A Tucson woman, Melissa Arrington, was charged with negligent homicide and two counts of aggravated DUI offense after she swerved off the road in her car to hit a cyclist, Paul L’Ecuyer, in December 2006.
Arrington could have been stuck with a minimum sentence of four years, but the judge didn’t hesitate to give her a much higher sentence of 10.5 years, one year less than the maximum, for a phone call that was played at trial that he called “breathtaking in its inhumanity.”
According to court records and news reports, in the phone call a friend said that a mutual friend said Arrington should be applauded for the incident, saying she should get a parade and a medal for “taking out” a “tree hugger, a bicyclist, a Frenchman and a gay guy all in one shot.”
Arrington responded with a laugh, and when her friend admitted that it was a terrible thing to say, Arrington replied, “No, it’s not.”
How you behave in the DUI court and your contrition for your actions can go a long way in convincing the judge that you regret your DUI and the illegal or damaging actions that resulted.
The judge in this case obviously thought that Arrington’s laugh indicated she wasn’t remorseful for her actions.
Kiefer Sutherland, who was jailed nearly two months ago for violating a DUI probation by, you guessed it, driving under the influence again, was released yesterday from the Los Angeles County jail.
Sutherland had pleaded no contest to having a blood alcohol level above the legal limit of 0.08, which netted him 30 days in the clink, plus another 18 for the violation of probation.
However, the production of the hit TV show “24,” which features Sutherland as inimitable and intimidating special agent Jack Bauer, has been halted due to the Writer’s Guild of America’s writer’s strike.
An article published last October in USA Today recounts the increasingly common sight of breathalyzers administered at high schools social functions such as sports events and dances.
High school administrators have found the small breath test devices to be a cheap and publicly-visible way to deter students from trying to attend social events drunk or with alcohol. Peer pressure, the shame of testing positive in front of friends, is touted as a motivating factor behind the effectiveness of the portable breathalyzer.
While civil rights groups warn that if students are tested without “reasonable suspicion” and prior approval, it may be a violation of civil rights, schools often draft consent forms that students sign if they are to have the privilege of attending social functions.