Kerry Kennedy Acquitted of Drugged Driving

Congrats to Jerry Lefcourt and Bill Aronwald, defense lawyers for Kerry Kennedy, for the acquittal today on charges of drugged driving. The jury deliberated for one hour.

On July 13, 2012, she drove her Lexus S.U.V. erratically after swallowing Zolpidem, a generic form of the sleep medication Ambien. She sideswiped a tractor-trailer on a highway in Westchester County before she was found, slumped over her steering wheel, her car stalled on a local road.

Ms. Kennedy has maintained that she took the pill accidentally, mistaking it for medication she took for a thyroid condition. She testified on Wednesday that she did not realize her mistake until well after the accident.


Mr. Lefcourt, in his closing argument on Thursday, contended that the jury had “not heard any evidence from the prosecutor, who has the burden of proof, that Kerry Kennedy did realize she accidentally took the sleeping pill Zolpidem and continued to drive.”

“This is a case with not a reasonable doubt — there is overwhelming doubt,” Mr. Lefcourt said.

There was no dispute as to whether Kennedy was impaired:

"The dispute is this: Whether the prosecution has proved to you beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms. Kennedy operated her vehicle while she was aware that she had ingested zolpidem and, after becoming aware, she continued intentionally to drive. That's what this case is all about."

And from attorney Bill Aronwald:

"Kerry Kennedy has the resources" to defend herself, he said. "What about the person who doesn't?"

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    I don't understand (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by NYShooter on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 02:46:33 PM EST
    the basis of your question. Are you implying that a mistakenly ingested dose of medication should be treated as a willful act? The "no mitigation allowed" tone of your query belies common sense, if not the law. The prosecutor accused Kennedy of knowing what the medication was, knowing the effect it would have on her driving ability, but, chose to drive anyway.

    Unfortunately for him the jury believed Kerry Kennedy, believed it was a mistake. Correct me if I'm wrong, but, you seem to be saying that regardless of the facts, regardless of the fact the jury believed a mistake had been made, driving while impaired should always lead to a conviction.

    I'm sure I'm wrong in my interpretation of your stance but you haven't said anything differently to dissuade me.

    Are you replying to me? (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 03:52:15 PM EST
    I'm not sure what you don't understand.  Driving while impaired IS against the law everywhere, regardless of whether someone intended to or not. She WAS impaired - of that, there is no doubt.

    And my question was because it is very, very odd that there seems to be an intent aspect to this kind of charge and I was seeking clarification. Even reading the statute, it's not clear to me where an element of intent has to be present, unless there were other charges that are not discussed in the article.


    It does not seem odd to me at all (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Peter G on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 08:42:26 PM EST
    What would be odd, or at least very unusual, in any American (or British) jurisdiction, would be a law under which the defendant could be convicted of a crime, no matter how petty, for an act she did not even know she was committing.

    OK, so the only "crime" I am typically (none / 0) (#28)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 10:00:43 PM EST
    in danger of committing is a bit of an impatient lead foot while driving.

    Is "I didn't know the the speed limit was that low." a legitimate defense?"


    Agreeing with Oculus here (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Peter G on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 11:09:03 AM EST
    Knowledge of the nature of one's act (that she was driving after taking an attention-impairing drug) -- which is what I said in my comment -- is not at all the same as knowledge of the law (what is the speed limit on this road at this time).  Knowledge of the law is almost never a requirement for guilt, unless the law makes illegal something that a would-be law-abiding member of the community should not be expected to realize was against the law, but instead is simply made illegal by legislative fiat.  And even then, there is normally no knowledge-of-law requirement, even for technical violations, when a person voluntarily chooses to engage in a dangerous and highly-regulated activity (particularly one that requires testing and a license to engage in, in the first place, such as driving). And on top of all that, a legislature can change these rules by enacting clearly written laws to the contrary, subject only to very loose limits imposed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clauses.

    I must be missing something, (none / 0) (#49)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 02:05:02 PM EST
    how about this different angle:

    She didn't know she was driving drugged so she was acquitted, right?

    OK, I don't know I'm driving too fast, would that not also be acquittable?


    Is your last name "Kennedy"? (none / 0) (#52)
    by oculus on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 04:44:42 PM EST
    Not even close, unfortunately. (none / 0) (#60)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 06:07:32 PM EST
    I would say we are all in danger of unknowingly (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by ruffian on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 08:19:09 PM EST
    ingesting something that could impair us. A better analogy would be food poisoning. If I'm out to eat and get suddenly dreadfully ill on my way home, and sideswipe a car, am I culpable? I don't think so.

    There is more to the law than the three words in its name, driving while impaired.

    I agree with Aronson's assessment- she had the resources to defend herself. Too bad we all don't, but that does not make the verdict itself unfair.


    Your analogy is probably (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by shoephone on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 08:21:30 PM EST
    the best one I've read yet.

    Thank you, I do try. (none / 0) (#67)
    by ruffian on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 08:24:27 PM EST
    I hate it when the analogies are more complicated than the thing they are trying to clarify.

    That actually happened to me...well, the food (none / 0) (#80)
    by Angel on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 12:57:14 PM EST
    poisoning part not the sideswiping part.  I was driving home after taking a professional continuing education exam, had stopped to eat lunch at an unknown place after the exam and during the drive home began to feel violently ill.  I was trying to find a place to pull over so I could vomit. Just when I was pulling over to the side of the road a city policeman came up behind me and put on his lights then pulled in behind me.  He came over to my window and wanted to know why I had been swerving, where I was going and how much "I'd had to drink." I told him I was trying to get home, I'd had no alcohol - it was 1:30 in the afternoon, I had food poisoning, and that he had better move over or else.  He finally moved out of the way, I vomited, then asked him if he was satisfied.  I was quite disrespectful in my asking and should have been afraid because this was one of those towns just outside of Austin that loves to pull over people who don't live there or are driving while black or brown or in an ugly automobile. I now wonder what might have happened had I actually sideswiped another vehicle or something similar.  

    I kind of wonder (none / 0) (#81)
    by Zorba on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 01:06:16 PM EST
    what would have happened if he hadn't moved out of the way and you had vomited on him.............

    Assault of a police officer? (none / 0) (#82)
    by Angel on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 01:27:37 PM EST
    Probably (none / 0) (#86)
    by Zorba on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 02:57:35 PM EST

    Never! (none / 0) (#29)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 10:18:20 PM EST
    Drat. (none / 0) (#30)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 10:19:49 PM EST
    In NY though, you could testify you had (none / 0) (#32)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 10:31:06 PM EST
    no idea what you were drinking was an alcoholic beverage.  Better not try that in CA though.

    Since we're on the topic, (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 10:38:03 PM EST
    I actually just beat a CHP officer on the citation he gave me.

    Trial by Written Declaration. The right hand lane I was in was turning into an exit lane, and I didn't want to exit, so I changed lanes left from that lane to the next lane over.

    The cop gave me a ticket because I changed lanes after I had passed a white "right lane must exit" sign. Which, as it turned out, is in force exactly at the sign, similar to a "stop" sign.

    However, the lane markings were a dashed line for at least a 1/4 mile after that sign, and that's where - and why - I changed lanes, and I argued that the dashed lane line said I could change lanes.

    The judge agreed with me.


    Screw you... ;-) (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Dadler on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 10:38:58 AM EST
    I did a trial by written declaration based on a red-light camera ticket I received. I had no problem with the ticket, as the video was clear as to my one or two second violation of the red-light statute. My problem was the amount of the fine I was levied -- more than $500. I protested this amount because I did some research on the private company that owns and operates these cameras. It is a company which, I discovered, has been barred from operating in one of the most major cites in the country because it was found to have bribed public officials to gain a municipal contract. Now that's bad enough, but I wasn't even complaining about that corruption, I was objecting to the fine I was ordered to pay in relation to a fine for the much more serious offense of texting while driving. Now, I could not argue that I hadn't rolled through that red light, I admitted, but the video clearly showed that I did so with no one even marginally in sight coming in the same direction. And this comparatively harmless offense cost me more than five hundo plus. Think about it: if a CHPper had seen me on the freeway texting while I was driving 60 or 70 mph, my ticket would cost me about $150. My quite rational and reasoned declaration simply stated that, yes, I had violated the red light law, but I should not be required do pay a fine four times the amount of a texting while driving fine simply because some private company needed to make a huge profit for simply putting cameras at an intersection. Obviously, I said, it was far easier to do this than, say, to ticket all the drives who are texting while driving, committing much worse offenses in relation to public safety (and, as I remarked, if the video of my specific offense is not enough to determine the extent of my actual offense, then what is the point for a citizen of these cameras at all?)

    Dadler, did I miss it, or did you leave out (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Peter G on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 11:10:18 AM EST
    the punch line?  What did the judge rule?  Did s/he cut you a break on the fine?

    Egad, Peter, I forgot.... (none / 0) (#83)
    by Dadler on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 02:26:31 PM EST
    ...I got screwed. Had to pay the five hundo plus. Worst of all, whomever the adjudicator was did not leave any legible trace of himself, only a scrawled signature and the judgement that I was guilty and received no relief.

    Infuriating to say the least.


    Oh, dear (none / 0) (#85)
    by Peter G on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 02:31:18 PM EST
    Very sorry to hear that.

    You are still entitiled to a "de novo" (none / 0) (#96)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:52:08 PM EST
    trial (live trial in court) if you are not happy with the results of your Trial by Written Declaration.

    I laid out a rock solid logical case... (none / 0) (#97)
    by Dadler on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:16:02 PM EST
    ...in my written trial. I could do no better. Corruption won. But I will rise and fight much harder on another day.

    Yes, but at trial there is always a chance the (none / 0) (#98)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:20:59 PM EST
    the law enforcement offer won't show up or get rattled on the witness stand. But it used to be the case in Ca that if you chose trial you couldn't do traffic school if you lose.

    If you ask, the the judge says yes, so it will be.

    What source? (none / 0) (#100)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 10:25:43 PM EST
    I think this says what I said? (none / 0) (#107)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:42:16 AM EST
    (c) Judicial discretion

    (2) A defendant who is otherwise eligible for traffic violator school is not made ineligible by entering a plea other than guilty or by exercising his or her right to trial.

    A traffic violator school request must be considered based on the individual circumstances of the specific case. The court is not required to state on the record a reason for granting or denying a traffic violator school request.

    Thanks. Things have changed. That's good. (none / 0) (#108)
    by oculus on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:44:49 AM EST
    I did a lot of research, back when I was (none / 0) (#109)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:51:30 AM EST
    preparing my Written Declaration. Probably forgotten most of it by now.

    I got one of those very expensive tickets. (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by oculus on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 05:32:22 PM EST
    Did traffic school on line. Total expense was exorbitant.  At the same time, a judge I clerked for b/4 he became a judge was deciding a class action lawsuit. He tossed hundreds of red light camera tickets b/c the city's outside contractor determined the duration of the yellow lights.

    LA stopped the contract with their vendor (none / 0) (#50)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 02:12:44 PM EST
    recently, so no more automated red light tickets.

    Regarding the fine, I've often seen judges who are amenable to reducing fines. Basically, you tell them that the fine is a real hardship and ask for it to be waived or reduced to (your number here). It's a negotiation, always start with your number, not theirs.


    I did that route the first time (none / 0) (#84)
    by Dadler on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 02:31:13 PM EST
    It's really just a mill. If you show up, lucky you, they reduce your fine to four large instead of five. It's nothing more than a half-decent gesture at acknowledging the absurd basis of the amount of these fines -- red light cameras operated by a private for-profit vendor that HAS to charge these amounts or they wouldn't make their egregious profit.

    Did it once, wasn't going to do it again. I offered a written declaration as well written and researched as they could expect from a normal citizen, and I got less than dick, I didn't even get the name of the dick who ruled against me without any explanation.

    So it goes.


    If I saw a sign that said... (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by unitron on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:43:35 AM EST
    ..."right lane must exit", I'd think it meant "if you don't want to exit, you're in the wrong lane and need to do something about it before it's too late"

    If if said "Vehicles still in the right lane beyond this point must exit and may not merge left", well, that would be different.


    Yep, I'm with you. (none / 0) (#87)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 11:24:53 PM EST
    Apparently, as I have since learned, yellow signs that say "right lane must exit" (or yellow signs of type) are warning-type "heads up" "be aware" signs.

    White signs are legally enforceable at the sign.


    Did you have two lawyers representing you (none / 0) (#35)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 10:42:38 PM EST
    plus an expert witness?  

    Good job. I've never heard the sign determines the end pt. for changing lanes.  


    Ha! No, no lawyers or expert witnesses. (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 10:47:40 PM EST
    However, thank google for google's street view.

    I accompanied my written explanation with numerous printouts of google street views of the 405 at the citation location.


    But, Peter G. (none / 0) (#40)
    by jbindc on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 06:12:47 AM EST
    Isn't DWI a de facto crime with no specific intent - you are either driving while impaired or you or not?  The fact that she didn't realize how she would react with her medication would normally be a mitigating factor in any sentence.  Is NY's element of specific intent common?

    Not to get too technical about this (none / 0) (#44)
    by Peter G on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 10:55:54 AM EST
    but a requirement that the accused have knowledge of the nature of her act is far short of what the law calls "specific intent."  I agree that a DUI-type offense is not at all likely to be a "specific intent" crime.  There are many levels of culpable mental state in between specific intent, a very high level of what the Model Penal Code calls "culpability," and mere awareness of the nature of one's physical act (not to be confused with knowledge of the law).  It's not all-or-nothing.  The topic of "culpability" (a/k/a mens rea) can take up weeks or more of the introductory course in criminal law. And still lawyers and judges often have trouble with it.  Here's are a couple of decent overview articles, with further links.  Some have suggested that the whole subject is just an elaborate mumbo-jumbo cover for letting juries decide what they think is fair, after getting instructions from the judge that give them a general idea of what the law means, while not really expecting them to fully understand it.

    Sure would like to see the jury instructions. (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 03:27:59 PM EST
    Statute does not specify the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person charged knew or should have know he/she ingested a drug which could cause him/her to fall w/i the statute.

    Oculus, please tell me I'm not senile (none / 0) (#18)
    by NYShooter on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 06:04:32 PM EST
    Or, at least, tell me you understand why I'm so freaken bewildered by the, so called, definition of this statute.

    I don't mean to go off the deep end with some crazy analogy, but, here goes, anyway:

    If I fall off the roof of a twenty story building, land on some poor soul, and, crush him/her to death, using the Kennedy analogy I'd be guilty of homicide. I didn't mean to kill anybody, I couldn't possibly have prevented it, but, apparently, a death caused by another individual, regardless of circumstances, must be punished.

    What am I not getting? I realize you may not have the answer, but, somebody does.

    A little help, please?


    It all depends on the elements of the (none / 0) (#19)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 06:09:46 PM EST
    specific crimes charged and/or on which the trial court instructed the jury. DUI is not a specific intent crime. First degree murder is.

    Thanks, "O" (none / 0) (#21)
    by NYShooter on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 06:43:06 PM EST
    gotta look up some definitions now.

    getting closer......


    It does not depend entirely on the elements (none / 0) (#25)
    by Peter G on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 08:50:23 PM EST
    of the particular statute.  All New York criminal statutes are affected by and interpreted in light of a chapter of the Penal Code on "culpability."  I read that chapter as rather clearly supporting Kennedy's defense.

    The second part of my response above covers (none / 0) (#27)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 09:50:18 PM EST
    what the judge tells the jury, which one assumes, in this case, included the culpability statute.

    Excusable Homicide (none / 0) (#20)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 06:23:19 PM EST
    I think your example would fall in the category of justifiable or excusable homicide due to accident and misfortune and not be against the law.

    The trial judge objected to the lengthy (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 10:39:59 PM EST
    testimony about defendant's background.  Why didn't the two prosecutors?


    I had the same question (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by MO Blue on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 10:51:32 PM EST
    after reading about the trial. I couldn't see how the fact that her father was assassinated had any bearing on the case and wondered why there were not more objections from the prosecution.



    Wonder if there's any chance we can (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by Anne on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 05:41:04 PM EST
    get an open thread soon...?

    Heh. (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Zorba on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 05:42:50 PM EST
    Wondering the same thing myself, Anne.    

    Please (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by MO Blue on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 06:45:40 PM EST
    An open thread would really be nice

    J's email is TalkLeft@aol.com, and she (none / 0) (#62)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 06:50:55 PM EST
    has it prominently displayed under her bio.

    Probably best to go directly to the source.

    I'd suggest putting your request in the subject line to save her time.


    it to gmail.com...

    Oh my (3.00 / 2) (#38)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 11:19:17 PM EST
    Can't we all just admit that she got off because she has plenty of money and her name is Kennedy??

    I mean not that I care but I seem to remember many of the readers here complaining that Romney had money and that the rich are different.

    And while I have limited experience with taking drugs but if I was driving and started to feel "different" I'd get over to the shoulder and be dialing 911 for medical help.

    I'll admit that having a lot (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by jondee on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 10:29:29 AM EST
    money always helps. It makes her, as your mentor Rush would say, a valued, potential "job creator".
    As far as the name Kennedy goes, judging by the posts at conservative websites and the commentary on wingnut talk radio, there are some sectors of this country where merely having the name Kennedy could be enough to have someone strung-up -- if not literally, then metaphorically.

    Why would someone admit ... (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 11:00:05 PM EST
    ... to something that has absolutely zero evidence to support it, simply because you believe it's true.  Actually, ...

    ... particularly if you believe it's true.


    She agrees with you, about the money, Jim (none / 0) (#95)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 10:34:45 AM EST
    Kerry Kennedy: "I think that I won this case for three basic reasons: number one, I was innocent; number two, I had competent counsel; and number three, I was willing to bring it to trial,"

    Do you know (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 01:47:36 PM EST
    The exact statute she was tried under?

    It seems a little weird that she could have ben acquitted for driving while impaired when she actually was driving while impaired?

    "The dispute is this: Whether the prosecution has proved to you beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms. Kennedy operated her vehicle while she was aware that she had ingested zolpidem and, after becoming aware, she continued intentionally to drive. That's what this case is all about."

    Does New York law require an intent or knowledge in all impairment cases?  Would this work if someone had say, their drinks spiked?

    Looks Like DWI (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 02:45:24 PM EST
    Like the linked headline says

    Do you think she should go to prison?


    Ms. Kennedy was prosecuted for (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 03:23:10 PM EST
    a misdemeanor.  Even if the jury returned a guilty verdict, she could not have been sentenced to prison.  And probably would not have been subject to any time in local custody as a condition of probation, assuming this was her first DUI conviction.

    Better dash off a ltter to the Times... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by TomMaguire on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 04:40:29 PM EST
    Re: "Even if the jury returned a guilty verdict, she could not have been sentenced to prison."

    From the linked coverage:

    "That Ms. Kennedy, who faced a year in jail if convicted, was tried before a jury was unusual."

    I read elsewhere that she fought this like fury for fear that even a misdemeanor conviction might negatively effect her philanthropic work (different countries, different rules?).

    I also read that she lawyered up because the deal she was offered involved a six-month license suspension.

    But I have no doubt the DA was bending over forwards to demonstrate his "impartiality" by going after a celebrity.


    I was distinguishing between local custody time (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 05:22:54 PM EST
    and state prison time, as does the applicable NY statute.

    You beat me to it. (none / 0) (#9)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 03:26:57 PM EST
    I am curious as to what offer the (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 03:32:43 PM EST
    prosecution extended pre-trial.

    Here it is: (none / 0) (#31)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 10:28:30 PM EST
    Prosecutors, in two meetings with the defense, were willing to have Ms. Kennedy plead down to a noncriminal violation, but Ms. Kennedy's team ultimately rejected the idea.

    Do you think she would have been imprisoned (none / 0) (#8)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 03:26:21 PM EST
    if convicted?
    Driving While intoxicated (DWI) is a crime. If you are convicted, you
    will face a substantial fine, a mandatory surcharge, license revocation, higher insurance premiums, and a possible jail sentence.

    No Idea (none / 0) (#16)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 04:40:43 PM EST
    My question was based on her claim that she took the meds by mistake. If that were the case, and it appears that the court found it to be the case, I do not think she should go to prison.

    You also realize (2.00 / 1) (#41)
    by jbindc on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 06:15:33 AM EST
    don't you, or apparently not since you leap to the "I don't think she should go to prison" aspect, that a conviction could just as easily (and more probably) meant she would have just gotten a fine and a, "Be more careful next time" from the judge.

    Always going to the extremes while accusing others of doing the same....


    You Have Lost The Plot (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by squeaky on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 01:44:56 PM EST
    SUO asked me:

    Do you think she would have been imprisoned if convicted?

    I replied that I have no idea but given that she claimed that she took meds by mistake, I did not think she should go to prison for that, which was the opinion of the court.

    Not sure where you think I am going to extremes, or leaping to anything. And I certainly have not accused anyone of doing anything other than losing the plot and losing their grip, which seems to be ongoing.


    No (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 03:43:27 PM EST
    But as usual you leap off in all directions with your accusatory questions. Crazy.

    I was merely asking a question of someone who actually has experience defending drugged and intoxicated drives (albeit not in NY).  You know - for more information.


    Accusatory? (1.00 / 1) (#14)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 04:39:13 PM EST
    You are imagining ghosts at this point. Get a grip.

    in NYS.

    Alledgedly she was found asleep with the car parked and the engine off (stalled), right?

    Asleep at the wheel: Assessing Intent

    If a driver is found asleep behind the wheel of a running car, the key question is whether they intended on placing the car in motion.  This element can be difficult for a prosecutor to prove because it addresses the mental state of the driver.  A skilled DWI attorney may be able to create a dispute of the driver's intent.  If the driver's intent is in dispute, then the people will not have met their burden as to this element of the charge.

    Your intent (purpose) of being in the car is very important to the question of whether you are in fact operating the car (or plan to). The prosecutor must prove this INTENT beyond a reasonable doubt by the facts present.
    Not sure if the above is actually relevant, as I think she admits to driving the vehicle...

    Defendants in drug-induced legal predicaments like Kennedy have begun invoking a novel legal strategy: the Ambien defense.  Citing the FDA-mandated label, they've argued that sleep driving is a side effect not a criminal offense.


    In some cases, it has worked, saving defendants from serious jail time in cases involving vehicular assault and manslaughter.  This week, 45 year old flight attendant Julie Ann Bronson faces sentencing for a vehicular assault charge resulting from a 2009 Ambien-induced sleep driving incident in San Antonio, Texas.  


    The jury believed she didn't intend to get into her car and in a ruling last month, gave her probation instead.

    Here is the NY statute: (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 03:17:51 PM EST
    I hear ya, Squeaks (none / 0) (#22)
    by NYShooter on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 06:46:06 PM EST
    So, "homicide" isn't always a crime, I guess....right?

    OK, Got it Now (none / 0) (#23)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 08:40:20 PM EST
    Sorry to be slow... It is a rhetorical questions....

    Not sure why, but I imagine time will tell.


    I suppose if a person could be proven (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 09:47:48 PM EST
    to have jumped off a blg. w/the intent to kill a person brlow, and the jumper survived but the victim didn't,...

    And (none / 0) (#39)
    by jbindc on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 06:08:20 AM EST
    If someone else pushed you off a roof, couldn't they also be guilty of felony murder of the person on the ground?

    Yes, but (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by NYShooter on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 09:33:01 PM EST
    I'm not sure about your use of the word, "also."

    Guilty! (none / 0) (#68)
    by NYShooter on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 09:31:18 PM EST
    Maybe, even 1'st degree.

    I thought FL was (none / 0) (#47)
    by Mikado Cat on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 12:48:44 PM EST
    weird, but NY I think wins.

    Two cops side swipe a parked SUV and ticket the guy sitting inside.

    A Kennedy side swipes a semi and is found asleep in the car, not guilty.

    Anybody know how far the parked car was from the smack on the semi?

    From what little I've read Ambien seems like strong fast acting stuff, 15 min. Also dosage for women was cut in half last year due to slower metabolizing in women that could result in driving impairment the next day.

    Nope - FL definitely wins ... (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 03:31:50 PM EST
    ... unless, of course, you're a fan of comparing silly theories with no evidence to support them (she was acquitted because she was a "Kennedy") with half-stories that omit very important facts (the cops in question are currently being investigated by internal affairs for this incident).

    Par for the course ...


    What is your opinion of the (none / 0) (#53)
    by oculus on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 04:50:25 PM EST
    Post trial statement of one of Ms. Kennedy's attorneys opining the prosecutor's office took her case to trial because of a grudge. Another Kennedy in the same county was acquitted. He removed his newborn from the hospital nursery to give it some fresh air.  

    No idea (none / 0) (#59)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 06:00:34 PM EST
    ... but (unlike Mikado) I wouldn't make that accusation without some evidence.

    This recurrent "a Kennedy" mantra (5.00 / 3) (#78)
    by jondee on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 11:27:27 AM EST
    is some weak tea.. Of course Jim and Mikado love it because it deflects the discussion away from the issue of class privilege and onto the safe conservative ground of traditional right wing punching bags.

    Did that teenage DWI driver in Texas who killed all those people get off easy because he was "a Kennedy" or was it because he came from a "job creating" family of means and connections in high places? Did the too-big-to-fail skate because they were friends of the Kennedy's and Alex Baldwin and Tim Robbins?


    Yep - they like it because ... (none / 0) (#79)
    by Yman on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 12:14:32 PM EST
    ... it plays to a "double standard" of favorable treatment of liberals - one that exists only in their own minds.  Like all of their claims, the fact that they have not a shred of evidence to support their allegations is irrelevant in their minds.  It's true because they believe it.

    So ridiculous ...


    What are the odds? (none / 0) (#54)
    by gilligan on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 04:55:44 PM EST
    Twice in one family?  How about Patrick Kennedy:

    "On May 4, 2006, Kennedy crashed his automobile into a barricade on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., at 2:45 a.m. A Capitol Police official said the congressman had appeared intoxicated when he crashed his car, but Kennedy claimed that he was merely disoriented from prescription medications Ambien and Phenergan."

    Oh my gawd. It's genetic. (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by oculus on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 05:01:31 PM EST
    LOL (none / 0) (#64)
    by shoephone on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 08:15:44 PM EST
    Kennedys need to stay away from (none / 0) (#70)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 09:55:22 PM EST

    I won't take it since experiencing my Aunt and my daughter after they had both taken it.

    What if it is genetic? :)  That drug really messes with some individuals.  Why can't we all just have some passion flower tea?


    What if you have broken into (none / 0) (#71)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 10:00:14 PM EST
    Carnegie Hall at 3 am oculus and sang a whole opera and you have no memory of it?

    I am an aficionado of Ambien. (none / 0) (#72)
    by oculus on Sat Mar 01, 2014 at 10:13:42 PM EST
    Some (none / 0) (#104)
    by Mikado Cat on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 02:09:20 AM EST
    Can't shut off the day and sleep without chemical help, and most "tea" type helpers have little real kick.

    Google (none / 0) (#74)
    by Mikado Cat on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 01:57:32 AM EST
    via ads anyway, not the most reliable, touts success rates of over 90% with lawyers fighting traffic tickets. Include a bit of obvious bias, the worse the ticket the more likely you hire a lawyer, and for advertising purposes any reduction may be claimed a victory.

    Anecdotally within the performance car community are tales of lawyers who specialize in traffic tickets and almost never lose a case.

    Lots of details I would like to know about this case.

    What does Ambien look like?
    What does her thyroid Rx look like?
    Why did she have Ambien away from home?
    When was it taken?
    How long was it before the accident?
    How long, how far, was it before she parked?
    What did the first responders report?
    Were any kind of blood samples taken?
    Anybody seriously believe the Kennedy name wasn't an issue start to finish?

    The most important questions (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by Yman on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 08:03:28 AM EST
    1.  Why don't you read the linked articles provided? - answers to many of your questions are right there.

      Anybody seriously believe the Kennedy name wasn't an issue start to finish?

    What does "an issue" mean?  "An issue" with whom?  All the jurors that acquitted her?  Anyone seriously have the slightest bit of evidence that the Kennedy name had the slightest effect on their decision?  (That last one is rhetorical, but actual evidence would make for a nice change of pace).

    BTW - In terms of "success rate", you probably don't want to rely on Google ads.  Most important is the definition of "success."  I never had a single traffic case where I wasn't able to get the charge reduced/reclassified to some degree.  Outright acquittals are much less common because the vast majority of the cases never go to trial.  Even among the smaller subset of cases that go to trial (presumably the more arguable cases), in my municipality the DWI conviction rate is over 90%.


    LOL evidence (none / 0) (#88)
    by Mikado Cat on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 11:41:46 PM EST
    Makes me laugh when you go off on that, like nothing exists unless some left wing journal prints it then its gospel.

    I'm still not used to the linking used here, it crosses my brain as highlighted text, not links, so I google the names etc. and see what is in the main stories and those happened to be fluff that I followed.

    Jeralyn's links were much better, two snips below. 10mg is now twice the recommended dose for women, no idea effect of the caffeine, but seems odd that 10 minutes or so of erratic driving was unnoticed.

    "Kennedy testified this week that she grabbed the wrong prescription bottle from her kitchen counter that morning and swallowed 10 milligrams of zolpidem, a sleep aid also known by the brand name Ambien. Neither she nor prosecutors disputed the fact that she drove erratically after taking the medication and sideswiped a tractor-trailer in Westchester County before she was found, slumped over her steering wheel, her car stalled.
    "I now know thanks to the tox lab that I must have taken the sleeping medication by mistake," said Kennedy, looking at the jury as she testified.
    Kennedy said she made cappuccino, had some carrots, prepared bags for the gym and office and had no problem leaving her apartment and getting to her vehicle the morning of the accident.
    Her memory from that morning ends just before she entered the highway, Kennedy said. The next thing she recalls is a knock on the window of her SUV, and a man she thought was a police officer asking if she was OK"


    "The four-and-one-half-day trial was centered on acts that neither she nor prosecutors dispute: On July 13, 2012, she drove her Lexus S.U.V. erratically after swallowing Zolpidem, a generic form of the sleep medication Ambien. After leaving her home in Bedford, she was seen swerving onto Interstate 684, weaving along that highway for four or five miles before she sideswiped a tractor-trailer. She was found on Route 22 off the next exit, for Armonk, stalled in a left turn lane, slumped over her steering wheel, quite asleep."


    Evidently Jeralyn thought (5.00 / 5) (#89)
    by MO Blue on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:04:30 AM EST
    the links she provided were meaningful or she would not have put them into her post. Those links were the very same links that Yman referenced and you are deriding as nothing more than left wing journals.

    So far you have made fun of linked articles that Yman suggested you read and then said that Jeralyn's links were much better. Here is a clue - they were the same thing.


    No (none / 0) (#90)
    by Mikado Cat on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:22:49 AM EST
    What I said was in general Yman requests "evidence" complains about the lack etc., but only recognizes publications matching his ideology. This is not a commentary on Jeralyn's links which were fine and much better than what I initially turned up via google.

    The worst of this case is that Kennedy seems to have no remorse for the danger she put other people into.


    No that is not what you said. (5.00 / 5) (#91)
    by MO Blue on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:50:28 AM EST
    and Yman's complaint is that you make accusations without proof of any type to substantiate them exactly as you did in your previous comment. Regardless:

    Jeralyn's links were great and well researched as always. It was nice that you finally got around to reading them as Yman suggested before proving how completely uninformed you were about the case when posing your questions and making your usual unsubstantiated accusations.  


    Somehow (none / 0) (#103)
    by Mikado Cat on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 02:05:03 AM EST
    I think I know what I said better than you do.

    First was a comment directed at Yman and unrelated to the links.


    No - I recognize ... (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by Yman on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:12:01 AM EST
    ... evidence from all kinds of sources, just not the loony, right-wing, conspiracy theories that you occasionally cite on those very rare occasions that you try to cite "evidence".

    The worst of this case is that Kennedy seems to have no remorse for the danger she put other people into.

    You haven't the slightest clue about how she feels.  She may or may not feel guilty, but why should she?  As judged by a jury, she wasn't culpable.


    She was found (1.00 / 1) (#101)
    by Mikado Cat on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 02:02:11 AM EST
    not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. More likely than not she is guilty, I just don't see the "I don't remember anything" defense excusing driving for miles swerving around endangering people.

    STILL not a shred of evidence ... (none / 0) (#105)
    by Yman on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:27:55 AM EST
    ... to back up either BS claim.

    The fact that YOU think she is guilty is:

    1. irrelevant
    2. not remotely surprising
    3. funny

    Not to mention the fact that the jury should probably pay more attention to sworn testimony of the medical experts (including the prosecution's medical witness), than the ignorant theories of someone who is still trying to figure out how to make a hyperlink work.

    About that remorse thing (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by MO Blue on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:54:47 AM EST
    I'm sure that you would feel differently if rather than remorse, she had stated that it was all part of God's plan.

    "LOL" indeed (5.00 / 2) (#93)
    by Yman on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:18:46 AM EST
    The snippets from the articles (congrats on finally reading them, BTW) still provide not the slightest bit of evidence to back up your claim - that "the Kennedy name was an issue start to finish", or that it even influenced the jury's decision at all.

    As usual...


    Nor (none / 0) (#102)
    by Mikado Cat on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 02:03:01 AM EST
    were they ever directed toward that point.

    Yet you cited them ... (none / 0) (#106)
    by Yman on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:29:48 AM EST
    ... in response to a demand for evidence, for which you still haven't produced the slightest shred to back your silly fairy tale.

    A little like trying to prove the Easter Bunny is real, huh?


    This is a test (5.00 / 3) (#77)
    by MO Blue on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 09:04:45 AM EST
    Where was the precise location of the Ambien as described in one of the links Jeralyn so graciously provided?