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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.  

2/24/2009
Mindy
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Stephen Goodfriend was appointed as the new coordinator for Madison County’s STOP DWI program.

STOP DWI, which stands for Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated (D.W.I.), was developed by New York State government on July 31, 1981. According to Madison County’s website, “this law became effective on November 28, 1981 and provided for the return of fine monies for drinking and driving violations to the counties in which they occurred, provided that those counties established a ‘STOP-DWI’ program.” The mission of the STOP-DWI program is to "provide a plan for coordination of county, town, city, and village efforts to reduce alcohol-related traffic injuries and fatalities."

As the STOP DWI coordinator for Madison County, Goodfriend is charged with the tasks of analyzing DWI statistics and assisting local law enforcement with DWI-related issues, which may include training sessions or purchasing new breathalyzers.  In addition, he is involved in local education, including Students Against Destructive Decisions programs and the Victims’ Impact Panel.

Madison County’s STOP DWI Program also helps fund a DWI patrol, helps fund an Assistant District Attorney who prosecutes misdemeanor DWI arrests in Madison County, provides funds for community awareness and education presentations and assists with the purchase, repair and caliberation of equipment used in DWI enforcement.

Approximately $145,000 to $170,000 in DWI arrest-related fines collected in Madison County goes back into STOP DWI initiatives, which Goodfriend said is something unique to New York.

Goodfriend said that DWI arrest in Madison County is typically hard for an officer to make.



Category: Keyword Search: New York DWI

2/11/2009
Mindy
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A New York State police investigator was charged last Friday, February 6, 2009, with driving while intoxicated, DWI.  He is known for his involvement with the Great American Irish Festival in the local community, which was confirmed by state police on Monday.

In New York, DWI is defined as having a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent. The penalties for a DWI conviction in New York include the loss of driving privileges, fines, and a possible jail sentence.  A driver convicted of first time DWI offense in New York may have to pay a fine of up to $1,000 and may have to serve up to one year in jail.

Matthew Sullivan is facing DWI charges in New York.  He was suspended with pay pending an internal investigation, said state police Lt. Glenn Miner, a spokesman based out of Albany.

He was arrested for DWI by another member of the state police, said Miner.  According to police records from Friday night, Sullivan was arrested on Rt. 12 in the Town of Trenton, said an Oneida County Sheriff’s deputy.  The details behind Sullivan’s DWI arrest have not been released. 

Sullivan is a police investigator who works in the Troop D area based out of Oneida.  He is also the president of the annual Irish Festival and a 2007 recipient of the Accent on Excellence award for local community leaders.

Troop D Public Information Officer Trooper Jim Simpson was able to confirm that Sullivan is the Great American Irish Festival president, but directed any further questions regarding Sullivan’s arrest to the Albany office.

Sullivan declined to comment when he was contacted by a news reporter.



Category: Keyword Search: New York DWI