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March 21, 2006

Why do we worry so much more about sex offenders than drunk drivers?

Stories this week from my local paper have me wondering again about why so much more attention is paid to sex offender sentencing than to sentencing for drunk drivers.  As detailed in this Columbus Dispatch story, "Flurry of bills deals with sex offenders," the "issue du jour in the Ohio legislature" is sentencing in sex crime cases:

Mandatory prison time, longer sentences, pink license plates, electronic monitoring, mental-institution referrals, residency restrictions — since the session started in January 2005, lawmakers from both parties have introduced 23 bills dealing with sex offenders.

And yet, as detailed in this recent Dispatch story, "Repeat DUI offenders skirt law, still driving," undue leniency seems to be a much bigger problem for drunk driving offenses:

Ohio toughened its law against repeat drunken drivers two years ago, yet more than 35,000 of them still sit behind the wheel.  Columbus prosecutors sometimes lie to the state about motorists who refuse to take Breathalyzer tests, resulting in shorter license suspensions....

In Ohio, 40 percent of traffic fatalities are alcohol-related, and drunken driving is the top killer of people ages 6 to 33, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.... Yet, only a trickle of new felony charges for repeat offenders have been filed since Ohio strengthened the DUI law in 2004....

Ohio has 35,825 motorists with four or more drunken-driving convictions, according to the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles.  However, only 52 people have been indicted for felony drunken driving in Franklin County the past two years, according to Common Pleas Court records.  The State Highway Patrol, which cites 25,000 drunken drivers a year, has filed only 359 felony DUI charges statewide since the law took effect.

And this Dispatch story today, entitled "Death of boy in DUI case shakes Amish community," highlights that the impact of drunk driving can be every bit as devastating as sex offenses.

March 21, 2006 at 03:00 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Lots of people are reading your blog.
The vindictive nature of the law and it's life changing forces that destroy families of all sorts of offenders is very important to those of us who are the true victims, the families of offenders.
The world is vicious and we need to know who our enemies are and what we can expect next.

Posted by: KAY | Aug 20, 2006 12:02:10 AM

I think that the law for so many sex offenders is far to weak, they get maybe ten years unless the child is under 10 and then life is mandatory, but otherwise they get out and 95% of them do it again. The only mercy is that so many of them are killed in prison or it woudl be much worse than it is

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