BOSTON (CBS) – I’ll never forget the pictures I saw once while doing research in a local newspaper archive, unpublished photos of the scene of a horrific head-on crash between a car driven by a completely drunk driver and a van carrying a local family, three generations, grandparents, parents, and young children, all killed in the most horrific fashion possible by the completely irresponsible behavior that is all too common among a way-too-large segment of the local population.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
That crash was 30 years ago this fall.
And over the course of those decades, public outrage over drunk driving and its terrible human toll has become focused on the unwillingness of the legislature and the courts to do anything about it, primarily because of the self-serving, irresponsible influence of the criminal defense bar, eager to protect a consistently lucrative part of its client base.
In recent years we’ve seen Beacon Hill finally, grudgingly begin to toughen some of the state’s weak drunk-driving laws, especially when it comes to repeat offenders.
And how has the judiciary responded?
According to an utterly appalling Globe spotlight report that began running yesterday, by practicing its own version of the jury nullification made famous in the OJ Simpson case.
Part one of the Globe series was rich in detail, but the key fact is this: judges here acquit more than 80 percent of the DUI defendants who come before them, which they do in droves because their lawyers know they’re more likely to skate at a bench trial than at a jury trial.
And what did Lynda Connolly, chief justice of the District Courts, have to say when confronted with this outrage?
“Eighty percent is a big number, and so I think that there’s a tendency to say, ‘Wow, there must be something wrong there.’ I’m not sure that there’s something wrong there.’’
This is nothing less than a coup attempt by one branch of government, self-serving judges and their clueless leaders attempting to subvert the will of the people and the rule of law.
Governor Patrick and legislative leaders must step in and bring them to heel.
Or, if they prefer, join with these outlaw judges in dousing themselves with the blood of future drunk driving victims.
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.