On July, 8th 2012, Philadelphia resident John Leck hit and killed Highway Patrol Officer Brian Lorenzo while drunk driving the wrong way on Interstate 95. Leck had never been accused or convicted of a crime prior to his DUI accident and neighbors reported he was well liked. Leck, 46, pleaded guilty, last October, to: third-degree homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, murder, and DUI in exchange for the District Attorney’s Office dropping more serious charges of homicide with a vehicle and involuntary manslaughter.
Highway Patrol Officer Brian Lorenzo was on his way home after his shift around 3:15 a.m., when Leck’s vehicle hit him with such force, the soles of the officer’s boots were ripped from his feet and his body was launched more than 20 feet away. John Leck refused to leave his car, after witnesses at the scene of the accident told him he had hit and injured a police officer. Leck’s car was on fire at the time.
“I’m not the monster I’m made out to be,” Leck told Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina before her sentencing.. “I don’t have a hurtful bone in my body.”
Sarmina’s sentencing of 10-20 years in prison also includes 10 years of probation when Leck gets out of jail. Leck’s blood alcohol content was more than two times the legal limit (.218), despite the fact that friends and family said he never overindulged in alcohol.
More than 2,000 DUI cases filed by prosecutors and 900 defendants have been affected by an Orange County DUI lab error, which caused an inaccurate report of elevated blood alcohol content levels.
Bruce Houlihan, the lab director, reported that the errors began to appear when some of the .BAC data wasn’t properly recorded. Houlihan said that the lab uses two separate machines to analyze and measure the blood samples and then averages the results. An audit of the Orange County Crime Lab last October uncovered the inaccuracies which has affected around 2000 DUI cases directly.
Bruce Houlihan went on to say that the reason the issue wasn’t noticed originally, was because it was so small. The human error will only clear around 20 people of their DUI charge, Houlihan went on to report. Letters have been sent to 900 defendants who have had their DUI cases resolved, to inform them of the lab error.
Farrah Emami, spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, had this to say regarding cases that dropped below the legal limit of .08 to .07:
“There are cases we prosecute based on 0.07 and we secure convictions in those cases.” Emami went on to state that people should ask their attorneys about how to proceed if they feel their case was affected negatively by Orange County Crime Lab’s error.
Despite the severity of the lab’s errors Emani still felt, “The large majority of our cases will not be impacted…”
What do you think about flawed lab tests being used in court to convict individuals of DUIs?
For further reading about DUI blood testing lab errors.
If you or anyone you know has been arrested for DUI, you should contact a DUI Lawyer in Orange County as soon as possible. Call the Law Offices of Chad Maddox for a free consultation, (714) 695-1500.
Matthew Cordle was attempting to drive home in the early morning hours on June 22nd, in Columbus Ohio after a night of drinking with friends. Cordle’s vehicle was driving the wrong way on Interstate 670, when it was involved in an accident with four vehicles, one being 61-year-old Vincent Canzani’s. Canzani was subsequently killed in the crash, and Cordle was taken into custody.
Fast forward to September 3rd, several months later, where Cordle’s story went viral when he posted a Youtube video confessing to the murder of Vincent Canzani and taking responsibility for the DUI fatality he caused. Several media outlets published stories accusing Matthew Cordle of trying to look like the victim in the crash, because of the nature of the Youtube video.
On the 23rd of October, Matthew Cordle received his sentence for vehicular manslaughter, from Ohio Judge David Fais:
- Six-and-a-half years in prison
- A lifetime suspension of his driver’s license
- A $1,075 fine
In court Cordle had this to say, “Whatever my sentence may be, the true punishment is living.”
Angela Canzani, the victim’s daughter, had this to say in response to Matthew Cordle’s punishment as well as to his Youtube confession. “I’ve heard about a message. The message we don’t want to hear is that if you hit and kill someone — and admit to it — you get away with it.”
Speaking to the judge about the punishment Cordle received, Angela Canzani added, “My father got a death sentence. Eight-and-a-half years is nothing. After eight-and-a-half years, Matthew Cordle will have his life back — my father is never coming back.”
Do you think Matthew’s YouTube confession was an attempt at gaining sympathy for his trial?
Or a legitimate way to send a sobering & powerful message?
Famous environmental activist Erin Brockovich-Ellis was arrested June 9th under suspicion of boating under the influence, while attempting to dock her boat in Lake Mead, Nevada. It was reported a game warden arrested Erin Brockovich-Ellis after allegedly volunteering to help dock her boat, after she showed signs of incapability.
“She was not sure how to maneuver the boat into the dock,” Edwin Lyngar, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, reported. “It’s a simple thing if you can think clearly. But if you add alcohol and unfamiliarity of the area, it can all cause serious problems.” Her BAC, was reported to be almost twice the legal limit, which is .08, the same as in California.
Brockovich issued a statement of apology. “At no time was the boat away from the dock and there was no public safety risk,” she said. “That being said, I take drunk driving very seriously, this was clearly a big mistake, I know better and I am very sorry.” After being booked at Clark County Detention Center, Erin Brockovich-Ellis posted $1,000 bail, and was released. Under Nevada law, as a first-time offender of boating while intoxicated there are fines that range from $1,000 to $2,000 but usually no jail time.
Being aware of local alcohol usage laws is critical when drinking within the legal limit and operating machinery. If you find yourself facing an Orange County DUI, California boating under the influence, or any other similar charge contacting a professional defense lawyer is in your best interest.
News articles: abcnews.go.com/US/activist-erin-brockovich-ellis-arrested-nevada-operating-boat
Last month in Columbia, South Carolina, police officers were awarded for their crack down on drunk driving. Local officers were awarded for various accomplishments. One officer was awarded “Rookie of the Year” for registering nine DUI arrests. A local highway patrolman was also awarded for having 109 DUI arrests under his belt. This begs the question, is it appropriate to give police officers public awards for doing their job?
Drunk driving is a serious offense, but with varying laws and regulations from state to state it is important that police officers and the public alike see eye to eye on such a serious issue. As a populace are we comfortable with officers receiving a bonus for one particular type of arrest over another? Even more alarming is in the same Columbia area, local law enforcement agencies have set-up a live drawing with DUI arrests being the ticket in, for two new fully equipped police vehicles. The public must be aware of local DUI laws, as well as search and seizure rights, because law enforcement agencies are spending more time pursuing drunk driving. It would not be too much of a stretch to wonder if such “raffles” for new police vehicles or awards for DUI convictions are going to affect an officer’s ability to remain fair and unbiased.
Read the original article: http://www.midlandsconnect.com/news/story.aspx?id=880553#.UctC2vlO-So
Jordan Griffith, 22, was sentenced on manslaughter charges to 13 years in prison for the DUI crash that killed Brooks Rogers on Halloween night 2011. It was stated that Griffith was underage at the time of the accident and that his blood alcohol content (BAC) was reported to be more than twice the legal limit when he collided with Rogers’ car. Brooks Rogers was stated to be the designated driver for his friends the night of the crash. Witnesses at the scene said Griffith’s car was swerving from left to right in the lane before it ran a light and crashed into Rogers’ car.
After being sentenced Griffith made this statement, “I understand that my actions were the result of poor judgement,” said Griffith. “I wish nothing more than to be able to go back to that night to make a better decision in order to avoid Brooks’ death.” If you have been charged with a DUI following an accident, you should refer to a DUI attorney immediately.
Read the full story at WCTV
If you or anyone you know has been arrested for DUI in Orange County, contact the Law Offices of Chad Maddox. Contacting an Orange County DUI Lawyer can be the difference between driving home in your car versus driving home on the bus.
A new method to curbing drinking and driving incidences has been popping up all over the country. Law Enforcement officials all across the nation have been utilizing more mobile command units than ever before.
Mobile Command units typically range anywhere from 100,00 to 150,000 dollars and they are being pursued because they give local law enforcement the availability to have DUI response teams set up in more immediate and efficient places to stop drinking and driving. More and more people are seeing these “Command Units” set-up at public events such as fairs or concerts. The main goal of law enforcement officials running the DUI Mobile Units is to have the ability to process intoxicated individuals at the scene of the drinking before they get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
These mobile command units are built to do a number of things. Those who are intoxicated can be brought into the unit where officers can run various inspections such as: giving a breathalyzer test, taking blood tests, and having urine tests completed as well; while these are not the only examinations that can be given to determine whether a person is intoxicated or not, they are the most likely to be administered.
These Mobile Command Units are gaining popularity because the simple sight of them deters drinking and driving. Law enforcement is supportive of such tactics because they make not only the processing of drunk individuals faster, but also easier, as these command units contain many more tools than any one single patrol car can.
The mobility of these DUI Command units is also helping their popularity. They are easy to move from one side of town to the other, and do not require nearly as much work as normal checkpoints do.
When drinking in public, it is important to realize that these mobile units are there to deter drinking and driving. If you are in the vicinity of a DUI Command Unit make sure to be aware of your rights. These DUI Command Units are gaining in popularity and seem to be here to stay.
While the irony of this suspected DUI crash can be found comical, it only goes to reaffirm the need of these DUI mobile command centers in the eyes of law enforcement, and remind us all how serious a matter drunk driving is.
In Kentucky, DUI laws are being reviewed. Rep. Dennis Keene has made a motion in an attempt to change current DUI legislation and make it a requirement to install ignition interlock devices on the vehicles of all persons convicted of a DUI. House Bill 286 states that the ignition interlock device, or IID, would require the driver to breathe into the device which would then measure the alcohol in his breath before starting the car. Any traces of alcohol detected when testing, will prevent the vehicle from starting as well record the presence of alcohol, which is a probation violation in most cases.
Keene was reported as saying, “This is just a simple bill that will save lives. States that have imposed the interlock system have cut drunk-driving deaths in their states by 33 percent.” While IID costs could range from $3-4 dollars per day, Keene states that the convicted offender would pay all costs to keep the device active. Keene has become an outspoken proponent of DUI legislation changes after his daughter was nearly killed in a DUI crash in 2002.
In Tennesse, Mother’s Against Drunk Driving has recently been attempting to enact similar legislation, forcing the installation of Ignition Interlock Devices in the vehicles of all DUI convicts. They took their cause to the State Capitol February 11th to make their case. MADD supporters have voiced their opinions that it would save lives. Tennessee Senator Maw Beavers was reported quoting the same IID statistic as Keene, “They have proven very successful in many of the states that have the .08 and above law. It has reduced fatal crashes. I believe I read the statistic is 33 percent.”
It’s only a matter of time till more states move to pass laws such as this. It’s not hard to imagine IID being wide spread and common for people convicted of a DUI.
What do you think about mandating Ignition Interlock on Devices on the vehicles of DUI recipients?
If IIDs save lives, why haven’t made them a stock feature of all cars?
17 year old teenager, Tyler Alred, pleaded guilty in August to first degree man slaughter after killing his friend, John Dum, on impact in his DUI crash last December. Oklahoma Highway Patrol had initiated a breathalyzer test at the scene of the crash, and found Tyler Alred had alcohol on his breath at the scene of the crash. Being a minor, any traceable amount of alcohol is grounds for immediate DUI arrest.
Judge Mike Norman handed down the controversial sentence to Alred. The Oklahoma teen, who could have faced up to 10 years in prison for pleading guilty, was sentenced to:
- counseling sessions
- ordered to wear a drug and alcohol bracelet
- graduate from high-school
- and attend 10 years in church, weekly, at a congregation of his choosing.
In court an emotional father of the victim, embraced Alred’s father, seemingly forgiving Alred’s son for the mistake he had made that led to John Dum’s death. Controversy followed Judge Mike Norman’s decision because many believe that sentencing Alred to Church is a violation of the separation of Church and State laws. Alred’s DUI defense lawyer was, not surprisingly, in favor of the sentence. As far as DUI attorneys are concerned a 10-year prison deferment is the best thing that could happen to a client. Judge Norman was reported as saying, “Only time will tell if we saved Tyler Alred’s life.”
In Anaheim California, a 24 year old woman was charged with DUI and child endangerment when she crashed into a parked car, injuring her four year old passenger as well as herself. Since the child was a passenger in the vehicle when the Anaheim DUI accident happened, enhanced penalties and fines may be included. The law states that because the child was under the age of 14 when the accident occurred, 48 hours of enhanced jail time may be included in her punishment as well as increased monetary fines and penalties. The defense of this case should be handled by an experienced Orange County DUI attorney.
These penalties would of course only be added after the conviction of driving under the influence (Vehicle Code Section 23152), and would be nullified if the conviction was not made. DUI Jail time is enhanced, as well as the penalties imposed for each successive DUI conviction. The child endangerment charge (Penal Code section 273a), gives the prosecuting attorney the right to file charges as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on; past criminal history of the person involved, and the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Some charges associated with a misdemeanor child endangerment conviction, are as follows:
1. Up to one year in a county jail
2. A minimum of 4 years informal probation
3. Fines up to $1,000
4. A year of child abuser’s treatment program
5. Alcohol and drug rehab, if endangerment occurred under the influence
Even worse is being convicted of felony child endangerment. The punishments can range from:
1. State prison 2-6 years
2. 10,000 dollars in fines and penalties
3. A possible strike on your criminal record.
Drinking and driving is a serious offense, but it can be made worse when a child is involved. If you or a loved one is facing a DUI or any other alcohol related charges, you want an expert Anaheim DUI Lawyer on your side.