Judges Influenced by Revenues from DUI Convictions?

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on August 23rd, 2010

As I’ve said in previous posts, drunk driving has become a cash cow for local governments starving for revenue.  See DUI: Government’s Cash CowHow to Make a Million in the DUI Business and What if the Cash Cow Goes Dry?.  This has lead to such things as putting pressure on cops with DUI arrest quotas.  See Do Police Have Quotas?, "Yes, We Have No Quotas" and  "Inside Edition" Documents DUI Quotas Across the US.  The hunger of municipalities for money might also influence some judges in their rulings… 

Ex-prosecutor challenges process of picking local court judges

 Atlantic City, NJ.  Aug. 9 – Defendants appearing in municipal court have little chance of getting a fair hearing because judges are more concerned with getting reappointed than handing out justice, and the courts are more focused on making money, a former municipal prosecutor said.  

Superior Court Judge Valerie Armstrong heard arguments Monday in a lawsuit filed by Robert Pinizzutto, a former Hamilton Township municipal prosecutor, who claims that the way municipal judges are appointed may affect how they rule…

He also said he intends to provide evidence that municipal fines and assessments bring in excess of a half-billion dollars to municipalities, adding that the figure was from several years ago….

Robert Sandman, who represents Hamilton’s Verno, called it "patently absurd" to say that Norman Merrill Jr. — Pinizzutto’s client who is accused of driving while intoxicated — cannot get a fair trial because of the way the judge is appointed. 

"(The judge) would have to violate his oath as a judge and the professional code of conduct as a lawyer to make that true", Sandman said.


Yes, he would…but he may be more likely to get reappointed by the cash-hungry municipality.


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