Thursday, September 12, 2013

Conflicted...

This has been kicking around Facebook the past couple of days, and I'm not sure how I feel about it...

Online confession -- morally admirable, legally damaging
(CNN) -- An Ohio driver recently made a confession that he caused a fatal wrong-way crash after drinking heavily. That, by itself, nothing new. After all, every day, hundreds of suspects sign full confessions, and many more defendants plead guilty before a judge.

A person volunteering to take criminal responsibility is not a novel concept. In fact, it's commonplace procedure in police interview rooms and courthouses. Nor is it unique that these admissions are videotaped; police often tape interview confessions and courtrooms record most guilty pleas.
Now, only Cordle himself knows his true motivations for the video confession. Maybe he did think it would help him at a trial. Maybe he did think that it was the right thing to do. Only he truly knows that. It is certainly going to make his defense team's work harder - but then again, since he claims his "high powered lawyers" told him he could beat the charge by lying, it's doubtful that they're terribly concerned about the actual legal proceedings.

The remainder of the article, though, grates on me. I'm sorry, but the "everybody does it" excuse is bulls**t. Yes, there are bars far away from public transportation - has this author ever heard of a designated driver? Or, perhaps, the idea that you can go to a bar and not drink to intoxication? There's a wide gulf between "a couple of beers with friends" and "so much alcohol you black out on the drive home and kill someone". And it does strike a raw nerve: thousands of people are killed by drunk drivers every year, but no one proposes one more law like they do after a mass shooting (which are orders of magnitude more rare than drunk driving fatalities).

And, just like the gun debate, the real solution is completely and utterly ignored. Start treating DUI episodes like, oh, I don't know, REAL CRIMES and watch the rates plummet. Rather than a slap on the wrist and some fines, start tossing people in jail when they get hammered and pour themselves behind the while. Start enforcing the existing laws (sound familiar) for multiple offenders - here in MA, for example, we have a possible five year jail sentence for the third offense - yet quite often, we have offenders committing their fourth DUI offense within 5 years of their third, meaning they were not in jail as they should (could) have been.

And, finally, if "everyone did it" - meaning drive while so drunk they could kill someone - we'd all be dead.

That is all.

4 comments:

Sigivald said...

There are also these "taxi" things...

Chaplain Tim said...

I was a pall-bearer for the first time at the age of 11 because a drunk driver killed my best friend. It was the driver's 17th DUI. At the age of 18, I buried another friend due to a drunk driver. Since then I have been to too many funerals due to drunk driving, and I have gotten in to arguments because I refuse to get behind the wheel of a car after more than two beers. I drink and I drive, but never at the same time.

Anonymous said...

There's lots of people that -do- drive impaired all the time, and don't run into anything. They're not blasted-drunk, but they are tipsy/buzzed, and so can't respond as quickly. It's a matter of running the odds with them. However, until they -do- hurt someone, then it really is a "no harm, no foul" situation.

THAT BEING SAID, I am hardly arguing in favor of any sort of impaired driving; rather, if they're not hurting anyone, it's kinda like smoking dope and frying your own brain cells. I don't like it, I don't approve, but I can't really stop it.

What would have a real effect, though, even more than prison, is to make the drunk driver - not his insurance, not the government, but him personally - responsible and billable for ALL damages, up to and including forcible liquidation of all his assets to pay, and he is NOT eligible for any sort of assistance from that point on. After a few wind up out on the street, with only one change of clothes to their name, and no money for food, I guarantee you, people would start thinking before they crank themselves and engines simultaneously.

But because this solution is "cruel" and "inhumane," I know our courts and legislatures will never allow it.

Crotalus said...

"...pour themselves behind the while"? What, are you BUI? (blogging under the influence. Nyuk nyuk nyuk!)