Jalen Rose is Sentenced to Twenty Days in Jail for Drinking and Driving

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Jalen Rose.jpgEarlier this month basketball star and ESPN analyst Jalen Rose was sentenced to twenty days in jail for a March drunken-driving crash near Detroit. Rose pled guilty and admitted to the judge that he drank six martinis before crashing his SUV on a snowy road late in the evening. Even though several prominent members of the Detroit community came out in support of Rose and despite the fact that the prosecutor did not recommend jail time, the judge sentenced Rose to twenty days in jail.

Rose's attorneys were beside themselves. One of his attorneys commented that the judge was legislating from the bench and cited his client's donations to charity and service to the community, including starting inner city schools. The judge, who has a reputation for coming down hard on drunk drivers lectured Rose stating, "The one thing that people never want...that they will hire expensive lawyers to avoid...is jail time. That's why I believe it is the right punishment." Rose's actual sentence is 92 days in jail and one years probation, but the judge suspended 72 days of the sentence. The maximum penalty for the charge is 93 days, but Rose received credit for the night he spent in jail after the crash.

I am, to say the least, surprised by Rose's sentence. This was his first offense and his blood alcohol content was .12. He did crash his car but not into another vehicle. He did not injure anyone. Every state and, for the most part, jurisdiction has certain tendencies when sentencing defendants convicted of drinking and driving. In Maryland, I would be extremely surprised if a person convicted under the same fact pattern was sentenced to even a day in jail. Admittedly, I am ignorant as to the sentence Michigan courts typically hand down to a first time drinking and driving offender. The articles I have read clearly indicate that this sentence was over the top. What were the reasons for such a harsh sentence? I think one obvious reason is that Rose encountered a judge who is particularly hard on drunk drivers. However, something else struck me a troublesome. Rose told the judge that he had six martinis that night. You had what? I am assuming they were Grey Goose. No self respecting member of the "Fab Five" would have it any other way. Seriously Jalen, you just told the judge that you had six martinis. I have heard of a three martini lunch but after six martinis your not going back to work. When you plead guilty to a DUI or DWI there is absolutely no reason to tell the judge how much or what you had to drink. If you tell the judge you had two light beers you look like a liar and if you tell the judge you had six martinis you look like an indifferent drunk who needs to be made an example of. The judge commented that people hire expensive attorneys to avoid jail time and that is why she sentenced him to twenty days. Any attorney that lets his or her client admit to drinking six martinis before getting behind the wheel should refund their fee to the client.

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