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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mailbag: Feb. 13

    In response to a Feb. 9 column titled “DUI offenders should not receive pardons”:

    Caroline Nachazel’s Feb. 9 column about punishing DUIs was dangerously naive. Even if sober minds can agree that drinking and driving can imperil lives and is not encouraged, it is unjust to argue that everyone convicted of driving under the influence deserves the same “concrete” and “permanent” punishment. Ms. Nachazel made special light of Harry Bostick, who killed a second person while driving under the influence after being pardoned by the governor. Under Ms. Nachazel’s reasoning, it is fair and proper to inflict the same punishment Mr. Bostick should have received — life in prison, perhaps without parole — to one who was driving with a blood-alcohol content of .000. Indeed, under Arizona law, DUI convictions can result even if one is intoxicated to the slightest degree, a standard that can be satisfied by mere prescription medication in the absence of alcohol. It is sad enough that, in this state, all individuals convicted of DUI — regardless of how they became “under the influence” — already must deal with the same litany of fines and the same collateral consequences of having a criminal record (including, if the conviction was a felony, losing the right to vote and the right to bear arms).

    An outrageous case like Harry Bostick’s is rare; otherwise, it would not make the pages of a major metropolitan newspaper. As a society, we should be careful not to let our emotions overcome reason and principles of fairness. If people must be judged, judge them for what they did and who they are, not whom they resemble to some arbitrary degree. Punishment — I prefer “rehabilitation” — should be tailored to the individual, not applied blindly to a class of highly disparate actors.

    — Tom Knauer,
    UA alumnus and former Daily Wildcat writer

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