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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.  

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George Korpita, a former municipal court judge in Morris County, New Jersey was found guilty March 19, 2009, of his second DWI charge.

Korpita was pulled over last February 15, 2008 for careless driving as his vehicle was swerving in and out of traffic.  He recently admitted to driving drunk and was convicted of his second drunk driving charge, as well as refusing to take a breath test.

Korpita did announce in court that he has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings and has been sober for over a year. In light of this information, the judge suspended Korpita’s 45-day jail term ruling and ordered him to go to AA meetings six days a week for two years; however, the former judge will be jailed if he misses any meetings.

The court also suspended Korpita’s driver’s license for two years and fined him $2,000.  In addition, the New Jersey Supreme Court suspended Korpita’s license to practice law after he admitted to driving drunk. 

Korpita’s first conviction came after his admittance to driving drunk in Roxbury in 2007 and threatened police who arrested him.  Soon after his arrest, Korpita stepped down from his position in Dover, Rockaway Borough and Victory Gardens.

Category: Keyword Search: New Jersey DWI defense attorney

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A man being accused of DWI in New Jersey, is using a rare legal defense known as “pathological intoxication.”  Eugene Baum Jr., a Dover man, has been accused of drunk driving and killing two teenage pedestrians in Kinnelon almost three years ago.

According to the pathological intoxication defense, someone can have a condition where they regularly become so intoxicated that they have no control over their alcohol or drug addictions and are unaware of their actions.

Baum’s DWI defense attorney claims that Baum had been hospitalized three times before the fatal accident two years ago for alcoholism.  On the evening of the crash, he was operating as if he was on “autopilot” and was oblivious to his actions.  His attorney went on to describe Baum as “a sick individual who suffers from a medical condition of pathological intoxication.”

The attorney from the New Jersey Crime Victims’ Law Center feels that Baum’s defense is just a gimmick and said the only time you see such a defense is on a television show, such as Law and Order.

John Kip Cornwell, an associate dean and professor of law at Seton Hall Law School, likened Baum’s pathological intoxication defense to an insanity defense. 

“It’s a very rare defense.  He’s trying to thread a needle that would link all of these things together,” said Cornwell.

Baum has been charged with two counts of first-degree aggravated manslaughter in the April 20, 2006 deaths of Mayada Jafar of Kinnelon, 15, and Athear Jafar of Jefferson, 16.  When Baum was arrested for DWI, his blood-alcohol level was 0.305 percent, almost four times higher than New Jersey’s legal limit of 0.08 percent.

The pathological intoxication claim may be allowed, as involuntary intoxication is not prohibited as a defense. 

Category: Keyword Search: New Jersey DWI defense attorney