J.A.I.L. News Journal
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Los Angeles, California                                             February 24, 2005
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Drunk Driving Judges a Big Problem
 
http://www.kobtv.com/index.cfm?viewer=storyviewer&id=17070&cat=DWI
Judge arrested for DWI

February 12, 2005 2:59:06 PM
By: Todd Dukart

Sante Fe County sheriff's deputies arrested a state district judge Friday afternoon for allegedly driving with a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit.

Judge Tom Fitch was arrested just before 1:00 Friday afternoon. Deputies say the state-owned van he was driving rolled into a ditch at the dead end of Paseo de River in Santa Fe.

Deputies say an open container of vodka was found in the vehicle.

Fitch was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital for an apparent heart attack. He is in satisfactory condition.

The judge is charged with careless driving, aggravated DWI and having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.


 
Fourth Offense Judge Caught Driving Drunk
 
 
Tesuque judge arrested on 4th DWI
 
February 15, 2005 8:30:26 AM
By: Associated Press

 

TESUQUE PUEBLO, N.M. (AP) - Court records say a Tesuque Pueblo judge has been arrested for the fourth time on suspicion of drunken driving.

Tribal Judge David Tapia was pulled over in Santa Fe on February 4th for careless driving.

A probable cause statement for his arrest says he'd stopped briefly at a green light and was talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device as required by city law.

The arresting officer says he smelled liquor on Tapia's breath and noticed that his speech was slurred. The officer says in his report that Tapia admitted drinking a glass of wine with dinner.

Tapia refused to submit to any field sobriety tests and refused to take a blood-alcohol test, which under state law results in an automatic loss of one's driver's license for a year.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


Drunk Driving Lands Judge Two Days In Jail
 
 
Judge pleads guilty to aggravated DWI
 
February 15, 2005 2:38:49 PM
By: Reed Upton
 

SANTA FE (AP) - State District Judge Thomas Fitch of Socorro pleaded guilty this afternoon to drunken driving and other charges.

Fitch also apologized during a 14-minute hearing before Magistrate George Anaya Jr. in Santa Fe. He said he made an irresponsible choice to drive after drinking, but he says he's taking responsibility for what he called his poor judgment.

The charges stemmed from the crash of the government van he was driving in Santa Fe on Friday.

Fitch says he's immediately entering a treatment program.

Fitch pleaded guilty to aggravated driving while intoxicated, careless driving and having an open container -- every offense he had been charged with.

He was sentenced to the maximum 90 days, with 88 days of that suspended.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


More Judges Needed
Because of Drunk Driving
 

 
Chief justice seeks more judgeships,
help for public defenders
January 20, 2005 11:32:43 AM
By: Associated Press

SANTA FE (AP) - The state Supreme Court's chief justice says the fight against drunken driving will require more funding for the judiciary.

Chief Justice Richard Bosson delivered a State of the Judiciary speech to a joint session of the Legislature.

Bosson asked for budget expansions to provide at least six more judgeships across the state and additional staff for courts. He also appealed to lawmakers to provide more money for the Public Defender Department, which represents criminal defendants.

Bosson touched on a sensitive topic for the judiciary:  the arrest last year of District Judge John Brennan on drunken driving and drug possession charges. Brennan has resigned and pleaded guilty to aggravated DWI and cocaine possession.

Bosson says the incident has forced the courts to focus on maintaining judicial integrity and preserving public confidence.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

 

 
Non-Judge Drunk Driver's Get Cars  Conficated, And The Book Thrown At Them
 

Albuquerque police confiscate nearly 200 cars from DWI suspects

February 12, 2005 3:10:03 PM
By: Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - Albuquerque police confiscated nearly 200 cars and trucks from drunken drivers last month, about 45 percent more than usual.

Assistant City Attorney Stan Harada says the number of vehicles taken by police started to climb around Thanksgiving. He said it's unclear whether the recent bump in seizures is permanent or just a symptom of holiday parties.

A city ordinance allows officers to take vehicles driven by people caught for DWI if the offenders have a previous DWI conviction. Police also seize vehicles from people caught driving while intoxicated with a revoked license that stemmed from a DWI.

Some of the vehicles end up being auctioned, with proceeds going to anti-DWI education programs. About 65 vehicles were auctioned Feb. 5, and the city expects to auction more than 100 in April.

 

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


There appears to be two standards at play here for drunk drivers. One is for the judges, and another for the non-judges, who get their cars conviscated and sold, and thrown in jail. The objective, we are told, is "maintaining judicial integrity and preserving public confidence."

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