Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A judge's hard cell approach to drunk drivers

A district court judge in Oakland County is too tough on drunk drivers.
At least that is what some people are saying.
I say B.S.
If Judge Kimberly Small rules within established sentencing guidelines, so be it.
If you ask me, those parameters are too lenient anyway.
Just ask Rick and Debbie Moskwa of Hazel Park.
Their son, Ricky, died because of some idiot who chose to drink and then drive.
It was nearly a decade ago and the Moskwas are still mourning.
“Ricky would’ve been 34 in May,” said his dad, Rick. “He died nine years ago. We put the balloons up again this year.”
Thirty four balloons and every one contained a note.
“Things like ‘Happy Birthday and I miss you, Ricky,” said his dad.
Former University of Michigan Fab Five member Jalen Rose, an ESPN analyst, should’ve known better.
Rose, 38, was arrested March 11 in West Bloomfield after crashing his Cadillac Escalade on Walnut Lake Road.
Rose registered a 0.08 on a roadside Breathalyzer, which is the legal limit to be considered drunken driving. Later, a blood test showed a level of 0.12.
Rose pleaded guilty to a single count of operating a vehicle while under the influence, a 93-day misdemeanor. It was reduced to 20 days in jail.
“I have no one to blame but myself for endangering the community,” he told Small.
Rose, a Detroit native, has done some outstanding work in the community.
Still, that was hardly an outstanding decision to get behind the wheel.
Thank God nobody was hurt or killed. Everybody including the Moskwas are thankful for that.
Miguel Cabrera should’ve known better, too.
There he was on the eve of spring training this year in St. Lucie County charged with driving under the influence and resisting arrest.
Cabrera was spotted by a deputy in a car with a smoking engine alongside a road in Fort Pierce. Inside the vehicle, Cabrera smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and took a swig from a bottle of scotch in front of a deputy, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office. He refused to cooperate and more deputies were called to the scene.
The arrest occurred about 110 miles southeast of Lakeland.
Cabrera also had an embarrassing conclusion to the 2010 season. An all-night drinking binge turned into a fight with his wife and a 911 call to Birmingham police. Team general manager Dave Dombrowski picked him up from jail. No charges were filed.
Thank God nobody was hurt or killed. Everybody including the Moskwas are thankful for that.
In a motion filed earlier this week in district court in Bloomfield Township, it’s claimed that Small violates the constitutional rights of defendants by putting almost all-first time drunken drivers in jail.
That is B.S.
Should first-timers get a gimme? Is there a mulligan in there somewhere; an implicit agreement that one impaired driving offense should be shrugged at?
There was no gimme for Ricky Moskwa. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 33,808 people died in traffic crashes in 2009 in the United States including an estimated 10,839 people who were killed in drunk driving crashes involving a driver with an illegal blood alcohol count of .08 or greater.
So Judge Small is too tough? I say the law is not tough enough.
Keep it up, judge. Hopefully the more people who visit jail, the fewer times we have to go to the funeral parlor or the cemetery.


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