Vermont Rep. Chris Bates: ‘I don’t have to go back to Illinois — ever’

With a potentially final status hearing before an Illinois judge now scheduled for December, state Rep. Chris Bates says that his legal woes stemming from a 2012 court order are nearing an end.

The hearing, scheduled for Dec. 9 at the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of McHenry County, appears to be the last one addressing the lawmaker’s failure to comply with conditions set by a sentencing order related to a Class 4 felony aggravated DUI.

Specifically, Bates failed to go through a court-ordered alcohol treatment program, skipped an October 2013 court appearance, and didn’t pay various fines, court costs and fees.

state of Vermont

Rep. Chris Bates, D-Bennington

On July 1, Bates’ attorney, Jeffrey Altman, of the law firm Donahue and Walsh P.C., filed a motion to “recall and quash” an earlier warrant for the legislator’s arrest. Two days later, Judge Michael E. Coppedge granted Bates’ motion with the proviso that the attorney appear in court on Aug. 9 for a status conference in order to get updated information.

In an interview last week with TNR, Bates said he believes he has met all of the judge’s requirements.

“It is all behind me now. I have a few hours of (alcohol counseling) to finish up now,” he said. “After my 20 hours are done, things are completely dropped and everything is back to normal.”

Altman said in a recent court statement that Bates paid a final due amount of $400 and received an alcohol evaluation through United Counseling Service, a treatment provider in the state of Vermont.

But Assistant Illinois State’s Attorney Susanne Groebner, who appeared in court on behalf of the plaintiff, expressed skepticism during a July hearing before the judge.

“[Bates] was found to be high risk with 75 hours of treatment necessary, and now all of a sudden he gets another evaluation that says he’s in remission and that he doesn’t need any treatment. But still, the court’s order was that he complete 75 hours of treatment,” Groebner told the judge.

Bates’ recent legal woes began when the court granted him a conditional discharge on April 12, 2012. The court order came with numerous conditions, 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.” Bates subsequently moved to Vermont without alerting the Illinois court.

The order also barred Bates from “possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon.”  Within five days of signing the 2012 discharge, Bates was photographed holding a semi-automatic rifle in a time-stamped digital photograph.

The Bennington Democrat has a long criminal record that includes charges of battery, drunk driving, driving without a license and failure to appear in court. The state of Illinois issued an arrest warrant for Bates when he missed the court appearance scheduled on Oct. 15, 2013.

Three years later, on Oct. 16, 2017, Illinois filed an amended petition for revocation of Bates’ 2012 conditional discharge, stating that Bates violated the conditions of his discharge.

However, as of the Aug. 9 hearing, the Illinois court is requiring just 20 hours of intensive alcohol-abuse counseling and treatment, not the original 75 hours.

Bates told TNR that all his legal matters were now behind him.

“I was evaluated by two (professionals) and found to be ‘no risk’ at all, but the state of Illinois wants me to take a crash course here in Vermont,” he said. “And then that’s the end of it. … Everything is dropped.”

Bates said he is paying the price for past personal actions.

“Had I paid the fine none of this would have happened,” he said.

While Bates told TNR earlier this year that he had no interest in seeking reelection, he now appears to be rethinking the idea.

“I can’t look into the future,” he noted. “I have to see where I am at the end of the (next legislative) session.”

He added that he is not required to return to Illinois for the Dec. 9 status conference.

“I don’t have to go back to Illinois — ever. Good riddance,” Bates said.

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

Image courtesy of state of Vermont

13 thoughts on “Vermont Rep. Chris Bates: ‘I don’t have to go back to Illinois — ever’

  1. This is where the concept of “white privilege” comes from for black people.

    and I don’t blame them for thinking so in cases like this

  2. The reason Bates is treated differentially is because of the ” D ” next to his name. Wise up people, until we have a lot more ” R’s ” this one sided treatment is going to continue. Just look at how many ” lawmakers ” and I use that term loosely through the the country have misdemeanor an felonies on their records. How can we expect criminals to bring criminals to justice ?

  3. Demontarded diversity, import criminals to run for dem slots to teach our local grown dems how to be successful criminals. The problem with gov in VT IS the left are ALL flatlanders without a clue of what a independent self reliant Vermonter really is. All the hate America first leftocrats work for 24/7 is the national leftarded policy, not giving a crap about VT…its about spreading the stupidity of their ideology not working for Vter’s.

  4. Bates is our kind of guy and he and the voters who put him in office deserve each other. Did anyone gather to vet this guy when he ran for office??? This one more example of the low to which Vermont voters in his district have sunk. Sad, sad, sad. And you know what? He’ll get reelected.

  5. This less than desirable resident doesn’t have to stay here either.

    Perhaps he’d be better off choosing another state to re-start his life.

  6. The story about the Felon mr. Bates is truly amazing.

    This Democratic representative from Bennington Vermont has a rap sheet 19 pages long. He came to the state of Vermont to avoid prosecution in his own state. He is a felon that has been in possession of guns in the state of Vermont and yet nothing has been done about it.

    We have another gentleman that purchased a couple of 30 round magazines that on their own can do absolutely no harm to anything or anyone yet this man was prosecuted for violating the law.

    It is truly saddening in a state where we have a governor that says we need more gun laws where we have an attorney general that supports a governor who says we need more gun laws yes he does absolutely nothing to prosecute this gentleman.

    Is the state of Vermont suffering with a two-tiered justice system?

    Based on the obvious facts I believe it’s true.

  7. It’s pretty sad in the state of Vermont when we prosecute a man for buying magazines for a gun that are illegal but can do absolutely no damage to anyone yet we let Chris Bates Run free even though he is a felon and has had guns in the state of Vermont.

    Chris States is the Democratic representative from Bennington Vermont who slithered into the state of Vermont to avoid prosecution where he came from.

    It’s a sad day in Vermont when we let a mad man with a gun Run free and wee prosecute another man for a purchase that is absolutely harmless.

    Vermonters when you go to vote remember all the inconsistency in the way the laws are applied

    • It serves as a warning that we’re not treated equally. How one’s treated by our corrupt system depends on their political affiliation.

      That’s a sure-fire recipe for failure and, eventually, a bloody second revolution.

      • not political affiliation, it’s bank account size. Whether it was Al Gores son with a carload of dope, or Bush Jr.’s daughters driving drunk all over the place. Their kids never spend a day in jail.

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