Stop the MADDness

Libertarian ex-prosecutor and anti-drugwar mouthpiece Robert Guest writes about Mothers Against Drunk Driving stealing our tax dollars. It seems that the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency has given MADD $400,000 to watch DWI court proceedings in New Mexico. Here’s New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson’s press release about the “contract.” In part:

The court monitoring project will provide feedback to the state on the status and effectiveness of current laws and court processes. The program will increase dialogue between the criminal justice system and the state, in an effort to reduce alcohol-related crashes.

New Mexico Department of Transportation Secretary Rhonda Faught said, “NMDOT is proud to be involved in this monitoring effort. The courts are a venue often overlooked by the public in the battle against drunk driving. We are pleased to be taking a detailed look at what is happening in court rooms in the counties on the front line in New Mexico’s efforts against DWI.”

According to New Mexico DWI Czar Rachel O’Connor, “A large percentage of the calls that come in are from people concerned about the adjudication of DWI cases – such as swiftness of case handling, whether sentencing guidelines were followed and justified dismissals. This project will enable us to observe and record data and work cooperatively with the courts towards positive change.”

“Dialog between the criminal justice system and the state”? Unless I’m very much mistaken, the state employs most of the participants in any DWI case in the criminal justice system. By giving the very political agenda-driven organization $400,000 of taxpayers’ money, the government employs that organization, over which it has no oversight, as well.

What do you suppose “positive change” is going to mean to MADD’s courtwatchers? More convictions, faster, and more punishment. After all, if your sole goal were “reduction of alcohol-related crashes,” you could do away with due process, convict every person accused of DWI (regardless of the facts) and put them all in prison. MADD doesn’t quite advocate that, but here’s a taste from MADD’s website: “MADD believes that all who are charged with DUI/DWI offenses should be prosecuted as charged, rather than be allowed to negotiate to a lesser offense, especially a non alcohol related offense.” Sure, it isn’t fair, and sure, it’ll waste a bunch of public resources, and sure, you’d punish a bunch of innocent people, but you’d accomplish your goal.

Like MADD, I’d like to reduce alcohol-related crashes. That’s why I won’t drive after having more than one drink. Unlike MADD, I don’t think that reducing alcohol-related crashes is more important than due process or common sense.


0 responses to “Stop the MADDness”

  1. I am also against fatalaties on the roadway. But we have reached the Laffer Curve of enforcement. Tougher penalties and lower bac requirements have not decreased deaths.

  2. As a New Mexico prosecutor, my ethics will refrain me from beginning the sentencing phase of DWI trials with the following line: “Your Honor, before we begin, I would like to welcome our guests sitting in with us today, Mr. So-and-So and Mrs. So-and So from our local MADD office.”

    But oh the temptation.

    Kirk Chavez

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