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Michigan judge makes an example of first time drunk drivers

There's nothing like sitting back and socializing with friends after a tough day or week at work - a nice meal, a couple drinks. It is a good opportunity to set aside work day cares and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

A judge in the 48th District Court says to "have at it"; as long as you don't get behind the wheel of a vehicle, that is. Jalen Rose learned this the hard way recently when he was sentenced for 93 days in jail for a first time drunk driving offense. The March crash did not involve any other vehicles and no one was injured.

Unfortunately, all of the community and fan letters of outrage to the judge wasn't enough to sway her sentencing when she cracked down her gavel. The mayor of Detroit even appealed for leniency on Rose due to his active involvement in the inner-city areas. The judge's own probation department recommended probation and community service.

The judge is renowned amongst her peers as being tough on first time drunk driving offenders. Her sentences usually involve some form of jail time, whereas her colleagues serve more lenient sentences with community service and probation. In defense of her stance, she admits she feels it is her duty to send a message that there will be "serious consequences" if you drink and drive.

Rose's attorney feels that her actions amount to judicial bench legislation and are an abuse of her discretion. He is now looking into what can be done to overturn Rose's sentence.

Rose, a former NBA and University of Michigan basketball star, is active in his community as well as abroad. He was involved in funding efforts for a hospital in the Congo. He is also working on opening the "Jalen Rose Leadership Academy" in his continuing efforts to improve the lives of the inner-city youth he mentors.

Rose is admittedly upset by his actions and has taken full responsibility for "endangering the community." Rose's attorney explains, "The most difficult thing Jalen has had to do is sit down with his young children and explain what daddy has done."

Drunk driving has negative implications for everyone involved. For those individuals in the public eye that have been arrested, not only do they have to face the legal ramifications, but also public humiliation for their actions.  Unlike Judge Small, there are judges who will carefully consider the sentencing arguments of an experienced attorney in these cases.

Source: USA Today, "Jalen Rose gets 20 days in jail for drunk driving," L.L. Brasier, 27 July 2011

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