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Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI

Bump and Update: The pillorage continues.

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Ohio Supreme Court Justice Alice Robie Resnick got a D.U.I. last week. She refused to take a breath or blood test so she lost her license for a year. The cop used a portable breath teast on her which is not admissible in Ohio courts and it came out at .216, a number she immediately said had to be wrong.

Her conversation with the cop was recorded as standard procedure. What is not standard procedure is that the newspaper has released three videos of her interacting with police to the public on its website. Can she get a fair trial after this?

Her state-owned jeep was impounded and returned to the Court. She said she will make arrangements for someone to drive her to court in Columbus (from Toledo where she lives) at her expense.

22 years ago, Justice Resnick says, she was a member of AA. Alcoholism is an illness and relapse is not uncommon. Here's what she said was going on in her life right now:

"I am tired," she first told the sergeant. "I have a mother-in-law who's 97 and has been in the hospital. I was taking care of her. I have a husband who is on dialysis, and I have got to get to Columbus. I have not been drinking. I will be very careful if you just let me go."

Here come the editorials: Justice Blows It.

Having watched two of the videos, it's interesting that in this one, cop one tells cop two he didn't smell alchohol on her(at 2m49s on video) while in this video, a cop tells her he did smell alchohol on her (1m40s).

Today's news article says the Judge admitted having a drink to the officer.

This is being overblown. Give the woman some privacy. She wasn't drinking on the bench. The releasing of the videotapes, before a court rules that they were lawfully obtained, is shameful. The Toledo Blade is behaving like a tabloid.

And MADD is moving towards prohibition.

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  • Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#1)
    by TChris on Sat Feb 05, 2005 at 04:13:04 PM EST
    This is the most commonly committed crime and, MADD propoganda notwithstanding, should not be treated as a crime when the driver has not caused actual harm.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Feb 05, 2005 at 04:24:08 PM EST
    "Her conversation with the cop was recorded as standard procedure. What is not standard procedure is that the newspaper has released three videos of her interacting with police. and released to the media." Videos like that are usually released to the public to demonstrate that the alleged DUI wasn't given any special leniency. (Oh, you're on the state Supreme Court? Okay then, you just drive on home, ma'am. Sorry to trouble you.)

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#3)
    by Kitt on Sat Feb 05, 2005 at 04:26:07 PM EST
    Notwithstanding your logic, she apparently is pleading 'no contest' now. I don't get your logic. Are you saying as long as a driver does not commit any 'actual harm' (property damage, personal injury, death) then there should not be laws penalizing someone for driving drunk? It's a question - not a challenge.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#4)
    by Patrick on Sat Feb 05, 2005 at 04:38:17 PM EST
    Has to be a .26% B.A.C... 2.6% would be pickled and embalmed. She should be treated like anyone else. I certainly wouldn't expect a break for that.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#5)
    by Patrick on Sat Feb 05, 2005 at 04:39:17 PM EST
    Sorry.... .216% not 2.16% BTW, .216 is pretty F'd up....

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Feb 05, 2005 at 04:43:50 PM EST
    I believe she's also the only Dem SCJ in the court. Ohio just got a little bit redder, my friends.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Feb 05, 2005 at 05:08:13 PM EST
    She was not 2.16 or she would not have been as coherent as she was. Watch the video. There's a reason portable machine breath tests aren't allowed into evidence in Ohio. Many of the machines have not been proven reliable. I don't have a problem with her being charged. I have a problem with her videos being put on the Internet. As for the commenter who said they are routinely released to the public, and uploaded on a newspaper's website, baloney.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Feb 05, 2005 at 05:16:45 PM EST
    TChris, your comment doesn't make any sense at all. If I'm driving drunk, the difference between my doing damage and not doing damage is essentially luck -- I've put myself in the position where, if something were to go slightly wrong, damage would be done. In this case, nothing went wrong (assuming that she was in fact drunk). That doesn't make her less culpable -- the reason for the crime is the creation of a massive risk to others, not for the damage actually done. We have other crimes for that, when people get unlucky.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#9)
    by cp on Sat Feb 05, 2005 at 05:51:33 PM EST
    .216 is 21.6% BAC, for all you math majors out there. at that level, the average human would be unconscious, not behind the wheel of any vehicle, driving. in most states, .08 or 8% BAC is considered legally intoxicated. either that breath-o-meter is wildly inaccurate, or the lady could drink the 1st marine division under the table. if she was drinking prior to driving, she showed a reckless disregard for the safety of herself and everyone else on the road. fortunately, no one was hurt as a consequence. however, that only means she would be guilty of just one crime, instead of several. all this assumes that she was intoxicated. i saw at least one of the vids on cnn. hard to tell from that what her actual condition was. sorry, as regards drunken driving, i don't buy into the "no harm, no foul" position. in most, if not all states, driving while intoxicated is itself a crime, regardless of what happens afterwards, or doesn't, as the case may be.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Feb 05, 2005 at 07:40:32 PM EST
    As an extremist who believes that all DUIs should be treated as attempted murders, having lost a high school friend to a DUI, I don't think this lady was drunk. She showed bad judgement in getting behind the wheel after having a drink, but it doesn't appear from the reaction of the cops or her own actions that she was truly impaired. That doesn't mean I'm for letting her off lightly. It just means I agree that this case seems to be overblown in the media.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#11)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Feb 05, 2005 at 11:14:10 PM EST
    One point missed: Her own words in response to her disbelief in the field administered test: ďI canít believe that. I donít believe that test. Do you have another test that I can take?Ē Then refused to take the court admissible test at the station. Gee... I wonder why that is? It damm sure wasn't because she wanted to hire a driver to shuttle her around for a year!

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Feb 06, 2005 at 12:48:32 AM EST
    D.A.--she wasn't just awake and talking, she was engaged in a conversation. She didn't lose her balance walking from her car to the cop car. She was scheming how to get the cop to let her go. She was sarcastic at times. A .216 and that kind of behavior and appearance just are not compatible. Maybe it was a combination of pharmaceuticals and alcohol, who knows, but I think any forensic expert looking at her tape would find a .216 inconsistent. Breath machines are not particularly reliable.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#15)
    by TChris on Sun Feb 06, 2005 at 08:40:45 AM EST
    The real question is whether she was impaired and driving unsafely, not what was in her blood. Kitt, I believe that drivers who are actually impaired, but who cause no actual harm, should receive a traffic ticket (as do those who violate other traffic laws). We should not demonize (or lock up) people who have caused no harm.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#16)
    by Adept Havelock on Sun Feb 06, 2005 at 09:44:42 AM EST
    TChris- Let's see if you keep that attitude after losing a family member to some idiot who decided to drink and drive. I'm all for reassessing the status of victimless crimes, but I can in no way agree that DWI or DUI is "victimless". I also find the release of the videos suspect. My suspicion is that once she refused to take the test at the station, someone along the chain decided to go for a conviction in the court of public opinion.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#17)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Feb 06, 2005 at 09:47:12 AM EST
    First, no one ever said, that I can tell, that the woman blew a 2.16. She'd be dead. TL said she blew a .216. That's .216 % BAC. not 21.6 percent. If her "blood" were over 1/4 alcohol, she'd be a fire hazard. And yes, you can walk and talk at .216 if your a veteran alky. Second, she refused a test. That alone is a license yanker, regardless of whether she was impaired or had any alcohol in her. Ask Peg Lautenschlager, the WI AG. As for the ridiculous proposition that DUI should result in a traffic ticket unless "harm" is done, hooey. We do indeed lock up people who have caused no harm. Ask anyone serving time for attempted [fill in the blank]. A lack of success has never excused attempts to commit a crime.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#18)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Feb 06, 2005 at 11:53:21 AM EST
    I'm also in disagreement that MADD is seeking reinstatement of the 19th Amendment, based on that blog entry that's linked here. Everything listed in that blog post that MADD is campaigning against is illegal. Zero tolerance against underage drinkers is not in any way an unreasonable position. A drunk 19-year-old broke the law before he ever got behind the wheel of an automobile, so he's already eligible for two counts before he puts the car into gear. When MADD starts actually advocating for reinstatement of prohibition, I'll be there mocking them as loudly as anybody. I agree that there is abuse and overreaction in the administration of DUI justice, but my sympathy goes away when it turns out the suspect is actually guilty.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#19)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Feb 06, 2005 at 12:00:57 PM EST
    No one said she shouldn't lose her license. That's the price in every state for refusing a test. The question, as TChris says, is was she impaired? The only test they have is a breath test showing a 0.216. Here's the conversation, from the first link in my post:
    "I'm hoping you show up 000," Sergeant Stidham said as he prepared to give her the portable test, the results of which are not admissible in court. "I won't," she said. "I won't. I won't. I did have something to drink. I don't know if I had. . . ." Sergeant Stidham: "How long ago was that, do you think?" Justice Resnick: "I don't know." Sergeant Stidham: "I mean, a couple of hours?" Justice Resnick: "I'm just really upset." Later, after seeing the results, she said, "Well, I don't believe that." Sergeant. Stidham: "You're showing a 0.216." Justice Resnick: "My God." Sergeant Stidham: "That's well over double what you're allowed to have." Justice Resnick: "I can't believe that. I don't believe that test. Do you have another test that I can take?"


    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#20)
    by Sailor on Sun Feb 06, 2005 at 05:10:00 PM EST
    If I may be so bold, I think TChris' is saying that the test should be for impairment, not alcohol. My personal belief is that there should be a baseline coordination skills test given when getting one's license. If you get pulled over and seem impaired the cop would give you the same test. If you fall below your established baseline you should deal with the consequences. But the test should be impairment, not whether it is alcohol, pot, anger, depression, age, addiction to cell phones ... etc.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#21)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Feb 07, 2005 at 03:59:58 AM EST
    I was sort of wondering why she had a state owned Jeep. Oddly enough I to have to pay my own way to work (with my own vehicle) even though I have never been pulled over for suspected DUI.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#22)
    by nolo on Mon Feb 07, 2005 at 07:54:42 AM EST
    Here in Ohio, state officials often get cars. In that respect, Justice Resnick's no different than any of her Republican colleagues on the Ohio Supreme Court bench. As for the tapes of her arrest, many of us Ohio lawyers were pretty amazed at the speed with which they were made available to the public. More than one local attorney who's done DUI defense work can tell you that it's usually like pulling teeth to get the videos released to the defense attorney, let alone the local TV station. The prosecutors in charge of Justice Resnick's case said they released the tapes in response to legal action taken by local news organizations, but Ohio attorneys are still cocking their eyebrows at this one.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#23)
    by kdog on Mon Feb 07, 2005 at 08:21:20 AM EST
    I've put myself in the position where, if something were to go slightly wrong, damage would be done
    Anytime you start the engine, this is the case, impaired or not. I don't follow this argument.
    but I can in no way agree that DWI or DUI is "victimless".
    Adept, we usually agree on things, but not in this case. If someone is .0000000000000001 over the limit, and is arrested during a checkpoint for example, this is a victimless crime (obviously, since no one was hurt), and should be a ticket as TChris mentioned (in my humble opinion). If they were arrested after an accident where someone was killed or hurt, I'm all for charging them with murder/manslaughter or assault, since there is a victim. Obviously, I'm not a fan of "zero tolerance" mentality in general, because it makes mountains of molehills.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#24)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Feb 07, 2005 at 08:47:44 AM EST
    " If they were arrested after an accident where someone was killed or hurt, I'm all for charging them with murder. . ." What if the defendant was not impaired? Or if he was, what if the accident was not his fault, e.g., another driver blew a red light and broadsided the defendant who was legally proceeding across the intersection? DUI should be a crime (not a traffic infraction.) But what bugs me is that anytime one of the drivers involved in a wreck proves to be over the limit, ipso facto the wreck was caused by that driver and was that driver's fault.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Mon Feb 07, 2005 at 11:59:22 AM EST
    But what bugs me is that anytime one of the drivers involved in a wreck proves to be over the limit, ipso facto the wreck was caused by that driver and was that driver's fault
    I agree anon. Hence, we should punish reckless driving, not BAC, which proves nothing.

    Re: Ohio Justice Pilloried Over DUI (none / 0) (#26)
    by Kitt on Tue Feb 08, 2005 at 09:25:36 PM EST
    I have a friend who writes a column for The Plain Dealer and we were talking about this. She was saying the media has been overly saturated with news and update upon update on Justice Resnick. Like nolo said: "As for the tapes of her arrest, many of us Ohio lawyers were pretty amazed at the speed with which they were made available to the public. More than one local attorney who's done DUI defense work can tell you that it's usually like pulling teeth to get the videos released to the defense attorney, let alone the local TV station. The prosecutors in charge of Justice Resnick's case said they released the tapes in response to legal action taken by local news organizations, but Ohio attorneys are still cocking their eyebrows at this one."