Thursday, September 29, 2005

Georgia Constitution And DUI

Apparently, in the old days, Georgia lesislators would have to travel to Atlanta for the legislative session. In the days of the horse drawn buggy and no interstates, this could be a dangerous journey. For example, if you went through the town of a political enemy, you might find yourself arrested for not picking up your horse poo and put in jail until the legislative session ended.

As a response, the Georgia Constitution, Art. III, Sect. IV, Para. IX, states as follows:
Privilege of members. The members of both houses shall be free from arrest during sessions of the General Assembly, or committee meetings thereof, and in going thereto or returning therefrom, except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace.

In a most humorous application of this obscure, old provision, Representative David Graves (R- Macon) attempted to apply the provision to his DUI arrest.
A state lawmaker cannot wiggle out of a drunken driving charge by claiming his drinking had been part of an official legislative function, a Cobb County judge ruled this morning. Rep. David Graves (R-Macon) tried to use an obscure provision in the state constitution to argue that he should not have been arrested for DUI in February, during the 2005 session of the Georgia General Assembly.

His attorney, a well known DUI defense attorney in Georgia, argued on the following facts:

But at a hearing this morning, Cobb State Court Judge Irma B. Glover denied Graves' request to use his legislative immunity defense. Well-known DUI attorney, William C. "Bubba" Head, who is representing Graves on this — and another DUI from 2004 — immediately filed a motion to appeal Glover's ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Graves — chairman of the House committee overseeing laws governing the alcohol industry — has said that on Feb. 15, he and other committee chairmen went from the Capitol to a dinner meeting, where they conferred about the status of legislation and plans for the next legislative day. His lawyer argued that Graves should have been granted immunity from arrest because he was leaving a gathering that was tantamount to a committee meeting, according to legal filings.

Thus far, it hasn't worked. The appeal to the Supreme Court will be interesting. I doubt, however, than this novel argument will work. But he is involved in regulating alcohol. I could see how every drink he has is on the job.

ASIDE: Note that Mr. Graves party affiliation was identified early in the article. Remember my theory of political scandals.


At 7:56 AM, Blogger spd rdr said...

Well, you've got to hand to ol' Bubba Head for coming up with a novel defense that let's his client keep driving until he can find his next job.


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