It should be no surprise by now that as a Birmingham DUI defense attorney I have little sympathy for elected officials, law enforcement professionals and judicial officials who do not hold themselves to the same standards that other Alabama residents are expected to meet. If there is one thing that cannot be tolerated, it is the hypocrisy of persons who hold positions of authority.
Not only does such behavior call into question the morals and commitment of our elected and appointed officials, in committing illegal acts it sends a terrible message to our young people. As always, I believe that anyone arrested for drunken driving and subsequently charged with DUI should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. However, a police officer, municipal or state judge, or elected official who is convicted should face the same punishments that are dispensed to the average citizen.
Just last month, Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan was found guilty for driving under the influence of alcohol in a Florence, AL, courtroom. However, aside from the fines and court costs, the law enforcement head was given a 90-day suspended sentence. He does however have to complete a court-referral program, according to news reports.
As I have explained in this space time and time again, a drunk driving conviction can cost a person his or her job and even end a career. Such would seem the case for Chief Logan, who now must see what happens to his future with the Tuscombia Police Department.
Based on reports, the Florence municipal judge in the case, James E. Hall II, issued the verdict following nearly three hours of testimony. One of the pieces of evidence against the police chief was a report from the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, which stated that Logan's blood-alcohol content (BAC) was more than triple the 0.08-percent legal limit for driving. The sample that showed this 0.272 percent BAC was taken approximately three hours after Logan's drunk driving arrest in December of last year.
The judge issued Logan a 90-day suspended sentence and placed him on probation for 24 months. The defendant was also hit with a $600 fine ($425 of which were court costs), and ordered Logan to complete a court-referral program and meet with a victims' impact panel.
According to the news article at the time, Logan's drunk driving defense attorney stated that his client intended to appeal the verdict within the mandatory 14 days. If an appeal is granted, the case would be transferred to Lauderdale County Circuit Court for a jury trial.
Police chief found guilty of DUI, TimesDaily.com, March 11, 2010