ESPN basketball analyst Jalen Rose had one too many and crashed his SUV, resulting in his arrest and now sentencing from a female judge who has lowered the boom with a 20-day sentence for first-time drunk driving.
First-time drunk driving charges typically merit a slap on the wrist in many locales. Time served (the period between being taken into custody and the time it takes to secure an OR — release on own recognizance — or bail), along with a fine, usually aids the first-time offender in walking pretty quickly after arrest.
Judge Kimberly Small says that’s the whole problem: the punishment isn’t fitting the crime and so we continue to face drunk driving on our roads, as first-time offenders become habitual violaters.
Judge Small says she is making a public display of Jalen Rose and his first-time drunk driving arrest to send a message to society at large, according to the Detroit Free Press. The message? Don’t do the crime if you don’t want to do the time, for one.
Want to put an end to drunk-driving, Judge Small essentially said in court, then “send a message that there will be serious consequences.”
It’s a common message many law enforcement agencies attempt to send for crimes they want to discourage. The second message is don’t expect celebrity to be your saving grace when you do commit law violations, it might earn you the max time instead of favorable treatment.
Judge Small told the packed courtroom that she was making an example of Jalen Rose in order to send a message to the community.
Rose’s attorney from California, Keith Davidson, says Judge Small is, instead, carrying out a “miscarriage of justice” against Jalen Rose.
“We have two crimes here. What my client did and what happened here today,” USA Today reported.
But should Jalen Rose or any other person be afforded the ability to bypass the maximum law of the land for drunk-driving? Isn’t drunk driving the scourge of the roadways? A threat to every citizen who gets behind the wheel of a car day or night?
According to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), each state has been assigned a numerical indicator by their agency that serves to illustrate at a glance the percentage of traffic deaths resulting from drunk-driving in that geographical area. The numerical ranking — with 1 indicating the least deaths caused by alcohol — ranges from 1 to 51.
It is staggering and eye-opening to contemplate that as many as 51 percent (more than half) of every traffic accident death in the D.C. area is a result of someone getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated.
Do away with drunk-driving and you reduce traffic fatalities by half in D.C. alone, not to mention other parts of the country, including Bloomington Hills, where Jalen Rose’s traffic accident occurred.
Judge Small pointed out during her 41-minute lecture of the ESPN analyst that her issue wasn’t his taking a drink in the comfort of his own home or while out socializing.
“You’re not here because you drank,” she said, but “I do mind when you get behind the wheel of a two-ton vehicle and use it as a weapon against the rest of us.”
Drunk drivers are drivers challenged by their intoxication to keep it on the road and operate their vehicle safely, as statistics show. Drivers strapped into a large SUV, as Small pointed out, essentially have a weapon in their hands and they are using it against society when they lose control of it, whether they consider that deliberate or not.
Judge Small is using Jalen Rose to drive home that point by giving him a 20-day sentence for his first-time drunk driving charge, but Rose’s legal team is taking issue with that position, despite Rose’s proclamation in court that, “I have no one to blame but myself for endangering the community.”
Rose’s legal team, however, may seek to fight the sentence imposed, sending a message, if they do, that celebrity expects special treatment regardless of their threat to others.This would be a profession mistake for Jalen Rose, undermining his own acknowledgement that he is sorry for his actions.
Police often set up simulation demonstrations at carnivals, schools and other locations in order to help aid the general public and youth understand just how much drinking limits drivers’ ability to control their vehicle. These outdoor simulations essentially put participants behind the wheel of a golf cart wearing googles that mimic the eyesight of an intoxicated person.
It provides a realistic look — without being intoxicated — at how impaired a drunk driver really is on the road. And it helps citizens when stories like these occur in the media to better understand why Judge Small and other legal members of the judicial system take a hard line with drunk-drivers, even first-time offenders.
First-time offender status, for the record, does not mean an individual has never committed the crime previously. It merely means — as in the case of Jalen Rose — that they have never been caught drinking and driving before now.
If Jalen Rose serves his time without contesting the length, he will go a long way in doing his part to help reduce traffic fatalities in America due to drunk driving because of his example in seeking to right his wrong.
Rose’s attorneys lauded his philanthrophy efforts to Judge Small, seeking to use them to discourage a longer sentence for his crime, but they should consider that if he serves his full sentence for violating a law he readily admits violating, it would carry even more weight — and what better philanthrophy than doing what his fellow man has to do every day: pay penalties for unlawful actions taken. Does he really want to be seen as someone who “gets away with it?”
We recommend you also read Radell Smith’s other criminal profiles articles:
“Laura Jean Ackerson – dismembered mom: The case facts to date”
“Last people to see Laura Ackerson alive talking”
“Brutal killings by teen prompting no remorse”