Drunken Driving Sentence a Knee-Slapper
Driver gets three years prison, victim is victimized again and the judge makes a fool of himself — can we rethink this?
Ann C. Stelling was sentenced to three years in prison for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated with alcohol and slamming her car into Robert Splan while he was riding his bicycle.
Stelling isn’t likely to serve the entire three years in prison, but she will have to serve three years of extended supervision and pay a fine plus Splan’s medical costs.
It was Stelling’s third drunken driving arrest. According to news reports, her insurance company advised her not to say anything in court.
Ozaukee County Judge Paul Malloy is quoted as saying, “You’re not being punished because you drank a lot. You’re being punished because you made the decision (to drive drunk again).”
Is this a circus or what!
First of all, one would presume a judge would understand that alcohol impairs judgment. It is bone-headed to expect a person to make a sound choice with over twice the legal limit of alcohol in her system.
Drunks believe they can drive their car competently.
"Drink Responsibly" campaigns by beer companies are based on the false premise that people can consume alcohol and still make good decisions. So just to be clear, for the judge and for the advertising guys: alcohol impairs judgement.
But this judge seems to think it’s okay to get hammered, so long as one doesn’t drive. Apparently, he feels so strongly on this issue that he was willing to go on record to that effect in court. It makes a person wonder if the judge accepts campaign financial support from alcoholic beverage producers.
Otherwise why would he say, "You’re not being punished because you drank a lot?"
It makes no sense. Is it necessary to continue the charade that alcohol doesn’t affect our brain function?
Let’s talk about an insurance company that elects to cover a person with two drunken driving arrests on her record, then tells her clam-up in court. Is that tampering with a witness? Who do they think they are protecting? Her?
Themselves? They should have to pay through the nose for being stupid and covering her in the first place.
What about the sentence? Does Splan have a beef? Is the sentence too lenient? Frankly, yes! The only thing that will stop Stelling from drinking and driving again is complete sobriety.
I think the appropriate sentence is to keep her behind bars until she is sober, and then it should be a felony for her to use alcohol under any circumstances.
Finally, she should be randomly tested for the presence of alcohol in her system throughout her lifetime. It's the sensible thing to do, but there isn't a politician in Wisconsin with the spine to reform our drunken driving laws, and there isn’t a judge in Wisconsin with the spine to make them stick.