CROWN POINT — A decision was delayed on whether Hobart Township member David Scheeringa, facing multiple operating-while-intoxicated offenses, would be admitted into Judge Julie Cantrell's Veterans Treatment Court.
Cantrell said at a court hearing Wednesday, after speaking with Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter, there may be options available for Scheeringa, 51.
She said his case would be discussed further at a March 20 court hearing. She noted Scheeringa, who is wearing an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet, has not violated the court's rules prohibiting drinking.
The judge did not say what options might be available for Scheeringa, a Hobart Township board member running for re-election. He would not be able to take office if he were convicted of a felony offense.
The Lake County Prosecutor's office filed a motion Feb. 1 opposing the board member's request to enter the veterans court, which provides treatment and possible alternative sentencing for veteran defendants.
Scheeringa was only in active duty in the U.S. Army for four months and 15 days, the motion states, which made it unlikely there was connection between his military service and his criminal charges.
Scheeringa has four prior convictions for operating while intoxicated, with his first offense occurring in 1997. He is charged in five other operating-while-intoxicated cases filed in the last four years, the motion states.
Here are the recent bookings by the Lake County Sheriff's Department.
In one of those cases, the board member allegedly backed his vehicle into a Hobart police officer's squad car Jan. 18, 2017, after he was stopped for suspicion of intoxicated driving, according to court records. He submitted to a breath test, which indicated he had a 0.25 blood-alcohol content, more than three times the legal limit to operate a vehicle.
The state's motion indicates Scheeringa sought treatment in February 2017, but was again arrested on drunken driving charges in June 2017 and July 2017.
The prosecutor's office said it also would not offer Scheeringa a plea agreement, which he would need to enter the Veteran's Treatment Court.
The motion concludes by asking Cantrell to return the cases to criminal court, so a trial date could be scheduled.
“It seems that the only reason the defendant is looking into Veteran's Treatment Court is to get his charges dismissed, not looking for the benefits the Veteran's Treatment Court has to offer,” the motion states.
Carter declined to comment Wednesday. Thomas S. Mullins, Scheeringa's defense attorney, did not respond to a request for comment.