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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    DUI offenders should not receive pardons

    It is human tendency to make mistakes and redeem them with an often-undeserved second chance, and any opportunity for redemption should never be taken for granted. Whether in a romantic relationship, awaiting eviction from a residence hall or dealing with a minor violation of the law, second chances are both given and received frequently. However, there comes a time when a first offense should never be pardoned.

    Driving under the influence should have no avenue for getting a second chances. Every person convicted of this crime should receive the same punishment.

    Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour granted more than 200 DUI pardons before leaving office last month. Of those, 10 were given to current inmates, four of whom were serving life sentences for murder, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Mississippi Supreme Court will hold a hearing today to discuss the futures of the formerly pardoned DUI felons after an 18-year-old woman was killed by a fourth-time offender.

    Before killing a barely legal teenager in an October highway crash, Harry Bostick was convicted of three DUI charges. He applied for the pardon of his third charge while in an intense drug-and-alcohol abuse treatment program — a consequence from a previous DUI.

    Barbour was convinced that Bostick had made a lifestyle change for the better due to his overcoming recent traumatic events. Nevertheless, his decision to pardon Bostick’s most recent offense was a fatal one.

    Just one week after the Mississippi Parole Board granted Bostick the full pardon, he drove drunk and killed Mississippi high school senior Charity Smith.

    The injustice of the Bostick pardon is disgusting. A grown man was given back the privilege of the open road when, after four major speed bumps, it should have been taken away forever.

    If one DUI is not enough to make a driver separate stoplights from shot glasses, then no one with multiple DUI charges should ever receive a pardon.

    A UA sophomore, whose name has been omitted by request, woke up behind the wheel of his crashed vehicle in an empty parking lot with a gash in his forehead the morning after his senior prom.

    “There was a woman yelling ‘Everything is going to be OK,’” he said. “I remember a police officer coming up to me, breathalizing me, then I was arrested and thrown into the back of a cop car. It was all very confusing and very fast.”

    Instead of leaving the drama of high school behind like his graduating classmates, he faced the harsh reality of a court trial, a $2,500 fine, three months of classes and a criminal record.

    “I could have killed someone,” he said. “I never will drink and drive again and I don’t let (other) people.”

    Arizona recognizes drinking and driving as a violent crime. An underage drunken driver will face a misdemeanor criminal conviction and real justice is served. Mandatory ignition interlock devices are installed in cars to reduce repeat offenses.

    Bostick’s pardon is an embarrassment to Smith and other victims. His mistake resulted in the most heartbreaking way: the death of an innocent bystander.

    Consequences should be concrete, permanent and universal for DUI offenders.

    — Caroline Nachazel is a junior studying journalism and communication. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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