Illinois judge quashes Vermont Rep. Christopher Bates’ arrest warrant

At least some of the legal troubles hanging over the head of Vermont Democratic state Rep. Chris Bates appear to have lifted in the past week.

On July 1 Bates and his attorney, Jeffrey Altman, of Donahue and Walsh P.C., filed a motion for the Illinois Circuit Court of the 22nd Judicial Circuit to “recall and quash” a warrant for the legislator’s arrest.

Bates was not present in court when the motion was filed.

state of Vermont

Rep. Chris Bates, D-Bennington

Two days later, Judge Michael E. Coppedge granted Bates’ motion with with the proviso that the Vermont lawmaker appear in court on Aug. 9 for a status conference to get updated information.

Court Clerk Katherine Keefe of McHenry County, Illinois, has offered few details about Bates’ missed court appearance and the subsequent arrest warrant that was issued in 2013. However, on Monday she confirmed that the arrest warrant for Bates had been withdrawn with Judge Coppedge’s signature.

Arrest warrant

Earlier this year it was revealed that Bates had a warrant for his arrest for failing to comply with a 2012 Illinois conditional discharge relating to a May 29, 2010, aggravated DUI charge — a Class 4 felony.

That conditional discharge, granted on April 12, 2012, lists a series of terms and conditions for Bates to meet, including a prohibition against leaving the state of Illinois “temporarily or permanently without the consent of the Court of the permission of the Adult Probation Division.” The order also barred Bates from “possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon.”

However, within five days of signing the discharge, Bates was photographed holding a so-called assault rifle, as seen in a time-stamped photo sent to True North Reports. Also in 2012, Bates relocated from Illinois to Bennington County, Vermont, leaving behind a lengthy criminal record that includes charges of battery, drunk driving, driving without a license, and failure to appear in court.

The arrest warrant, which was issued for failure to pay fines and costs and to complete court-ordered alcohol treatment, was issued after Bates missed a court appearance scheduled for Oct. 15, 2013.

RELATED: Arrest warrant and unanswered questions plague Bennington County Democrat

Since that time, the state of Illinois has taken further action against Bates. On Oct. 16, 2017, the state filed an amended petition for revocation of Bates’ 2012 conditional discharge. That means the court believes Bates violated the terms and conditions of his lenient 2012 discharge.

Bates in the House

Bates was elected to a Bennington 2-1 House seat last November while living under the shadow of the arrest warrant. The lawmaker is a member of the Vermont House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish, and Wildlife and has supported gun-control efforts despite his own past use of firearms found in his criminal record.

Bates has also sponsored several important Vermont bills and resolutions, with most being signed into law by Gov. Phil Scott, including H.211, an act relating to prohibiting the use of air guns to take big game; H.399, an act relating to Act 250 reform; H.496, an act relating to bias-motivated crimes and misconduct; H.90, an act relating to hunter education in Vermont schools; and HR9, a House resolution expressing support for the welcoming and settling of refugees.

Wikimedia Commons/Carl Daniel

Judge Michael E. Coppedge granted Vermont Rep. Christopher Bates his “get out of jail free” card. Pictured: The 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of McHenry County, Illinois.

Motion to recall and quash warrant

In the July 1 motion to quash the arrest warrant, Bates’ legal team challenged the court over unpaid fines, costs and fees, as well as the ordered treatment for alcohol abuse.

“On May 16, 2019, the Defendant paid the outstanding balance of fines, costs and fees totaling $451.65 in full,” the motion states. “The Defendant has also obtained and filed an updated alcohol evaluation indicating that he does not meet the diagnostic criteria for substance abuse disorder and no treatment is required.”

His lawyer also argued that Bates is now “a resident of the State of Vermont and has otherwise led a productive and law abiding life since the instant matter.”

No extradition

Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette told a Seven Days reporter in May that Bates has not been arrested in Vermont because the state requires an extradition request to carry out an arrest warrant issued by another state.

In an earlier telephone interview with TNR, Bates ruminated that he is unlikely to seek reelection to the Vermont Legislature in 2020.

Bates and his attorneys were unavailable for comment.

Lou Varricchio is a freelance reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Carl Daniel and state of Vermont

12 thoughts on “Illinois judge quashes Vermont Rep. Christopher Bates’ arrest warrant

  1. Anyone paying attention to Mr. Bates’s behavior upon landing here in Vermont would have seen this. It’s not a Republican/Democrat issue… just see what’s happening in DC with the stellar Republican record. It’s wrong versus right.

  2. I would like to know how much Bates attorney paid the judge?!!? The man ran, he is a fugitive from justice . Any one else would have been found and demanded his return.. This man has crimes filed against him longer then your arm. What makes him above the law? How can he still be allowed to be in our state government. ? His paper work that he had to fill out to be a Vt Rep. he took a oath. how many lies is on it?? Did he reveal that he is a fugitive? Did he reveal that he is wanted?? Come to Vermont the democrats will protect your butt. just ask Sen. Debbie Ingram, she was drunk and crashed her car. no big deal right no chages? They protect their own..

  3. Why dont we prosecute Bates for the crimes he committed here in Vt (like the fed firearm possession, operating a bar & grill with no liquor or restaurant licenses? The ramifications here are massive. If YOU were convicted of any crime, but then your lawyer found out you had a fugitive on the jury… you would be a free man, the court would issue a mistrial and the case would be thrown out. Well, we had a fugitive passing law and illegal judgement here.. the gun control, full term abortions, higher taxes, the reprieve for illegal immigrants.. everything Bates was a part of (everything so far in 2019) should now be null and void. That is if we were to follow the Constitution or make these lawmakers follow the laws they pass and take oaths to uphold. Not a single statement from a single politician regarding this subject- tells me they are all guilty and connected. RISE- SPEAK- VOTE in 2020.

  4. Repost:
    Soo…Mr Bates has no middle name according to Ballotpedia…other pics, do not clearly show face, besides this one. Statehouse photo is wearing shades? One of him shooting is a difficult to see blurred face, there is much more online if anyone cares to look and its not special websites but readily available info…And quite frankly I’m appalled that a fugitive from justice with lengthy criminal history including violent crimes is given redcarpet treatment here in VT period. As our own w/far less charges languish behind bars and end up dying in out of state for-profit prisons.

    Hang your head in shame those who support this injustice esp the likes of our top-cop and sanctuary-state supporting AG and our governor – cowardly lion Phil Scott.

  5. In October 2017 Sen. Debbie Ingram crashed her car into a ditch a mile from her home while driving drunk. Her blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit. Her colleagues in the Montpelier asylum promptly circled the wagons and announced her sainthood, and she was reelected by automatons who would vote for the devil if he was on the Democrat ticket and promised free stuff. If you ever have any interaction with Ms. Ingram in a context where you do not 100% agree with her and you have the temerity to voice it you would find this intemperate woman from Atlanta, GA to be angry, vitriolic and intolerant. In other words, indistinguishable from most of the rest of the Democrat establishment.

    • Perhaps you’ve discovered a new way expunge peoples record, run on D ticket in Vermont, all your sins will be washed away!!!

      It’s the new Vermont Baptism….we don’t have religion…so somebody had to do the baptizing.

      Scary implications

  6. One more “Gold Star” for Vermont. I guess we’ve gotten to the point where past transgressions add to one’s qualifications to serve in Montpelier. What’s next?

  7. Corruption runs deep in the democratic party. Why do people keep voting for it?

  8. Two more of the judges most fabulous rulings appear to be:

    Ordered a man to pay $20,000 a month alimony, The perp hung himself after the
    verdict. Highly outrageous.

    Gave a man accused of Rape Probation after being found Guilty..

    I’d say that and the fact his wifes been a teacher (kindergarten) all her life would presumably be just Another Corrupt Democrat Judicial slime. Typical Chitcongo corruptocrat.

  9. Wow, that was convenient, rather timely too. What a coincidence, his criminal activities are found out in our fine state, published on a state wide news organization and within what 2 weeks, the judges in his former state make every thing disappear?


    Talk about connected. This is pretty scary, seriously, very surprising.

  10. DemocRATs, what a dull world we would have if they weren’t in Politics !!
    And they are always innocent, “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.

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