After being pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI), people will go to great lengths to avoid going to jail. After all, drunk driving charges carry stiff penalties, especially here in Washington State. Recently a Washington judge was faced with the full extent of DUI penalties. While a man in New York went so far as to attempt to destroy evidence of his Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Both ended up biting off more than they could chew.
On October 3rd, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct censured Granger's part-time judge Kathleen E. Hitchcock. Judge Hitchcock was pulled over for drunk driving in July of last year, on I-82 near Zillah. After being pulled over, Hitchcock tried to use her official position as judge to unlawfully influence the police officer.
During the arrest, Hitchcock reportedly created the appearance that she was trying to gain favorable treatment by repeatedly telling the state trooper that she was a judge. In fact, the judge was on her way to the Granger courtroom at about 8 a.m. when she was pulled over, while she remained evasive in answering questions about her alcohol consumption. As a municipal court judge, Hitchcock would routinely preside over DUI cases. Judge Hitchcock is presumably familiar with the laws and penalties regarding driving under the influence.
After the arrest, Sunnyside terminated Hitchcock from her position as city prosecutor, although she remained in her part-time judicial position. She eventually pleaded guilty to the DUI charge, sentenced to 15 days of home monitoring, was assessed a $1,000 fine and probation for five years during which she cannot possess or consume alcohol.
Under the terms of Hitchcock's censure by the Judicial Conduct Commission, she will also have to attend a 10-hour judicial ethics course, study the Washington State Code of Judicial Conduct, attend a drug and alcohol evaluation, and possibly seek drug and alcohol treatment. Although they have the authority, as of now there is no indication that the commission will recommend suspension or removal of Judge Hitchcock.
Meanwhile, a man in New York appeared to be far less subtle in trying to avoid a DUI charge. On November 2nd at about 5:30 a.m., a car was seen speeding on Interstate 95 near Port Chester. The 40-year-old driver, Kenneth Desormes from Greenwich, Connecticut was pulled over by New York State Police. After speaking with the man, the police determined that the driver was under the influence of alcohol. The officer placed the man under arrest and took him to the Tarrytown police station. The officer then had the driver blow into the breathalyzer machine at the station. But as the breath results were printing out of the machine, Desormes grabbed the paper, and attempted to eat the printout.
Police reported Desormes' blood alcohol level was 0.13 percent, above the state legal limit of 0.08 percent. Now the driver faces not only the initial DUI charges, but in addition he will be charged with second-degree obstructing governmental administration, and third-degree criminal tampering.