Stalled DUI appeals in Harrison County, Mississippi, allow drivers to keep driving.
According to the SunHerald.com, drivers who appeal a DUI in Harrison County Court in Mississippi often drive for years without losing their licenses while their cases sit in limbo.
Reports show 163 appeals from city court and justice court cases remained unresolved as of January.
One has lingered as long as 12 years.
The issue of delays came up after Alan Weatherford began attending DUI hearings and requesting copies of court records. The former Gulfport police chief became an advocate for sober driving after his daughter was killed by a drunken driver.
The documents show dozens of cases with little or no court action. Some have been set for trial several times. Some appear to have a resolution, but attorneys have not prepared the final order for a judge’s signature.
“I can’t fault the judges,” Weatherford said. “The judges are fair. They have court administrators, but they have no law clerks. They depend on attorneys to prepare their orders.”
Court administrators, who handle non-judicial tasks, are expected to expedite the disposition of all cases. They have reports that show how long appeals are running, but many delays appear to be beyond their control, Weatherford said.
He suspects defense attorneys are delaying cases to keep their clients driving. Meanwhile, he said, drivers prone to drive impaired jeopardize the public’s safety.
Drivers who appeal a DUI conviction or plead no contest before appeal don’t lose their license unless they lose their appeal.
“The cases are not being tried in a timely manner,” Weatherford said. “The system is not working as it should and it is not fair.”
For the full story, see: http://www.sunherald.com/2014/03/29/5455839/stalled-dui-appeals-in-harrison.html#storylink=cpy