Friday, May 09, 2008

Sieze the Car of the DUI? No.

This may be a landmark--Mathias, a prosecutor (or two) and I agree that siezure of a DUI's vehicle is not a matter of justice.


As awful as the crash that killed Jennifer Bukoksy, her daughters, and left a family friend critically injured was, a proposal to seize cars owned by third-offense alcohol and drug-impaired drivers won’t prevent such crashes in the future, and would have an unfair impact on their families.

I admit the idea sounds appealing, but cars are not just used by the individuals whose names are on the title. Cars take children to school, families to the grocery store, and spouses to work. Such a law would pose an even greater hardship on families living in rural areas where public transportation options are spotty to non-existent

Mathias' combox, indirectly quoting Brad Schimel, Waukesha County DA:

Waukesha DA Brad Schimel told the Journal Sentinel that seizures are difficult to administer, raises costs for local communities, and just doesn’t prevent these drivers from getting behind the wheel again anyway

Prosqtor, an ADA in Winnebago County (who was a Milwaukee County ADA until recently):

There is a possibility of vehicle seizure on 3rd and subsequent OWIs now, but it's rarely used. For one, there's often a lien on the vehicle, making seizure and title transfer difficult (Is Milwaukee County going to pay off liens to have a clear title for a seizure?); also, where would the county/city/town place the seized mid-80's Cutlass Classics taken from drunks?

I think they're on the right track about increasing the penalties; the real solution, however, may be to sentence people to closer to the maximum. Minimum sentences did nothing to stem the flow of drugs through our communities, and were eventually replaced; similarly, pedophiles don't stop their behavior because there's a 25 (or 5) year mandatory minimum for what they're about to do.

There's a RadioRanter who does early-AM time in Milwaukee who is absolutely in love with the idea of "siezure." Listening to his rant this morning confirmed my suspicion that siezure is not really a "justice" issue--it's a "revenge" item.

Let's go with Prosqutor's idea. Go max on the sentencing (and increase the sentence's years, while we're at it, in the new legislation.)

Leave the cars to rust with their OTHER owners: the spouse.

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