Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Being wronged for doing right

Sometimes, in this bizarre world in which DWI is demonized more than any other criminal offense, you can do the right thing and still get burned. Just ask Brenda Moore.

Back in December 2008, a friend of Ms. Moore's brother asked for a ride. Ms. Moore told him that she couldn't drive because she had been drinking - but that he was welcome to drive while she rode shotgun. Ms. Moore did just what we are all told we should do if we're going out drinking -- get a designated driver.

All went swimmingly well until an Indianapolis police officer stopped Ms. Moore's car because a license plate lamp wasn't working. As it turned out, the brother's friend didn't have a valid driver's license and the officer would not allow him to continue driving the car (no mention of whether he was driving in an unsafe manner, however). The officer then asked Ms. Moore if she was capable of driving. Ms. Moore told the officer she wasn't -- and she was arrested for public intoxication.

Ms. Moore was convicted of public intoxication at the trial court but the conviction was reversed on appeal. The Indiana Supreme Court, in its infinite wisdom, decided that the trial court got it right and affirmed Ms. Moore's conviction.
"I don't think the court did anything wrong in its decision. I think it just shows that until we change the law, more innocent people are going to be made (into criminals)." - Indiana State Sen. Michael Young (R-Indianapolis)
The police and courts may have upheld the letter of the law, but they failed miserably when it comes to upholding the spirit of the law. Ms. Moore did the right thing. She decided that it wasn't a good idea to drive because she had been drinking so she asked someone else to drive. But what did she get in the end for doing the right thing?

This is what happens when you start conducting witch hunts. Pretty soon everyone looks like a witch.

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