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Judge nabbed on drunk driving charge enroute to courtroom duties

The news reports pertaining to drunk driving arrests throughout the nation and in New York are not lacking in depictions of prominent community figures and celebrities being arrested on DUI charges. These incidents are usually well-reported due to the extra ratings and newspaper sales that the media may enjoy when such an article hits the airwaves. Recently, a Rochester  City Court Judge was on her way to work where she was scheduled to preside over criminal court arraignments when state troopers arrested her for drunk driving.  

New York State Police arrested the 34-year-old jurist on Interstate 490, according to the Monroe County District Attorney. The incident will likely carry significant public embarrassment for an elected judge who previously worked as a prosecutor in the district attorney's drunken driving bureau. Troopers indicated that the judge was "possibly" involved in a one-car crash just before the arrest, but there were no further details immediately available.

The judge reportedly refused to take a Breathalyzer test. The news reports do not contain details of the stop in further detail. However, the defendant's refusal to take a Breathalyzer test will usually result in an automatic driver's license suspension. At the same time, it may be more difficult for the defendant to be convicted on the DUI charge without the breath test results.

It appears that the court will never know the defendant's blood alcohol reading at the time of the arrest. The prosecutor may nonetheless decide to go ahead with the prosecution if other evidence appears sufficient to convict. Some observers may question the action of a sitting judge refusing to take a breath test; judges are supposed to display unquestioned integrity in their personal lives. In that sense, if the evidence is arguably sufficient to support a conviction of drunk driving under New York law, she may fare better in the long run by entering into a plea agreement, showing contrition, and cooperating in full to minimize the "shock" value of a public trial.

Source: syracuse.com, "Rochester judge arrested for driving drunk on her way to court, prosecutor says", Feb. 14, 2016

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