As a Birmingham drunk driving defense lawyer, I stand in front of judges and prosecutors on a regular basis defending my clients against DUI charges. Because I defend individuals accused of driving while intoxicated, I believe that representatives our law enforcement agencies, as well as the judiciary, should be held to the same standards as the rest of Alabama's citizenry. A recent story about a DeKalb County assistant district attorney who was charged with an alcohol-related offense emphasizes my point.
According to police reports, assistant DA Julie Baker McCormick was the passenger in a car being driven by her husband, Toby McCormick, during the evening of August 21. The couple's vehicle was pulled over by police officers as part of a driver's license checkpoint around 11pm that evening on County Road 51.
News reports state that McCormick's husband was allegedly drunk at the wheel, and that the 33-year-old DeKalb County prosecutor was in possession of an alcoholic beverage. As a result, Alabama State Troopers at a traffic roadblock arrested the pair and took them into custody. Ms. McCormick was charged with unlawful possession of a prohibited beverage, while her husband received a DUI.
The McCormicks were transported to the DeKalb County jail for processing, and subsequently released early Saturday morning on $1,500 bond each.
At this point, I must say that any judge, prosecutor or patrolman who doesn't observe the same standards that he or she expects the rest of us to live up to does not deserve our respect. Apparently, McCormick's office believes this to be the case as well, as there doesn't appear to be any special treatment in the offing.
According the news article, District Attorney Mike O'Dell said he will let McCormick be treated as any other suspect. “Like any other person, Mrs. McCormick will go through the system. I will step back and let the system run its course,” O'Dell is quoted as saying.
“I will be sitting down and talking to Mrs. McCormick at the conclusion of this case to determine if any discipline or sanctions take place. It is unfortunate she found herself in this situation. She is a hard worker and a great young lady and has always done a good job in this office. I would expect that to continue despite these circumstances.”
Assistant DA receives alcohol charge, Times-Journal.com, August 24, 2009