Grr.

I just want to know why he wasn’t in jail.

A former Allegheny County man with a string of drunken driving arrests (seven DUIs) has been charged with drunken driving again in an accident outside Morgantown, W.Va., Sunday night that killed five people (three of them children) and critically injured three others.

For this reason alone, DUI punishment should be:

First offense:  500 hours of community service.

Second offense:  60 days in jail

Third offense:  5 years in jail.

No bail.  No time reduced for good behavior.  Not ever.

What judges are letting guys with seven DUI’s run around free?

Grr.

(h/t Sofa King … I think)





29 Comments

  1. TRUTHTELLER
    July 10, 2007 11:56 am

    Prison overcrowding, as well as the fact that it is less expensive to allow the individual to reside in the community and pay for their own living expenses than it is to have their living expenses covered by the government.

    I used to be a drug and alcohol casemanager and dealt with a man who had 13 dui arrests. This stuff happens ALL THE TIME.



  2. pittgirl
    July 10, 2007 11:59 am

    But doesn’t it follow that if you make the punishment a million times harsher, less people will DUI and therefore less of them actually would go to jail.

    I’m saying scare them straight.



  3. BBM
    July 10, 2007 12:29 pm

    I doubt people think of the consequences when they DUI. I’ve never heard someone standing by their car after a long night on the South Side muttering, “Am I OK to drive or not? I might lose my license, pay a fine, go to jail, or kill five people.” It’s more like, “I only had a couple. I can drive.” It’s that whole alcohol impairs judgement thing.

    That said, I hope that guy spends the rest of his life in jail. And I want him stone-cold sober when the other inmates go after him for murdering kids.



  4. TRUTHTELLER
    July 10, 2007 12:46 pm

    Harsher punishments are often ineffective because no one thinks it will happen to them. Also, lack of follow through by probation officers and the court system is a real problem. You can place a person under house arrest, but when their ankle bracelet alarm sounds, the p.o. must respond and take the person to court. Assuming the p.o. does such, then the hearing officer in court must issue an order for imprisonment. Then, the next day, the person’s attorney will likely arrange for them to be released pending another hearing and hence the opportunity to commit the crime again. People who have substance abuse issues could care less about harsher punishments, their focus is on getting their next fix. The ones who just made a bad decision one night are not likely to be affected much by the harsher punishment mandates – the impaired decision-making the night of the crime would override any reservations that they may have about driving drunk.



  5. chrys
    July 10, 2007 12:55 pm

    I really don’t believe anybody can be “scared straight.” The individual has to want to be better. I have a relative who is an alcoholic, and a mean one at that. The sad thing about his situation is that he knew a lot of cops that would let him go.. It amazed me everytime my Mom would relay these stories. I agree, harsher sentencing needs to be implemented for the repeat offender.. something needs to be done to keep them off of the road.. possibly for good!!



  6. spoon
    July 10, 2007 12:58 pm

    My car has been hit 3 times by my drunk neighbor or one of his friends. He rarely works, there are times I’ve seen him drinking/passed out at 1pm next to this -> http://www.superunknown.com/graphics/toilet.jpg (yes that’s his toilet), stole a backhoe and then drove it around Bellevue, was in jail for beating his gf who when he was released brought him 3 30packs of Beast Light, took a jigsaw to one neighbors fence and shoots fireworks at cars. The same judge that keeps letting this guy off is probably the same one as Mr. 7 DUI’s above.

    and people wonder why I’m moving…



  7. Pensgirl
    July 10, 2007 1:02 pm

    It doesn’t seem to matter how harsh the penalties are; they’re simply not being enforced. For some reason driving infractions are given a lot of lenience by judges, whether they’re drunk, reckless, and/or driving even though they have a condition that is risky (like narcolepsy). Apparently judges think that they and their families are immune to the risks such drivers pose…if not, please tell me what it is because I can’t figure it out.



  8. Pensgirl
    July 10, 2007 1:02 pm

    It doesn’t seem to matter how harsh the penalties are; they’re simply not being enforced. For some reason driving infractions are given a lot of lenience by judges, whether they’re drunk, reckless, and/or driving even though they have a condition that is risky (like narcolepsy). Apparently judges think that they and their families are immune to the risks such drivers pose…at least that’s how they act when they let these jerks go free.



  9. TRUTHTELLER
    July 10, 2007 1:22 pm

    LOL :)-



  10. the violet
    July 10, 2007 1:27 pm

    If this loser was living with mommy and daddy why the hell couldn’t they put their proverbial foot down and take the keys AWAY from their son. From the tone of the article, dad had a disturbing amount of knowledge regarding his son’s drinking problems. How could they let him live under their roof and condone his illegal driving! And for the love of God, the man had a brand new ’06 or ’07 truck! WTF! How does THAT happen!?



  11. SirFuller
    July 10, 2007 2:21 pm

    While I do agree with harsher sentences, which have been coming along the pike for some time — that is not always the answer.

    On a radio show earlier today they were discussing this topic and what it came down to is far too many judges prefer to suspend licenses rather than establishing breathing systems in vehicles.

    These are the devices in which a driver has to breath into them to start the car. If an amount of alcohol is detected, the vehicle won’t start.

    From what I got out of this conversation is that this method is very effective but will not take place until license suspension concludes. The problem with that is just by taking away a license does not necessarily stop an offender from driving.

    However, a breathing system in the car could prevent more DUI’s from occurring…



  12. PCC
    July 10, 2007 2:47 pm

    Send him to AZ where he’ll work for his food!…. in maximum security!

    Prison should be Prison… not a holding tank with A/C, TV, internet, and then some.

    1. Make them dig graves, by hand!
    2. Force them to work in a rehab facility where folks have lost limbs because of driver’s like him.

    Chances are he’ll never know the hell he’s brought on the familie’s he’s affected. If his parents have anything to do with enabling his actions, while he lives under their roof, then haul them in as well.



  13. Funky Dung
    July 10, 2007 2:49 pm

    “I’m saying scare them straight.”

    I’m saying spay/neuter them with a dull spoon. I’m all about giving people second chances (with reasonable limits), but allowing ANYONE to rack up more than 2 DUI convictions and remain free is seriously jacked up. BTW, if harsher penalties don’t work, I suppose we should let murderers and rapists off with a slap on the wrist, too.



  14. Sofa King
    July 10, 2007 3:01 pm

    El Salvador got it right…sorta. Any injury or fatality caused by a drunk driver should be punished that way.

    If they don’t want to overcrowd the jails, put them on house arrest, but rig their ankle bracelets with tasers so that any time they try to leave the house or removed it, it shocks the ever-living sh*t out of them.



  15. Joe
    July 10, 2007 4:14 pm

    Only 60 days for a second offense? It should be harsher. Drunk drivers are putting other people’s lives in danger.



  16. Repeat DUI Offenders
    July 10, 2007 4:20 pm

    1st conviction = community service + big fine
    2nd conviction = amputate non-primary hand
    3rd conviction = amputate primary hand
    4th conviction = amputate feet + give them bus pass



  17. Repeat DUI Offenders
    July 10, 2007 4:25 pm

    PS – he sure is smiley in his mugshot!



  18. Still A. Fan
    July 10, 2007 5:35 pm

    i have no problems with execution on the second offense. the first if ANYBODY was killed or maimed in the first besides the driver.

    why can i control myself when out but others can’t?

    somebody ever seriosuly hurts or kills someone in my family by DUI……i’m going old testament on them OR THEIR families.



  19. honda driver
    July 10, 2007 8:16 pm

    maximum sentence for repeat offenders. and i say this firsthand, having had my world turned upside down when a drunk driver killed my father, the sole breadwinner, many years ago. the guy had no insurance and got off easy. God bless my mom for pulling herself up by her bootstraps and raising 4 kids on her own.



  20. steeler tom
    July 10, 2007 10:08 pm

    Chain gangs work wonders. Give em’ all something productive to do. It works in Maricopa County, AZ!
    God bless sheriff Joe!
    (I don’t even live there but maybe soon I will if the Job offer is written down for me)



  21. Frank
    July 11, 2007 10:14 am

    The solution is rehab in conjunction with jail.



  22. TRUTHTELLER
    July 11, 2007 10:21 am

    JAIL, REHAB, TRANSITION BACK TO THE COMMUNITY AND ONGOING SUPPORT NEED ADDRESSED.



  23. BBM
    July 11, 2007 10:46 am

    So I felt the need to look up the punishment for DUI in PA:

    http://www.ptma-mc.org/DUI%20enforcement_2-04htm.htm.

    Then I saw Motznik’s proposed punishment for not licensing a cat. “The penalty for failure to license a cat would be $100 for the first offense and $500 or jail time up to 72 hours for subsequent offenses.” (http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/13656499/detail.html)

    Sooooooo, the punishment for not licensing a cat (if it was your second offense), would be harsher than a first time DUI? What? Could someone, anyone, explain to me how that makes any sense?



  24. Johnny
    July 11, 2007 12:05 pm

    In defense of our system, judges really do enforce the penalties in Allegheny Co. There is a sentencing matrix and there are mandatories. Judges are not shy in giving those and more. The problem is that the repeat ofenders, (a) don’t care and (b) don’t consider any alternative to driving.

    Also, I know that this guy is not just having a glass of wine with dinner and getting pulled over, but, PA now has a lower rate for being DUI, .08. With that amount, a normal person would be over the legal limit by drinking one higher alcohol craft beer or a large glass of wine.

    Have you ever had 2 glasses of wine with dinner? 2 margaritas? 2 beers? and then drove?
    I think you would be surprised at your bac level. I think that there should be more access to portable, personal or free use bac testers in bars so that people won’t just guess or convince themselves that they are “fine”.



  25. Kelli
    July 11, 2007 1:29 pm

    Yes, PA, and most other states have lowered their limit to .08, which is actually an interference by the federal government.

    It is up to states to set their own BAC legal levels. However, by threatening to withhold federal highway funds from any state that didn’t lower theirs to .08, the federal government was able to control where states set their limits.

    I know, totally off the topic. But the whole .08 chaps my pro-smaller government ass, not because of the level it is, but how we ended up at it.



  26. TRUTHTELLER
    July 11, 2007 1:32 pm

    Hah, yeah right. MAYBE in a perfect world bac testers in bars would work, but not the current one. There is no “one” solution. A comprehensive approach is necessary – I’ve worked in the field for many years and have seen it firsthand. Penalties alone will not even come CLOSE to solving this issue.



  27. danopsu
    July 11, 2007 4:08 pm

    Kelli-

    Not only did the feds pressure the states to lower their BAC to .08, they also did that when they turned the legal limit to 21 years old. Not the first time the govt played the heavy by any means.

    The guy had a newer pickup I think. I think that it if a person wants to buy a vehicle with either cash or via a loan, the dealer should be able to do a background check to see if you have points or have lost your license for any reason. Just my opinion…



  28. Kelli
    July 11, 2007 5:01 pm

    danopsu,

    Oh, I agree, it isn’t the first time the feds have pulled that crap. It still chaps my ass.

    Also, I agree with you assessment of cash-only car purchases. In fact, it seems to me I caught something on the news last week that the DA was trying to take a vehicle purchased with cash by a multiple DUI offender, under the arguement it was an instrument of crime – just like preventing convicted felons from buying guns. The idea was that eventually maybe there would be a background check for anyone who didn’t finance a vehicle

    Usually a credit check for financing reveals a DUI – increased insurance premiums or lost insurance, income loss, all sorts of ways. And if it doesn’t, the financing company always checks insurability on anyone purchasing financed vehicles – they won’t give you the loan if you are an insurance risk. Some times it seems like the insurance companies come down harder on the drunk drivers than the cops do.