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Originally published: 2014-04-14 14:00:58
Last modified: 2014-04-14 14:01:43

Would past influence future actions?

As a registered Democrat, I am unable to cast a vote for one of the several Republican candidates running for district attorney, but as the High Country representative of Mothers Against Drunk Driving I want to make one observation regarding Nathan Miller's DWI conviction.

I note from a story in the Watauga Democrat, Miller was convicted of driving while impaired in 2003, saying in so many words that it was a "youthful indiscretion" and that he had asked and received forgiveness from his Lord and his family. The Lord must have surely been with him while he was driving impaired, as he apparently did not harm any innocent persons while driving drunk.

While Miller's public service as a county commissioner is one thing, as district attorney he would be the chief prosecutor for the 24th Judicial District and have the ability to dismiss DWI charges against various defendants for various reasons, the most common being the lack of finding the charging officer to testify because the case is so old (three years or more).  

Would Miller think "youthful indiscretion" a good reason to dismiss charges, especially in an area where most arrests for DWI involve young people? When cases are dismissed, the offender usually believes he or she did nothing wrong. Personally, I think it is better to learn a lesson at a young age, so maybe as an adult, you will think twice before driving drunk.

Under Miller's watch, would defendants be able to claim forgiveness from their Lord -- so why would a lowly district attorney continue to press a case? How would a district court judge react?

While continuances are normally at the discretion of the presiding judge, district attorneys often grant continuances, many of which go on for years and years. Very often, defendants are arrested numerous times before their first case is even heard.

Candy Fallows WinebargerHigh Country Chapter of MADD