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May 11, 2011

Another high-profile example of undue leniency for a repeat drunk driver

Regular readers surely recall posts of mine complaining about the too-frequent tendency of sentencing judges to respond to repeat drunk drivers with a slap on the wrist.  This local story from Maryland, headlined "Ravens' Kindle gets no jail time for drunk driving; Howard County prosecutor decries sentence as too lenient after second offense," provides another high-profile example of the problem:

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Sergio Kindle will serve no jail time for a second drunken driving offense that occurred last year in Savage, a Howard County District Court judge ruled Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Kindle pleaded guilty to having a .17 blood alcohol level — over twice the legal limit in Maryland — as he drove a gold Cadillac sedan northbound on Route 1 near Route 32 in the early morning hours of Dec. 26. There were three passengers the vehicle.

Judge Neil Edward Axel, Howard County’s drug and DUI court supervisor, ruled that the five days Kindle spent at an alcohol abuse in-patient treatment facility, Right Turn of Maryland, in Owings Mills, would replace the five-day mandatory jail sentence for a second time DUI offender....

Howard County State’s Attorney Dario Broccolino said he was disappointed by the sentence, which was the most lenient judgment possible under state sentencing guidelines. “People need to get the message that a second-time offender should have more serious sanctions imposed on him. I don’t care if he’s a football player,” Broccolino said. “The entire sentence was lenient. End of story.”

Axel placed Kindle on two years of unsupervised probation, during which he is prohibited from drinking and required to attend self-help meetings. If Kindle violates his probation, he faces up to a year in prison. “I am very remorseful for my actions because I am held to a higher standard,” Kindle said in court, adding that the experience and his five-day treatment “has taught me a lot.”

Despite Kindle’s remorse, Broccilino said that probation was a far cry from the 30-day prison term Howard County Assistant State’s Attorney Meghan Skaggs requested, based on “the seriousness of the crime,” she said in court. The fact that he is a second time offender gives “us insight to his state of mind” and lack of “respect” for Maryland law, Skaggs said in court. “Punishment is necessary, and in-patient treatment... is not a jail cell.”

Some related posts on sentencing drunk drivers:

May 11, 2011 at 08:53 AM | Permalink


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