Judge rejects guilty plea in license scandal, says official’s proposed sentence too short
[Chicago, IL]

April 19, 2001
(CHICAGO) – A federal judge has refused to accept a plea that set a six-month prison term for a high-ranking state official caught up in an investigation into bribes to obtain driver’s licenses.

Dean Bauer, former inspector general in the secretary of state’s office, had agreed to plead guilty to obstruction of justice in return for a total of 15 months incarceration, most of it to be served under house arrest.

U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle Sr. said Wednesday that he would accept a sentence of a year behind bars, which would allow Bauer to be free in just over 10 months with good time credits.

Federal prosecutors say that while Gov. George Ryan was secretary of state employees in his office took bribes from convicted drunken drivers seeing license reinstatement. In one case, a trucker involved in a crash that killed six children had allegedly obtained his commercial license through bribery.

Once the Operation Safe Road investigation got underway, Bauer allegedly tried to hide evidence in order to protect Ryan, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

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