What A Tangled Web We Weave

I live in the People’s Republic of Maryland. Here in Maryland, there appears to be two sets of rules that govern behavior in society. They are akin to the to Americas that John Edwards talked about, not the ones he wanted you to believe exist. I heard this story on WBAL radio this morning on my way to work. A close friend of mine emailed me a link to the story, which is in today’s Washinton Post (annoying but free registration required).

Sen. John A. Giannetti Jr. (D-Prince George’s county) has been a strong advocate for increasing the penalties for drunk driving. He has been waging a battle and has introduced at least four bills to up the ante for the offense of DUI. He wants to make refusal to take a breathalyzer a crime punishable with a $500 fine or up to six months in jail if convicted of drunk driving. Another of his bills calls for assessment of 12 points on a driver’s license (automatic revocation) and up to a $1,000 fine or a year in prison, with or without a conviction for drunken driving.

Refusal already costs a person his license for four months. By the time the bureaucrats are done with them though, it is usually more than a year. Add the legal fees, cost of 26 week programs, AA twice a week for years, and probation and a person already pays dearly for a DUI. This is just what the court does to them. The Motor Vehicle Administartion also gets a turn in line and their sanctions compound the misery.

Unfortunately for Giannettei, his wife was stopped after being out drinking. She called her husband, who of course, being a politician, is a lawyer. He will not say what his advice was but she refused the test. He claims that as her lawyer, he must maintain confidentiality so he can not discuss it. This is what the story says about his decision:

In an interview yesterday, the senator declined to relate what he told his wife that night, saying he is her lawyer and, as such, is bound by attorney-client privilege. But he added that there are times when a lawyer should advise a client against the test.

So here we have a man who is politically connected and wants to make refusing a breathalyzer a crime, telling us that sometimes it is in the best interest of the client for the attorney to advise such a thing. How is it that this man can want something he sees as “In a person’s best interest” to be a crime? What I see is a man who, when it is some poor schmo who is not politically connected, wants to take that right away and make it a crime. When it is his wife, he thinks it is a good idea. This smacks of hypocracy. The WaPo goes on to say:

Maryland’s lax policy on the breath test has long been considered one of the biggest loopholes in the state’s drunken driving laws, which often leaves police without their best evidence that a motorist is legally drunk and allows repeat offenders to escape steeper punishments.

What this tells me is that he has been fighting these “loopholes” that are created by the Maryland breath test policy and that people escape steeper punishments because of them but, oh by the way, I am going to use it for my wife for the very same reason. This is a classic democrat thought process. We need tough laws for you people but they do not apply to us. In all fairness, the idea that laws do not apply to the politically well connected runs across party lines. Ted Kennedy is probably the most well known offender. He killed a woman while driving drunk and has been a Senator for a very long time. George W. Bush probably received special treatment, though he did not kill anyone. There are a few Marylanders who were able to escape huge problems because of their stature. One is the son of former governor Parris N. Glendening and the other is olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. Both of these young men were arrested for DUI but they have not paid any where near as much as others. As a side note, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend was the Lt. Governor of the state under Glendenning. Any guess on which Senator she is related to?

I am not condoning drinking and driving. As a Registered Nurse I have seen my share of lives lost or torn apart from the effects of alcohol and people who drive after drinking. I have been to court on a number of occasions as a witness for the State in such cases. I personally know of people who had DWI’s over three years ago who are still trying to get their lives back in order because of the harsh, unfair treatment by the Motor Vehicle Administration. Some people will have spent over six years serving the sanctions imposed by this bureaucratic black hole. These folks are already getting screwed six ways to Sunday and Senator Giannetti wants to pile more on them, except of course if one of them is his wife.

Since this man is a Senator and has connections that probably go all the way to the governor’s office, I am sure his wife will not suffer the same fate as the people I know. It is more likely she will end up with the Kennedy/Bush/Glendening/Phelps form of justice. I am all for justice in cases of DUI but the justice should be the same for everyone and should be reasonable. I think that Giannetti should recuse himself from his wife’s case or drop the bills that he sponsored. This is obviously a conflict of interest and does not bode well for a man who reportedly wants to make the streets of Maryland safer. If you have any feelings you would like to share with the Senator you can email him here:

john_giannetti@senate.state.md.us

Maybe he would like to hear any horror stories you might have. If you tell him to contact the Dog (bigdog@onebigdog.net), I can refer him to people who sure can. Then he will know what people who are not connected have to go through, especially if they are not married to a lawyer who happens to be a politician.



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