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Courts' Attitude on Drunk Driving

July 28, 1985

So Judge Dave Bach Jr. of the Fullerton Municipal Court ("Judge Orders Driver Tried for Murder in 4 Crash Deaths," July 17) thinks that a person who drives with an alcohol blood level of 0.108 and passes at high speed on a dirt shoulder on a heavily traveled street and then swerves into uncoming traffic, with the result of killing a mother and her four children and injuring others, is "a nice man."

Judge Bach also says that "most of us, judges and lawyers even, have gotten behind the wheel after drinking more than we should." I don't know how the judge came to this conclusion, but I am confident that most of us do not drive after drinking too much. In fact, responsible drivers do not drink!

In his effort to sound sympathetic, Judge Bach has shown us what is wrong with the courts today. Nice people do not kill with their cars. They do not carry their drinking problems onto the highways. Nice people do not pass at high speeds on dirt shoulders. Nice people do not leave husbands without a wife and children.

If Judge Bach really believes that "a fraction of a second and a little luck" is the "only difference between (the accused) and the rest of us," he is painfully unaware of what real driving responsibility is.

Robert Trueblood, the survivor of this tragedy, stated it correctly when he said, "If the families don't show up, the public tends to forget about them."

It looks like Judge Bach had the judgment to refer the case on the proper charges, but his remarks reinforce that the public and the courts too often forget the victims in a headlong rush to offer sympathy to the wrong party.

DON OLIVER

Irvine

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