Mark Ditka, son of former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, was ordered to Lake County Jail this morning after failing to convince a judge that the opiate prosecutors said was found in his system during a drug test was prescribed by a doctor.
But Ditka was released from custody a short time later after his lawyer succeeded in getting another judge to lower his bond.
Judge Brian Hughes this morning raised the bond amount for the younger Ditka, who is awaiting trial on his fourth DUI charge, from $25,000 to $50,000. Hughes said he was not convinced that the letter Ditka furnished from a North Shore dental clinic – indicating he had been prescribed Vicodin in December 2010 and November 2011 – could account for the positive results of a drug test taken earlier this month.
“I have grave concerns about his ability to comply with pretrial services,” said Hughes, noting a time when Ditka was not at home during curfew hours.
The judge had ordered Ditka on Friday to furnish a prescription after Ditka said he swore “on my children’s lives” that the opiate was properly dispensed by a doctor.
Following Hughes’ decision today, Ditka’s attorney, Robert Ritacca said he client was unable to post the additional $2,500 that Ditka, 49, would need to make bail. Ritacca requested that the matter be heard by a different judge.
The second judge, John Phillips, then agreed to lower Ditka’s bond to $30,000 – requiring Ditka to post $500 more in bail to be released -- but admonished him not to drink or take drugs. He noted that Ditka was awaiting trial on a separate DUI charge when he was charged with aggravated DUI and possession of a controlled substance in October near his Deerfield home.
“You better not take any medication unless you have a current prescription,” Phillips said. “A year-old Vicodin prescription is something that is not acceptable.”
Phillips also imposed a curfew of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., except to go to work. Ditka said he is a manager at a Chicago restaurant and often works late at night, his lawyer said.
Court records show that in addition to the two pending cases against Ditka, he has been charged with DUI on two other past occasions. In one case, he was acquitted; in another, the charges were reduced.
Before he was taken into custody, Ditka was asked how his father, the legendary Bears coach, was doing. Mike Ditka had a stroke on Friday – the same day his son went to court and learned he tested positive for opiates.
“He’s doing well,” Mark Ditka said of his father. “He just needs to rest for a few weeks.”