Sober as a cop

Colorado state trooper Brian Pettit got community service for a drunk-driving wreck that would put any of us civilians in jail.

Sadly, this is totally ordinary. Drunk guy runs a stop sign and gets nailed. Happens every day. Police find a fellow officer drunk behind the wheel and don’t arrest him. Happens every day.

You’ve heard the favorite line of a guilty person testifying before Congress: “I don’t recall.” Meaning I do recall but you can’t prove it.

Same principle here. We didn’t think Officer Pettit was impaired. Meaning we knew he was but you can’t prove it.

I can prove he was. See the line in the article?

Pettit had reportedly been drinking the day of the crash, and alcohol consumption was likely a contributing factor in the crash, [Fort Collins District Attorney] Riedel wrote in the letter.

Lawyers call it hearsay. I call it proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a drunk police officer hurt innocent people.

The presumption of innocence and rules of evidence are part of our legal process. I don’t apply them to people who are outside our legal process.

If the President is not indicted, is he innocent? No, he is above the law. That’s Justice Department policy since Watergate. Yet the people still decided, and Congress was prepared to decide, that Nixon was guilty.

The story from Fort Collins is similar to a case I wrote about from Massachusetts. Police on the scene refused to follow the DUI protocol because they said the drunk cop didn’t seem impaired. The blood test at the hospital proved he was so drunk they would not have missed it.

Somebody was able to convince the Colorado hospital to skip the blood alcohol test. Or the prosecutor decided to overlook the result — that happens sometimes.

In the Colorado case, the officer got five months paid vacation and will have to do 180 hours of community service for “careless driving.” Effectively an 8 hour work week for five months. A friend in Colorado got more punishment for a simple DUI with no injury.

I knew a guy convicted of DUI with injury. His sentence was 18 months in jail, and no job when he got out because he couldn’t drive to work any more.

He should have gone into law enforcement instead of high tech. Around here the pay is better too.

The opinions expressed in this post belong to the author and do not necessarily represent those of the National Motorists Association or the NMA Foundation. This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice. No representations are made regarding the accuracy of this post or the included links.

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