- Why was he out on only $100,000 bail while he was awaiting trial?
- Didn't the jurist who set the bail have any concern for public safety (unlike the distinguished her honor Nancy Shugar)?
- Who paid the bail?
- Did he put up a house he owned?
- Did a relative put up a house?
- Or did one of our bondsmen offer him a get out of jail 1% bail, financing the other $9K, so poor little drunkard could go home to have another one on us.
- Who's car was he driving?
- How did he get tags?
- Who insured that vehicle?
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Drunk drivers and the killing of the Hopkins Student
Buz has been following the story of the numbnuts who wandered around the city last week, scaring the beejesus out of everybody, both before and after he hit a Hopkins student, left the scene, did not render aid, and she later died.
We shook our head in dismay, but hardly in surprise. More than 30 years ago, I used to go to traffic court a lot, and had arrested a fair number of drunk drivers myself. I was amazed at how many of the offenders in court were repeat offenders. And I began to realize how weak the Maryland law is on boozehounds. It eventually dawned on me that fines, license suspensions/revocations and the threat of jail does not deter and does not punish these folks.
Ya don't need a license to drive, you only need a set of car keys. So, the only real way to stop them is to, for some period of time, take their car away--on the first offense, and longer on subsequent offenses. Of course, I know: it might be someone else's car they are driving, and there may be "hardship" in the family. tough. Gotta do the time if you're gonna do the crime. And it has to be combined with jail, or the threat of jail, along with some kind of treatment for his alcohol problem. Not to mention the lack of responsibility problems these folks have.
Jail and treatment work for some folks, but not for many. Time after time, people who get convicted for drunk driving charges simply continue driving.
Only jail and seizing their car, or the car they were driving would stop them.
In this latest case: more questions arise than are answered:
The sad truth is all of us are complicit in some small way in that Hopkins student's death: our ambivalence toward drinking; our legislature full of wine-drinking defense attorneys; our love of Ravens and tailgating (betcha they're not drinking Pepsi out there); our ignoring people driving away from Ravens games with beers in their hand; our night clubs offering deals to get you drunk as a skunk before you go back to the dorm; judges and MVA officials who fall for sob stories, and the drinkers themselves, who love the taste and their high--but don't want to take any responsibility for what they do drunk (everybody wants to get to heaven, but nobody wants to die). The list could go on for a while.