Monday, April 27, 2015

Drunkenness, Improper Driving and being a Lebanon City Council Member

A year ago I wrote County Prosecutor Disciplined by the Indiana Supreme Court for Drunk Driving is a Candidate for Judge of an Indiana Superior Court where I opened with;
Being a cyclist and advisor on the well-being of children I have no tolerance for the terrorist element known as ‘drunk drivers,’ people who randomly target the general population for their deadly assaults. Over the weekend I was provided with some documents that demonstrate that a current judicial candidate has a drunk driving offense conviction. Typically I like to expose the positive attributes of candidates, for 'mud-slinging' debases the legitimacy of the election process. I have no personal ax to grind with the candidate here but feel so strongly about this issue that I am compelled to put it forth.”

That was about a drunk driving conviction from about 20 years earlier of Boone Superior Court Judge Bruce Petit who was then the chief juvenile prosecutor for the Office of the Boone County Prosecutor.

Last week I received an email from Aaron Smith detailing the numerous alcohol related convictions and driving offenses by current Lebanon City Council member Jeremy Lamar who is a current candidate for an at-large seat.

Although Bruce Petit’s offense was decades old, and that I feel he is well intentioned toward the welfare of children, I was still unable to in good conscience vote for him because of that conviction. He and I talked about it and he was understanding and appreciative of my position.

Jeremy Lamar, however, stands in stark contrast to Judge Petit. Jeremy’s latest of three alcohol related criminal offenses is a 2015 conviction. He has nine total offenses relating to alcohol and/or driving. Not only should voters not give their tacit support to the killing of innocent people by drunk drivers through a vote for Lamar but Lamar should withdraw himself as a candidate.

These were not “errors in judgment” or “mistakes” as the apologists and enablers would lead you to believe. What these flagrant and ongoing offenses demonstrate is a pattern of contempt for Law and an unwillingness to accept responsibility to abide by the social strictures that are intended to facilitate a safe environment for all members of our community. Yet he has been granted the authority and sits in a position to create conditions or impose upon people mandates and prohibitions that affect their health and welfare. I believe as Aaron Smith who titled his email "Sad situation" that this is extremely unfortunate because Jeremy has always been friendly to me and willing to hear any concerns. I feel that those are two essential attributes of being a public servant. However, those cannot excuse the contempt that he has demonstrated for our moral code.

In Death Penalty for Drunk Driving I rationated why drunk driving is a greater offense against the public order and safety than ‘cop killers’ who strike when a warrant is being served on them. In arguing why drunk driving should be a death penalty offense if cop killing is I made an analogy between drunk drivers and, among other terrorists, the cop killers backed into a corner;
There is a distinction between the "cat backed into a corner" offender and the drunk driver. The drunk driver who kills did not set his sights upon a particular individual; a former spouse, a rival gang member or someone threatening his or her liberty. The drunk driver kills randomly and does it 5000 times a year. Every child at a school bus stop. Every parent walking his or her children along the sidewalk. Every driver on the road. All of these people are at risk of being the next victim much like being at the mercy of a sniper perched on a rooftop shooting randomly.

This is the way it is with drunk drivers. We don't know what location will be next. We don't know when it will happen. We don't know who the target will be. The only thing we know is that somewhere today a drunk driver will strike and kill using a vehicle and that it will happen multiple times. This is terrorism.

In El Salvador the penalty for the first drunk driving offense is death by firing squad. In Bulgaria a second offense can bring about the death penalty. California was the first state to convict a drunken driver of murder - in 1984. In North Carolina drunk driving killers have been convicted of murder for driving in a manner that showed wanton disregard for human life.

I find no logical consistency in legalized alcohol consumption and an age demarcation for such while marijuana is scheduled by our federal government as one of the most dangerous drugs, more so than cocaine. Many more people die from excess consumption of water than do from marijuana overdose. These contradictions cannot withstand a casuistry challenge. To balance liberty with responsibility along a moral or ethical continuum, substance laws should be based upon competency. That is, an applicant for a permit to purchase or consume any substance should be required to pass a basic test of knowledge of the substance, it’s risks, benefits, responsible use, and penalties for misuse. Clearly some people over the age of 21 years cannot responsibly consume alcohol as Jeremy Lamar has aptly demonstrated. There are others like my son who at 18 years has been exposed to and allowed to consume alcohol since grade school but just doesn’t. He doesn’t see much sense in it but may have a glass of wine once a year if that often.

Age does not make one competent when it comes to substance use. Responsible use can not be mandated either. But as long as the courts treat drunk driving as a peccadillo then offenders will continue to abuse their right to be among the population. Considering the historical context of the death penalty in that it is to forever remove the most dangerous persons from our midst then clearly it should be applied to the most deadly terrorist element we have; the drunk driver. But it won’t. Drunk drivers are the only criminal class who operate in the legal market and contribute significantly to the automobile production, maintenance, and repair markets at a rate greater than the average. They also are often elected to occupy positions of authority as Judge Petit, Judge Hughes in Hamilton County, Jeremy Lamar and an ad nauseum list of legislators, judges and other public officials have been.

Jeremy Lamar has said, “[i]t is my intention to leave this up to Lebanon voters to decide if they would like me to continue in office.” We will soon know whether Lebanon voters have chosen to give their support to the member of a class of people who participates in the random slaughter and disfigurement of innocent children.

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alia52nalie said...

I don’t think he should hold the office anymore. There is no question if Lebanon voters decide it or not. You shan’t continue on moral grounds. My cousin who works with a DUI lawyer tells that things there are completely different and if something like this happened there, the person would have resigned himself.

Stephanie Waters said...

I am always saddened when I hear about the death of a child due to drunk driving. I can't understand how someone does not know they can easily kill someone when they behave that way. Personally, I would not want someone in office that is currently having drinking problems and is putting citizens at risk.

Stephanie Waters @ Chastaine Law

Leticia Holt said...

If you are ever struck by a drunk driver, even if they do not have insurance hire an attorney as quickly as possible. I made the mistake of taking with this jerk and feeling sorry for him, and it cost me in court because our talks were recorded and he buried me in court. I learned a hard lesson that day.

Leticia Holt @ KHunter Law

Modesto Culbertson said...

I learned my lesson the hard way when I went to court and represented myself. I thought i was doing the honorable thing by pleading guilty to drinking and driving. The judge was not impressed, in fact, she told me that she has had enough of these type cases clogging up her court, fined me, took my license for a year, and made me attend alcohol abuse meeting for a year.

Modesto Culbertson @ D & Z Law Group