Judges arrested for drunk driving are all over the U.S. As one jurist said, judges wear robes, not capes. They’re human.
Perhaps most judges arrested for drunk driving act politely. But in some cases they act very inappropriately when police pull them over. And even more outrageously when an officer arrests them.
Learn what to expect if an officer pulls you over. And also what defense lawyers suggest doing and not doing.
Of course, It’s important to remember that when police arrest people, it doesn’t mean that they’re guilty. Examples of that are here as well.
We commonly say that police arrest someone for drunken driving. However, we really mean that the arrest is on a charge of DUI, DWI, OVI, etc. These stand for driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, operating a vehicle under the influence, etc. Unfortunately, their exact definitions differ from state to state.
Especially after around 11:00 at night police carefully watch for any sign of intoxication of drivers. They pay much more attention to subtle signs of impairment then. And they do so especially on weekends and holidays. That’s because the proportion of people drinking and driving is much, much higher at those times. Many judges arrested for drunk driving experience the arrest then.
The myth is that beer, wine, and spirits contain different amounts of alcohol. But they don’t. Standard drinks of these beverages contain the same amount of alcohol. It’s 0.6 of an ounce each. Don’t be fooled. They’re all the same to a breathalyzer.
Do you know of any judges arrested for drunk driving not here? If so, please notify hansondj (@) potsdam (.) edu. Many thanks!
List by State of Judges Arrested for Drunk Driving
Judge Patrick McKay served in the Third Judicial District. Before he became a judge, police stopped McKay and charged him with DWI. He challenged the results of the breathalyzer. However, the court convicted him. As a result, the court required him to serve three days in jail. It also required him to pay a fine and undergo alcohol screening.
In 2009, police again arrested Judge McKay for DWI. In this case, he pleaded no contest. The court sentenced him to five days in jail and three years probation.
Consequently, the Alaska Supreme Court publicly reprimanded the judge. It also required him to show proof that he was receiving alcohol treatment.
In 2012, police arrested Judge Joseph Lodge for DUI. He had swerved into oncoming traffic. His BAC was 0.229%.
Lodge’s supervisor reassigned him the next day to non-judicial duties until his term ended. Later in court Lodge pleaded guilty.
Lodge resigned shortly thereafter. That’s an honorable thing for judges arrested for drunk driving to do.
Someone called the sheriff’s department to report a reckless driver. The caller gave a description of the vehicle including its license plate number.
A deputy saw the vehicle repeatedly crossing the center line and pulled the driver over. He was District Court Judge Ken Harper. The deputy arrested Harper for DWI after he failed a field sobriety test. In addition, the deputy charged him with public intoxication/drinking in public and driving left of center.
Harper reached a plea agreement. The prosecutor merged all charges with the DWI on prescribed drugs. As a result, the court fined Harper $510, ordered him to pay $320 in court costs. The court also sentenced him to alcohol treatment. He failed to comply. Indeed, witness saw him buying alcohol, consuming it, and being publicly intoxicated.
However, Harper’s troubles were far from over. The state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission brought charges against him. Finally, the state Supreme Court disbarred Harper.
William “Bill” Pearson
Circuit Court Judge William “Bill” Pearson drove through a sobriety road block. He came very close to hitting officers as he did so. Pearson then led police on a chase for over a mile. He had difficulty keeping his vehicle on the road.
When police asked him how much he had drunk, he said “None of your business.” However, in court he pleaded guilty to DWI and reckless driving. The court sentenced Pearson to six months in jail, but suspended it. It fined him $700 and suspended his license for six months. In addition, it required the judge to attend alcohol education classes.
John T. Doyle
Judge John T. Doyle serves in the Superior Court. In 2009, police arrested him for DUI after he caused a traffic crash.
Doyle pleaded no contest. The court convicted of the charge of DUI. In spite of his guilt, voters re-elected Doyle to the bench. Voters don’t seem to think harshly of judges arrested for drunk driving.
Judge Elaine Rushing served in the Superior Court. In 2005, police arrested her on charges of DUI.
Rushing pleaded no contest. The court convicted her. It sentenced her to ten days in jail and three years of informal probation.
The court dismissed a second charge of DUI and a hit-and-run charge. However, the judge never served time in jail. Instead, she took part in a work-release program.
Ironically, a year earlier she presided over two drunk driving cases. In both cases she imposed the harshest possible sentences on the drivers.
Joseph C. Scott
Judge Joseph C. Scott serves in the Superior Court. In 2014 police arrested Scott for DUI. His BAC was 0.12%.
The judge pleaded no contest. The court convicted Scott and sentenced him to threes years of probation. It also ordered him to complete a first offender program.
As a result, the California Commission on Judicial Performance took action. It publicly admonished him for his “serious disregard of the principles of personal and official conduct” as a judge.
Judge E. Curtissa R. Cofield served in the Superior Court. Police arrested her for DUI after she crashed into a parked cruiser. They also charged her for failing to drive in the correct lane. The judge’s BAC was 0.16, double the legal limit.
A video shows her insulting officers and using racial slurs against them. Subsequently, the Judicial Review Council suspended the judge without pay for eight months. It found that she used her position as a judge to intimidate the officers. That she used racial slurs against them. And that she commited the crime of DUI.
Later, the Judicial Review Council found that she was guilty of other unrelated violations of judicial conduct.
Judge Cofield announced that she would not run for re-election. She’s one of the more disappointing examples of judges arrested for drunk driving.
Judge Arline Colon is an administrative judge for the Social Security Administration. She was driving the wrong way on a highway and crashed into another car. Judge Colin didn’t stop but continued driving. However, her front axel broke about a mile away. Because of that she couldn’t continue driving.
Deputies said Colon’s speech was slurred, her eyes were bloodshot and watery, and she smelled of alcohol. She was unable to stand without help. Therefore, they did not perform a field sobriety test.
Deputies arrested Colon. The charges were DUI and leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage
Earlier in the year deputies arrested her for providing false information to law enforcement. She had falsely reported that her husband pointed a gun at her and their son.
Cynthia G. Imperato
Judge Cynthia G. Imperato served in the Circuit Court. Police arrested the judge for DUI in 2013. An officer noticed her car swerving and nearly hitting another car. A 911 caller reported a car matching that of Imperato’s. The caller said the car was “all over the road… nearly sideswiped me twice.” And the caller added that the driver’s “gotta be drunk…really dangerous.”
After officers stopped her, Imperato refused to get out of her car. She told the officer she was calling her lawyer. However, she was unable to dial the numbers on her cellphone. The judge used her right not to take a breath test. Therefore, the police confiscated her license.
Although she pleaded not guilty, the court convicted her. It sentenced her to 20 days house arrest and a year of probation.
Consequently, the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission found her guilty of judicial misconduct. It recommended a 90-day suspension and $20,000 fine. While awaiting a decision from the Florida Supreme Court, Imperrato resigned.
Before she became a judge, a court had convicted her of DUI in 1988. It suspended her license for 180 days. In addition, it required her to take a DUI course.
Judge Kathryn Nelson serves as a county judge. In 2011, police arrested her. One charge was for DUI with property damage. The other was for resisting arrest without violence.
Nelson first pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial. However, she reached a plea deal. Therefore, she pleaded no contest. As part of the deal, the court sentenced her to one year of probation. She also had to attend DUI school and do fifty hours of community service. Finally, she had to pay a $500 fine.
In spite of the DUI conviction, svoters re-elected her to another seven year term on the bench.
Judge Gisele Pollack served as a county judge in Broward County. Police arrested her for DUI in 2014 after her car crashed into another cauing personal injuries.
Pollack pleaded guilty. The court sentenced her to six months of probation and 75 hours of community service. It also fined her $500 and required her to use an electronic monitor during her probation. If she consumed alcohol, it would notify her probation officer.
Judge Pollack also appeared on the bench while intoxicated. Consequently, the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission charged her for violations of the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct.
Security cameras at the judicial parking show Judge Lynn Rosenthal arriving in her SUV. She drove her vehicle into the gate. An employee then spoke to her. Soon, the gate opened slightly. Rosenthal then backed up and hit the gait again.
After that, deputies spoke with Rosenthal and then arrested her for DUI. A court later convicted her of the lesser charge of reckless driving.
Rosenthal was facing a hearing on charges that she violated judicial ethics after her DUI. The Judicial Qualifications Commission found that she gave misleading testimony. Rosenthal then resigned.
Judge Tracy Sheehan served in the Circuit Court. Voters had elected her in 2006.
Police arrested her for DUI in 2013. Their reports showed her BAC at 0.171% and 0.161%.
Sheehan resigned unexpectedly in 2017.
Former judge Nicole Cannon served in the Magistrate Court. Her tenure began in 2011. However, she resigned the next year after police arrested her for DUI.
Although she pleaded not guilty, the breathalyzer readigs were 0.221% and 0.239%. That’s nearly three times the legal limit. Later, the judge changed her plea to guilty.
The court sentenced Cannon to the following.
- A 90-day license suspension.
- One year of probation.
- 160 hours of community service.
- 16 hours of DUI education classes.
- A fine of $1,278.50.
- Attendance at a victims impact panel.
Renae J. Hoff
Judge Renae J. Hoff served in the Third Judicial District beginning in 1990. Police arrested her in 2012 for DUI. Her BAC was 0.116%. She pleaded not guilty to the charge at her jury trial. However, the jury found her guilty.
The court sentenced Hoff to 32 hours of community service in lieu of jail. It also suspended her license, except for work or community service. In addition, the court fined her $750 plus court costs of about $200. She retired quickly thereafter.
An officer saw County Circuit Judge James Gavin drive on the shoulder briefly while trying to edge into traffic. He pulled Gavin over. The officer said Gavin smelled of alcohol and failed an eye-gaze test. He exercised his right to decline further testing. The officer then suspended Gavin’s license.
However, the court found the officer had no right to stop Gavin. Therefore, it ordered his license to be returned to him.
Circuit Court Judge Joseph Hettel crashed his vehicle into a parked car. Fortunately, there were no injuries.
Subsequently, police charged Hettel with driving under the influence. They also charged him with improper lane use and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. Finally, they charged him with using a handheld cell phone while driving. He was using his phone at the time of the crash.
Hettel pleaded guilty to DUI. The court sentenced him to two years of probation with various conditions. One is that he attend a victim-impact panel.
The Judicial Inquiry Board reprimanded Hettel for his violation of judicial standards.
Former judge Sheila McGinnis was in the Cook County Circuit Court. She was first elected in 2002.
Police arrested McGinnes for DUI in 2008 after she crashed into another vehicle at a stop light. She used her right to decline both a field sobriety and a breathalyzer test. She pleaded guilty to the charge. The court sentenced her to 18 months probation and a fine of $1,000. It could have sentenced her to a year in prison.
Voters re-elected McGinnis. She retired in 2016.
Judge Albert Purham has served on the Judicial Circuit Court since 2003.
Police arrested Purham in 2009 for DUI. His BAC was 0.121.
He pleaded guilty to the charge. The court suspended his license for six months and fined him $1,934.
Indiana Superior Judge William J. Hughes was vacationing in North Carolina. An officer there pulled him over for erratic driving. Hughes had a slight smell of alcohol and his BAC was 0.13. That’s well over the legal limit. The officer arrested him on charges of DWI and driving left of center and DWI.
The prosecutor lowered the charges to reckless driving. Hughes pleaded guilty to that charge. The court sentenced him a 12-month probation contingent upon enrollment in an alcohol/drug assessment program or counseling. The court also prohibited him from driving within eight hours of drinking alcohol. Finally, the court fined him $443.
Judge Patricia Minaldi was with the U.S. District Court and served since 2003. She retired in 2017 and died the next year.
Police arrested the judge for DUI in 2014. She pleaded guilty to the charge. The court sentenced her to one year of probation. A police dash cam video shows her arguing with police and refusing to exit her car. She insists that officers address her as “judge” and attempts to intimidate them. Not recommended for judges arrested for drunk driving.
Police stopped Probate Court Judge Amy L. Nickerson for speeding. They then arrested her on charges of driving while impaired and reckless and negligent driving.Federal
A court found her guilty on both charges. Then the state The Commission on Judicial Disabilities charged Nickerson with violating the Maryland Code of Judicial Conduct.
Federal Bankruptcy Judge Robert Somma rear-ended a vehicle on the way home from a gay bar. His wife was out of town. The arresting officer said Somma “had a difficult time locating his license in his purse.” The judge was wearing a black cocktail dress, fishnet stockings and high heels.
Somma paid $600 in fines and penalties under a plea deal. The court suspended his license for 12 months. But the court would reduce it to six months if Somma completed an alcohol awareness program.
G. Tony Atwal
It was 12:45 a.m. on New Year’s day. A police sergeant saw a car going at least 40 mph in a 30 mph zone. Also the driver didn’t make a complete stop at a stop sign.
The officer pulled the car over. It was driven by District Court Judge G. Tony Atwal. The judge’s eyes were bloodshot and glassy and his speech was slightly slurred. And his breath smelled strongly of alcohol.
Atwal admitted having two glasses of wine and a gin and tonic. An alcohol breath test registered a BAC of 0.17.
The judge pleaded guilty to DWI. He was not charged with failure to stop at the sign. The court sentenced Atwal to serve 20 days on electronic home monitoring. He had to wear an ankle bracelet to monitor his location. The court prohibited him from leaving his house except to to and from work.
Michael Vann Sovis
County District Judge Michael Vann Sovis drove into three parked on Christmas Eve. His SUV was on a nearby snowbank. No one suffered injuries.
Police said Sovis showed signs of impairment. They arrested him on suspicion of driving while impaired.
Sovis pleaded guilty to DWI.
Associate Judge James Pennoyer served in the County Circuit Court for 23 years. He resigned in 2002 shortly before the end of his sixth term. Then he resumed the private practice of law.
However, in 2009 the state Supreme Court disbarred him. It said there was probable cause to believe that Pennoyer was guilty of professional misconduct. The court did not state the nature of the alleged misconduct. However, this is common for judges arrested for drunk driving.
In 2016, Pennoyer’s vehicle struck a pole. The responding officer arrested the former judge for DWI and lack of proof of insurance.
Lawrence “Larry” Permuter
A witness called police to report a crash. A car crossed a lane of traffic and crashed into a concrete wall. The driver tried to get back on the highway but crashed again.
Police found County Judge Lawrence “Larry” Permuter across the front seat with his eyes closed.
One officer described Permuter as “threatening; angry; belligerent.” He repeatedly bragged about his skill in the martial arts and used profanities.
Permuter called a female officer “babydoll.” He later suggested that losing 30 pounds would do wonders for her body.
Permuter struggled with the field sobriety test. However, his BAC was only 0.06%. Police arrested the judge on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
A court found him guilty and sentenced him to two years of probation.
Circuit Judge Nathan Stewart was driving his SUV when it hit a utility pole that fell. His vehicle overturned, trapping both Stewart and his passenger. The judge’s passenger suffered injury and went to a hospital.
The trooper who responded to the crash said Stewart was staggering and stumbling. Stewart also found it difficult to follow simple instructions.” His speech was slurred and his breath smelled of alcohol. Finally, his eyes were bloodshot and glassy.
The trooper arrested Stewart on the charge of DWI. Stewart said head consumed one margarita before the crash. However the trooper discovered that he and his passenger had bought eight jumbo margaritas. Each jumbo has 27 ounces.
Troopers later filed a second-degree assault charge. It accused Stewart of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, resulting in injury. That’s felony punishable by three to 10 years in prison.
Stewart pleaded guilty to DWI and operating a motor vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner involving an accident. The court sentenced him to a suspended sentence of 14 days in shock jail. It also sentenced him to probation for six months.
Municipal Judge James D. Boggs was a member of the Sixth Circuit Judicial Commission. This body helps fill judgeship vacancies.
Police arrested Boggs for DWI in 2004. His BAC was 0.231%. As a result, the state suspended his license for three months.
In 2011 Boggs drove his car into a ditch. He failed a field sobriety test. Therefore, an officer arrested him on a charge of DWI. Boggs pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated.
Four years later an officer stopped Boggs for drifting into different lanes without signaling. The officer described Boggs’ driving as very careless. Another officer arrived at the scene and said Boggs had a strong odor of alcohol. His speech was very slurred and his eyes were glassy and bloodshot.
Police again charged Boggs with DWI. This time they included the charge of careless and imprudent driving. Police obtained a warrant to have his blood drawn for testing. His BAC was 0.22% and continued to drop. Thus, his BAC was even higher at the time he was driving.
Two state troopers found Municipal Court Judge Wilfredo Benitez asleep in his car. It was on the shoulder of an interstate highway. They detected the smell of alcohol and arrested him for DUI. (It may seem strange to arrest a sleeping person for driving under the influence. However, that’s legal in many states.)
However, Judge Benitez didn’t respond well to the trooper’s questions. In fact, he shouted, “I’m a f…ing judge!” and became belligerant.SP? You can watch the encounter on this video.
A court later later found him not guilty. However, that didn’t end his problems. A committee on judicial conduct found Benitez violated rules prohibiting improper conduct. He also used “the prestige of judicial office to advance the personal or economic interests of the judge or others.”
Judge Benitez continues to sit on the bench. However, the court barred him from hearing DUI cases for one year.
Robert E. Robles
Judge Robert E. Robles served on the Court of Appeals starting in 2008. In 2011, police arrested Robles for DWI.
Subsequently, the New Mexico Supreme Court suspended him without pay. Later, the court ordered him to resign. It also forbade him ever to run for judicial office in the state.
Robles will stay robeless. Perhaps that should be the fate of judges arrested for drunk driving. Unless, of course, a court finds them innocent.
Family Court Judge Deborah Walker was one of the drivers in a traffic crash. An officer said Walker smelled of alcohol had slurred speech. Nevertheless, she repeatedly denied having consumed any alcohol. However, she failed a field sobriety test. And her breath test was above the legal limit.
Police arrested her on charges of DWI and failure to keep a proper lookout.
The following week Walker retired. Thus, she avoided temporary suspension and further disciplinary proceedings.
An officer arrested Rochester (NY) City Court Judge Leticia Astacio for drunken driving. However, Judge Astacio tried to use her judgeship to avoid the arrest. That’s a serious misuse of power.
In addition, she then gave investigators differing stories about her drinking before the police arrested her. It ranged from nothing to half a bottle of wine. She then violated her parole. Also, she bought a shotgun!
Unfortunately, Astacio had a habit of making very poor decisions. For example, she heard the case of a former client instead of recusing herself. That’s because he would give a lighter sentence than another judge would.
Astacio said she would like to “run (jaywalkers) over because it’s disrespectful.” She laughed when the lawyer for a man accused of sexual misconduct said his client had “buyer’s remorse. The prosecutor was distressed with the comment. So Astacio asked “You didn’t think that was funny?” A girl of 16 resisted efforts to bring her into the courtroom. So the judge told the bailiff to “tase” or “shoot” or “punch …[her] in the face.”
Finally, the Commission on Judicial Conduct unanimously ruled that Astacio should be removed as judge. Nevertheless, she continued to receive her $187,200 salary until the Commission acted.
Family Court Magistrate Timothy Cooper crossed a center line and crashed into an approaching vehicle. His SUV was sliding on its side when it did so. The crash injured the driver of the other vehicle.
Cooper took five field sobriety tests and failed all of them. He also took a roadside alcohol breath test and failed it. However, the field breath test is inadmissible in court. The trooper arrested Cooper for driving while intoxicated and moving from a lane unsafely.
Cooper chose a bench trial. The court convicted him of driving with impaired ability and failure to keep right. It suspended his license for 90 days and fined him $300.
Police arrested New York State Supreme Court Justice James P. Dawson in 2010. They charged him with aggravated DWI. That’s because his BAC was 0.27%. That level is over three times the legal limit.
He pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of DWI.
In 2014 Dawson slid his car off the road damaging it. Police charged him with felony DWI, resisting arrest, and declining to submit to a breathalyzer. The DWI was a felony charge because it was his second within ten years.
Dawson pleaded guilty to the felony DWI charge. The court then disbarred him.
Town Judge Marc Lust hit a car knocking its bumper off. He then drove away about a block as police arrived. At that point he tried to avoid arrest by using his position.
Lust said “Come on, I’m a judge.” He added “I’ll take care of this. I’ll take care of it. We don’t have to do anything about this.” That’s improper of judges arrested for drunk driving. However, an officer said Lust had the odor of alcohol, slurred speech, and was unsteady. The judge declined to take an alcohol breath test. Therefore, police arrested him for DWI, DUI, and leaving the scene of an accident.
Lust pleaded guilty. The court sentenced him to a fine of $1,000 and seven days of public service. In addition, it revoked his license followed by a year of using an ignition interlock device in his car.
Family Court Judge Gerard Maney saw a DWI roadblock and made an illegal U-turn to avoid it. He also refused to pull over and led police on a one and 1/2-mile chase.
Maney told police he was a judge and asked for “professional courtesy.” He submitted to a breathalyzer test which registered 0.15%. The judge later said he had used mouthwash containing alcohol.
Maney pleaded guilty to driving while ability impaired. The court sentenced him to a 90-day license suspension, a $300 fine and a $260 state surcharge. It also sentenced him to attended a victim impact panel and a drunken-drivers program.
The State Commission on Judicial Conduct censured Maney. It stressed that he repeatedly mentioned that he was a judge during his arrest. The Commission said he should have been suspended without pay. However, the Commission didn’t have that option.
The vote was 8-3. The three dissenters argued that censure was too lenient. They insisted that Maney “is not fit to continue to serve as judge and should be removed from office.” Fortunately, the Commission recognized that judges arrested for drunk driving shouldn’t act that way.
New York State Supreme Court Justice William Rebolini was driving erratically. Subsequently, police pulled him over and reported that he showed signs of intoxication. He used his right to decline a breathalyzer test. Police arrested him on charges of drunken driving.
An officer responded to a call from someone about a driver who appeared to be driving while impaired. The caller gave the license plate number.
When the officer arrived the car was in a parking lot with the engine on. They He found substitute Judge David LaBarre slumped over the steering wheel.
The judge used “offensive and vulgar expletives” toward the arresting officer. LaBarre took a field breath test, but declined to do a second one.
The judge pleaded guilty. Then the court sentenced him pay court fines and fees and complete 24 hours of community service. It also required him to a year of unsupervised probation and to undergo substance abuse treatment.
LaBarre is a former County District and Superior Court judge. The North Carolina Supreme Court censured him for “offensive and denigrating behavior” toward police and emergency workers.
Peter J. Corrigan
Former police officer Judge Peter J. Corrigan was Cuyahoga County judge. Officers found Corrigan slumped over the steering wheel around 4:30 a.m. The judge failed a field sobriety test. Then officers recorded an estimated BAC of 0.152. Known for handing down harsh OVI penalties, the court found him guilty of OVI.
The court sentenced Corrigan to a fine of $500 and a three-day alcohol course. It also imposed a one-year license suspension and probation. Nevertheless, he is able to drive to and from work. In addition, the court required him to obtain an A.A. sponsor. However, this requirement is illgal because A.A. is a religious group.
Police arrested Common Pleas Judge Becky Doherty on a charge of DUI.
Doherty pleaded not guilty. But the court sentenced her to 180 days in jail and a fine of $1,075. It then reduced it to three days and $375.
Nevertheless, Doherty lost her license for one year. And the court required her to take a 72-hour Driver Intervention Program. The judge could only drive to medical appointments, the Driver Intervention Program, or if it involved work.
Police arrested County Common Pleas Court Judge James Heath two times within seven months. Both cases were for operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI). After the first arrest Heath pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of reckless operation of a motor vehicle. Thus, the court did not find him guilty of OVI.
Unfortunately, the day after police arrested him the second time, he took his life
Several motorists called 911 to describe a car that was driving erratically. Troopers found the vehicle at a gas station. The driver was Ohio Supreme Court Justice Alice Resnick. She declined a field sobriety test. Then, she ignored police orders to stay at the gas station and drove away.
Troopers quickly pulled her over. She failed a field sobriety test. Her BAC was 0.22%. A troopers dashboard camera recorded the events. Unfortunately, she tried to use her position on the Supreme Court to avoid the DUI. That’s not how judges arrested for drunk driving should act.
Nevertheless, the troopers arrested her. A court convicted her of DUI. It suspended her license for six months and required her to take a three-day alcohol education course. She escaped charges of failing to comply, resisting arrest, or fleeing from police.
Earlier, the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame had inducted her.
Jennifer L. Springer
Jennifer L. Springer
The Ohio Highway Patrol arrested Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Jennifer L. Springer. They charged her with operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI).
Springer failed to heed a stop sign at 12:46 am. After a trooper pulled her over, she failed a field sobriety test.
An officer was directing traffic when a truck hit him in the ankle and leg. Fortunately, the contact was minor. However, the truck failed to stop. Nevertheless, the officer got the license plate number.
Officers saw the truck go around traffic barricades at the next intersection. They pulled over former President Judge Thomas Kistler. He had a BAC of 0.231 and they arrested him for drunk driving.
The court sentenced Judge Kistler to an accelerated 12-month rehabilitation program. Later, Kistler’s attorney asked the court to end the program early. That’s because Kistler wants the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to appoint him as a senior judge. However, the state’s Supreme Court can’t appoint him with criminal charges pending.
Officers stopped County Judge Elizabeth Berry for driving 92 mph. The speed limit was 65 mph. There was an open container as well as several beer cans in the vehicle. One officer said he smelled alcohol on her breath.
Berry declined alcohol breath tests. Therefore, police obtained a warrant to take an involuntary blood sample. It showed a BAC of 0.09. However, an appeals court held that police did not obtain the sample properly. Thus the prosecutor couldn’t use the evidence. As a result, he dropped the charge.
Rodolfo “Rudy” Delgado
Police arrested Rudy Delgado in 1990. The charges were public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and assault. However, the court did not convict him. At that time he was a county court-at-law judge.
Voters elected Delgado to the District Court in 2001. The next year, police arrested him for DWI. In 2005, the prosecutor dropped the charges. But police charged Delgado with evading arrest and misuse of information later that year.
In early 2018, federal prosecutors indicted Delgado on bribery and violating the Travel Act. They later charged him with conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
Nevertheless, voters elected Delgado to the District Court of Appeals in November of 2018. He took the oath of office in January of 2019. However, the state suspended him later that month.
Police arrested David Glickler for driving backward on a one-way street. He declined to submit to an alcohol breath test and spent the night in jail.
Glickler pleaded guilty to reckless driving. Then he had the court remove the DWI charge from his record.
Then, in 2015, police again arrested Glickler on a charge of DWI. He was County Court at Law Judge. The judge agreed to a plea agreement. He pleaded no contest to drunken driving.
The court sentenced him to three days in jail. It gave him credit for the time served after his arrest. Therefore, he only had to serve one more day.
The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished Glickler for his actions during his second arrest for drunken driving. It found that Glickler immediately identified himself as “County Judge David Glickler” after a deputy pulled him over for speeding.
He again said “I am a judge in this county.” Glickler also handed the deputy a business card that identified him as a judge. The deputy responded, “I understand that. You keep saying that, sir. You are a judge but you are also a citizen.”
The Commission also required Glickler to complete two hours of judicial ethics instruction.
Kenneth B. Jeanes
An officer responded to a call about an SUV driving against traffic on a highway. The officer later found the SUV stopped in the center turn lane. The driver was County Judge Kenneth B. Jeanes. The judge failed a sobriety test.
Judge Jeanes pleaded guilty to DWI with alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher. The court sentenced him to 10 days in jail and ordered to pay over. $1,800 in fees. However, the court released him from jail after serving two days.
Then the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public warning to Jeanes. He should know that his actions were unacceptable for any judges arrested for drunk driving.
Court of Appeals Justice Nora Longoria was speeding when police stopped her vehicle.
The dash cam recorded that she slurred her words and admitted to drinking five beers. After she failed a field sobriety test the officer arrested her for DWI.
During the stop she repeatedly said she was a judge, cried, and begged the officer to release her. That’s no way for judges arrested for drunk driving to act.
A court dismissed the charges of DWI. She pleaded no contest to speeding. Then the State Commission on Judicial Conduct admonished her for her conduct during the stop.
Alan B. Sadler
County Judge Alan B. Sadler drove his car into the back of another that was stopped at a red light. There were no injuries.
The responding officer said Sadler strongly smelled of alcohol and was unsteady. He failed a sobriety test. A blood test found a trace of the barbiturate he earlier took. The alcohol level was borderline.
Sadler pleaded guilty to DWI. The court sentenced him to to three days in jail and suspended his driver’s license for 90 days. It also fined him $1,000 and $428 in court costs.
A police officer saw a traffic violation at 12 am and pulled the car over. The driver was County Judge David Sweet. After he failed a field sobriety test, the officer arrested him for DWI.
However, a grand jury found insufficient evidence to prosecute Sweet.
A police officer pulled over a speeding vehicle. An empty bottle of alcoholic lemonade was in the front console. The driver was State District Judge Gisela Triana.
The officer said Triana smelled of alcohol, had glassy eyes, and swayed. Triana took a field sobriety test which the officer said she failed. She declined to submit to alcohol breath or blood tests. Therefore, the officer arrested her for drunken driving. Police obtained a warrant to obtain a sample of her blood.
The prosecutor had the results of the BAC test and viewed the dash cam of her field sobriety test. He concluded that they provided insufficient evidence of DWI. Therefore, he said he would only charged her with speeding.
A police officer saw a car weaving and pulled the driver over. The officer arrested Larry Wagenbach on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
Wagenbach is a former County judge. He now serves an a substitute judge as needed,
Williams suffers from PTSD, anger management, and other problems. A woman described going on a cruise with Williams. However, the captain threw him off the ship in Mexico for assaulting other passengers.
The State Commission on Judicial Conduct suspended him for several months in 2017. That was after police arrested him for felony road rage.
Police also arrested the judge in 2018 for public intoxication and resisting arrest. He pushed a firefighter and cursed at law enforcement. The court sentenced him to abstain from alcohol and drugs and be on partial GPS house arrest. It also ordered him to have no contact with several individuals and surrender his firearms.
Police next arrested him on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and unlawfully carrying a firearm. A blood test found his BAC to be legal. However, it was a violation of the court order to abstain from alcohol. That’s clearly no way for judges arrested for drunk driving to act.
Unrelated to DWI, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct disciplined him for inappropriately touching three women and for other judicial misconduct.
Police arrested General District Court Judge Michael H. Cantrell on the charge of drunken driving. The court then removed the judge from all cases involving impaired driving
However, a district court judge acquitted Cantrell of the charge.
Municipal Court Judge John Lyman struck a parked car in a parking lot but didn’t stop. He then rear-ended another vehicle stopped at a red light on his way home. Again, he failed to stop. However, the victim called 911 and followed Lyman’s vehicle.
A witness to the first crash identified Lyman as the man behind the wheel. A trooper thought Lyman smelled of alcohol and arrested him. The charges were DUI and hit and run. At the station, troopers measured the judge’s BAC again. It was 0.135% and 0.140% on two separate breath tests.
He admitted driving under the influence. The court gave him a deferred sentence and probation for five years. As part of the sentence, the court required Lyman to get two years of alcohol treatment.
The Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct reprimanded Judge Lyman for his misconduct.
Less than three years later Lyman was driving when he suddenly veered off the road and crashed. Police arrested him again for drunk driving.
District Court Judge Terry Tanner was drinking beer and watching a basketball game in a bar. He then began driving home when he crashed into a wall.
A deputy arriving at the scene found Tanner crouching and hiding behind a group of large mailboxes. His was among the boxes about a block from from the crash.
Tanner told the arresting officer that he didn’t remember the crash. Nevertheless, he later pleaded guilty to DUI. The state suspended his driver’s license for one year. However, he can get an ignition interlock license. This requires him to have an interlock ignition system on every vehicle he owns.
The court sentenced Tanner to 15 days of house arrest on electronic monitoring. It also placed him on probation for five years. In addition, he must make at least five public appearances talking about his misconduct.
The Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct reprimanded Tanner for his DUI.
An officer pulled over Judge Eric Lundell after he hit a metal pole. The officer called in Sergeant Brad Kusmirek for backup. Both recognized the judge, who apparently recognized the sergeant. A police body cam recorded the encounter.
Lundell asked “Well, where’s the ol’ police courtesy?” He continued “You can tell I’m not bad at all. You can tell that. So, just give me one police courtesy one time in my whole career. If you want to ride with me home, fine. Come on, Brad.”
Lundell agreed to a one-leg stand field sobriety test but he failed it. Yet the officers said they wouldn’t arrest him.
The officers asked Lundell to take a breathalyzer test. They said if his BAC was low enough, he could drive himself home. But it was 0.129%. They didn’t arrest him but said he couldn’t drive home.
Lundell promised “I won’t drink and drive, OK? Thank you for your courtesy.” The officer replied “No problem. Have a good day sir.”
Hmmmm. Would police treat you that way?! Looks like Eric Lundell should have been one of those judges arrested for drunk driving.
Resources: Judges Arrested for Drunk Driving
- 14 Tips to Avoid a DUI or DWI Conviction
- Drinking and Driving Facts and Solutions
- Drunk and Drugged Driving (Similarities and Differences)
- Decker, K. The DUI Bible. Avoiding a Drunk Driving Conviction. Xlibris, 2018.
- Hudson, T. The Drinker’s Guide to Driving. The Secrets of DUI, From One of America’s Top DUI Lawyers. Cork: BookBaby, 2013.
- Keech, C., and Fairchild, C. So Dude, What are My Rights? Kansas City, MO: Keechild, 2014.
- Lauterjung, L. DUI law for Drivers. How to Avoid DUI Arrests and How to Handle a DUI Stop. Lauterjung, 2012.
- Nevels, T. Avoid DWI and Marijuana Charges. Cork: BookBaby, 2015.
Note: This page carefully attemps to provide accurate information about judges arrested for drunk driving. However, it can’t guarantee that accuracy. Please notify of any corrections.
Also, do you know of any other judges arrested for drunk driving? If so, please notify hansondj[@]potsdam[dot]edu Thanks for your help!