NIU professor Trude A. Jacobsen sentencing postponed for 30 days

January 30, 2019

DeKALB – A tenured Northern Illinois University professor on Tuesday received a 30-day reprieve from sentencing after being convicted of aggravated DUI.

At a sentencing hearing in DeKalb County court, an attorney for Trude A. Jacobsen, 44, of the 2200 block of Frantum Road in Sycamore, asked Judge Phil Montgomery for a retrial.

Ken Johnson, of Johnson & Buh in Sycamore, said jurors were improperly swayed during the trial, including because tape of a 911 call was replayed for jurors, despite the fact they had not asked to hear it again.

“The 911 call told the jury to give more weight to that item improperly,” Johnson said.

Judge Montgomery denied that request.

Johnson then requested an extended window to review what he called “new information,” which he said he received Tuesday morning, regarding the case.

Johnson did not provide any detail regarding the information.

Judge Montgomery granted the request.

Johnson did not respond to requests for comment after the hearing.

Jacobsen has been a tenured faculty member at NIU since August 2012, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request.

Her work there includes teaching courses on southeast Asia, and women and gender studies, and she earns a salary of about $80,000 a year, plus about $14,000 in additional compensation, according to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

She was convicted in December of aggravated DUI with an April 2, 2017, incident where she was arrested with her 7-year-old child in the car.

During the incident, Jacobsen was headed south on Peace Road near DeKalb Avenue, and was pulled over for driving erratically about 7:30 p.m., records show.

According to Illinois driving laws, a third DUI conviction is a Class 2 felony, and a conviction includes a minimum sentence of 10 days in jail or

480 hours of community service (when sentenced to a term of probation). Because Jacobsen’s 7-year-old child was in the car when she was arrested, she faced at least six months in jail and 400 hours of community service.

She previously had been convicted twice of DUI charges in DeKalb County, the first conviction was in January 2015, and the second was in October 2017, according to DeKalb County court records.

After the second conviction, Jacobsen served two days in jail and was sentenced to 18 months of nonreporting conditional discharge, 240 hours of public service and alcohol treatment, records show.

Jacobsen’s next sentencing hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday,

March 6, at the DeKalb County Courthouse, 133 W. State St. in Sycamore.

Update hourly