Saw this on a couple of National blogs, and because most people react with, really, 20 days on a first time DUI? I guess it’s kind of a big deal. Two stories about this, before I briefly comment:
- The Detroit Free Press Article on the actual Sentencing.
- A Detroit Free Press Article titled “Oakland County judge among toughest in nation on 1st-time drunken driving offenders”
So, there’s the backdrop. And, I guess, a positive note is that Jalen Rose didn’t get favorable treatment because he’s a celebrity. I think, like most people, the outcome of this is a bit surprising to me. The Freep article lists an attorney who says he won’t defend a DUI in Judge Small’s courtroom because of how the Judge handles them. I guess that’s one way to handle the situation.
Here’s another…TMZ has quotes from Jalen’s Attorney, Keith Davidson:
Davidson adds, “[Jalen] was the victim of abuse of discretion; lack of proportionality in sentencing; legislating from the bench & instituting illegal minimum mandatory sentences for DUIs in violation of law. “
And, a quote from Judge Small, presumably during the sentencing, definitely not to TMZ:
“There lies the answer to drunk driving,” Small said. “Send a message out there that there will be serious consequences.”
Does incarceration such as the one Rose received deter drunk driving? Let’s keep quoting…
“The studies show it has no impact,” said James Fell, senior program director for the Alcohol, Policy and Safety Research Center in Maryland. “Jail is really only an effective tool if it is used as a threat to make the drunk driver comply with other orders for probation, treatment, community service, alcohol testing.”
That from the second Freep Article I linked to. The Freep, seem to be all over this story. They even had a piece Monday about another Oakland County Judge finding success with a sobriety court program…aimed at treatment, rather than incarceration.
Where do I fall on this? I find it a bit dubious to believe that Rose’s sentence is going to deter drunk driving, either from Rose himself, or from others. But, at the same time, if we trust our Judges enough to enter into alternative programs, I guess there should be some measure of leeway in the other direction. Even though, 20 days on a first offense strikes me as over the top.
I realize drunk driving is a serious offense, but, we’re talking about the sentencing of a first time DUI and how to best handle the situation for society as a whole. In handling DUI matters, you certainly realize that it’s an offense where a mistake is often made by good people and you want to best get them to avoid those mistakes moving forward.
So, any thoughts on Jalen? Too harsh? Just right? Feel free to comment.