Louis Post Dispatch
llinois state trooper admits she wrote false reports about driving under the influence; she quits her job
By ROBERT GOODRICH
Joan Blomenkamp pleaded guilty of attempted obstruction of justice. She had been charged with 24 felonies.
Illinois State Trooper Joan Blomenkamp, charged two years ago with issuing dozens of phony charges for driving under the influence, has resigned and has pleaded guilty of writing two false reports.
But she said Friday that the battle was not over. She said she planned to make public later her account of the matter. She hinted that she would disclose pressures on state troopers by their bosses.
Blomenkamp, 38, of Freeburg, said she was conferring with a lawyer and would tell her story "when appropriate."
She pleaded guilty last week of two misdemeanors, both for attempted obstruction of justice, admitting she "knowingly furnished false information in her field report narratives." She was not fined but must pay court costs.
Blomenkamp had been charged with 20 felonies in St. Clair County and four in Monroe County.
The Monroe County cases were transferred to St. Clair County because the prosecutor there was formerly defense attorney for people she had ticketed.
St. Clair County State's Attorney Robert B. Haida said, "Our goal was to make sure that there was no future employment in a law enforcement capacity by her, and we've accomplished that."
No law enforcement agency would hire someone convicted of falsifying reports, Haida explained. "So we're satisfied."
Haida said Blomenkamp came from a respected family.
"We don't really know what the motive was for this," he said. "It's sad in a way."
The plea agreement was worked out with defense attorney Gregory M. Skinner of Belleville. He said no one contemplated sending his client to jail.
"She had an absolutely clean record," he said.
Skinner said dismissal of the felonies seemed fair.
"I think everyone has to be happy with the disposition," he said.
Blomenkamp was indicted more than two years ago by a St. Clair County grand jury on 20 felony charges of obstructing justice. The cases date from August 1999 to May 2000. The Monroe County charges were similar.
Earlier, she had been nominated for a statewide award for writing so many DUI tickets.
She was placed on unpaid leave three years ago when the investigation began. She resigned two months ago as a disciplinary hearing before an administrative law judge on in-house charges by the State Police drew near.
The case forged an unusual legal alliance between prosecutors and the law firm of Thomas M. Daley in Belleville, which represents hundreds of DUI defendants.
Daley's partner Rick Roustio said he might have sparked investigation of Blomenkamp when he "caught her lying on the stand" in front of some fellow troopers.
Daley said people who came into his office with traffic charges issued by Blomenkamp had invariably told him, "This is a pack of lies."
One man from Belleville told the Post-Dispatch a false DUI charge by Blomenkamp cost him about $1,200 for legal fees, towing costs and storage, not counting lost wages for three days off work for court appearances.
Daley said that police reports often included a little "puffing" but that Blomenkamp was the only officer he had ever encountered who wrote pure fiction.
"She treated people badly," he said. "She was really mean."
A State Police spokesman said he could not remember another case in which a trooper was accused of widespread fabrication of evidence.
Daley said the plea agreement sounded fair.
"I don't think she should have gone to jail or anything," he said. He estimated his office won dismissal of a dozen or more cases after Blomenkamp was charged.
Reporter Robert Goodrich:
||Truth in Justice