case.
"It's up to the defendant whether he would like to plead guilty or if he would like to have a trial," Noll said. "In the event that he pleads guilty, then the parties would negotiate a specific resolution that would be presented to the judge.
"The judge then has the ability to accept the resolution or deny the resolution. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it's accepted by the judge, just because the parties know more about the case than the judge does at that point."
Noll said he could not discuss the case evidence until the case is resolved, nor could he discuss negotiations, "other than to say that an offer from our office has been made, and I'm sure his attorney is discussing that offer with him."
"The state is ready to proceed to a trial in the event the defendant wants it," Noll said. Asked whether Buckner could plead guilty to a lesser charge as part of a plea deal, Noll said anything is possible and that his office can amend charges at any time, though he said they have not done so at this point.
Buckner faces one charge of driving under the influence of alcohol, a Class A misdemeanor. Should Buckner continue to plead not guilty, a trial would be held, likely beginning on Oct. 20. Penalties for Class A misdemeanors range from a fine and court supervision to 364 days in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Police arrested Buckner after they found him asleep at the wheel of his vehicle in the state capital during his freshman legislative session, saying his breath smelled like alcohol. He failed field sobriety tests and refused a blood alcohol test at the scene. The case has bounced from one pretrial date to the next since then.
Buckner has not replied to repeated requests for comment. He was appointed to the seat in January 2019, succeeding now-Deputy Gov. Christian Mitchell. He is running unopposed for a full term this November.