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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: STOP DWI Program