27 November 2010

It's not good when the prosecutor and judge don't know the law...

In 2003, Carl O. Snowden, current director of the civil rights office in the state attorney general's office, received probation before judgment (PBJ) for drunken driving.  In a PBJ, the offender effectively admits their guilt and is given a period of probation.  If they satisfactorily complete their probation, the offense goes away as if it never happened.  PBJs are somewhat common among first time offenses (especially DUIs).

This year, Mr. Snowden received his second DUI and received PBJ again (and while PBJs are common for first time offenses, they are apparently rare for subsequent offenses).  But there is another problem here: Maryland law regarding the granting of PBJs changed in 2009 such that an offender in a DUI can only get one PBJ in a ten year period.  This second PBJ would be Mr. Snowden's second in seven years.

The prosecutor nor the sentencing judge knew of this change in Maryland law.

Oops.

The Baltimore Sun has the story here.
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