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 From an emotional standpoint, a case where someone is accused driving under the influence and killing another person is one of the toughest.  With the victim, you usually have someone who did not deserve to die.  They are often young, in the prime of their lives.  They are usually also close to the driver.  The victim is often a spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, or sibling of the accused.  Unfortunately, that person is not available to express forgiveness to the driver.
 
As for the driver, you often have a person who has never been in trouble in his life.  He may be college educated, have a great job, and a loving family.  But for this horrible incident he would have continued to be an upstanding citizen.
 
Recently, a San Jose woman pled guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter after hitting and killing a 79 year old grandmother.  She is waiting to be sentenced by a Santa Clara County judge.  Her maximum possible sentence is 12 years in the state prison.  In fact, the judge is precluded from granting this woman probation unless he finds “unusual circumstances” where the interests of justice require it.  According to statements, the family of the victim has forgiven the defendant, and believes that the victim would forgive her as well.  Unfortunately, California DUI sentencing law provides somewhat less opportunity for the Court to forgive her. 

As a former prosecutor, I can tell you that, regardless of the outcome, nobody wins in these cases.  Regardless of what side you are on there is nothing but tragedy in these cases.  An innocent victim loses her life, and a contrite survivor is cast into the hell of the California prison system.  

2/19/2009
Mindy
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Superior Court Judge E. Curtissa Cofield has been suspended for 240 days from the bench, following her DUI arrest in October. 

Connecticut’s Judicial Review decided to suspend Cofield for 240 days instead of issuing a one-year suspension or recommending that she be removed by the Connecticut Supreme Court.  Before this decision was made, legislators had considered action to remove her from the bench.

Cofield was arrested in Glastonbury for driving drunk.  The night of her arrest, she had sideswiped a state police car, which was occupied by a trooper and parked in a construction zone.

When Cofield was taken to Glastonbury police headquarters, she became uncooperative and started using racist language against police officers.  Cofield especially targeted state police Sgt. Dwight Washington, who is black.  The event was videotaped by police.  Even though her blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit in Connecticut, she lied about drinking. 

Cofield became the first black female judge in Connecticut in 1991.  She is now 60 years-old.  Many of Cofield’s supporters attended the council’s hearing.

Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, said the initial reaction of legislators was that the suspension was sufficiently severe.  However, he did say that he doesn’t think Cofield should be assigned to criminal cases in the future.  “Her ability to appear as impartial in a criminal case has been destroyed,” said Lawlor.

Some people are upset by the 240 day suspension, as they feel that the punishment is not harsh enough.  A staff member with the Connecticut Post wrote, “Her continued presence as a judge will undermine the integrity of the judicial system and invite comparisons of the penalties that face judges who break the law and the penalties that face other defendants.”



Category: Keyword Search: CT DUI Arrests