Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Will the daughter of a Supreme Court Justice get a free pass?

Daughter of Supreme Court justice charged in DUI

By Angela Rozas

Chicago Tribune

(MCT)

CHICAGO - A daughter of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was arrested Monday night in Wheaton, Ill., and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and child endangerment, Wheaton Deputy Police Chief Thomas Meloni said.

Ann S. Banaszewski, 45, was stopped about 7:25 p.m. in a 1996 Ford Econoline van after a citizen reported a possible drunken driver was at the McDonald's restaurant near there, Meloni said.

Three of Banaszewski's "small children" were in the van with her at the time, leading to the child endangerment charge, Meloni said. He would not disclose their ages. Meloni would also not disclose details of her alleged intoxication, but said she submitted to a field sobriety test, though he could not disclose its outcome.

"Probable cause was established to arrest and charge the driver with DUI," Meloni said. Banaszewski was taken to the Wheaton Police Station, where she was released on her own recognizance, Meloni said. A police officer dropped her children at a family friend's home, a "common practice" when someone is arrested with children, he said.

A court date has not been scheduled, he said. Meloni said police knew Banaszewski was one of Scalia's daughters because of "previous contact with the justice" and "common knowledge" in the Wheaton Police Department.

Meloni said he has never spoken to Scalia directly, but the department's police officers routinely patrol Banaszewski's neighborhood to ensure her safety, a courtesy the department extends for others associated with law enforcement, the court system or anyone who requests extra patrols.

Banaszewski, reached by phone at home, declined to speak about the arrest, or whether she was Scalia's daughter.

"I have no information and I certainly would not speak with a reporter about my father," she said.

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© 2007, Chicago Tribune.

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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