64.9 F
Rye
Tuesday, June 18, 2024
HomeGovernmentHolding Court: Why Does the Westchester DA Discriminate Against You?

Holding Court: Why Does the Westchester DA Discriminate Against You?

(PHOTO: Rye City Court Judge Joe Latwin in his office on Monday, December 5, 2022.)
(PHOTO: Former Rye City Court Judge Joe Latwin in his old Rye City Court office on Monday, December 5, 2022.)

Holding Court is a series by retired Rye City Court Judge Joe Latwin. Latwin retired from the court in December 2022 after thirteen years of service to the City.

What topics do you want addressed by Judge Latwin? Tell us.

By Joe Latwin

Why does the Westchester DA discriminate against you?

Drunk driving is a serious problem. Right now, DWI cases make up the vast majority of cases on Rye’s criminal docket. Despite this, the Westchester DA has adopted programs that benefit out of state drunk drivers and illegal aliens but do not offer those benefits to New York drivers.

There is a growing trend of offering non-DWI dispositions to illegal aliens charged with DWI. Illegal aliens charged with DWI are exposed to deportation and exclusion from the U.S. if convicted of DWI, as DWI is considered a crime of moral turpitude under federal immigration law. A few years back, New York’s highest court ruled that deportation and exclusion were severe penalties entitling an illegal alien the right to a jury trial. New York citizens charged with DWI may not get the right to a jury trial for some misdemeanors even though they may be subject to severe consequences from a DWI conviction. For instance, a doctor may lose his/her license to practice medicine, a lawyer may be disbarred. Those loss of livelihood consequences are certainly severe. More and more attorneys representing illegal aliens, are asking the DA to accept pleas to violations, such as disorderly conduct, instead of DWI and the DA has agreed to reduce the charges in a number of cases. This is so despite the law prohibiting reduction of DWI charges in most circumstances. The judges in Rye City Court have been reluctant to agree to allowing reduction of DWI charges to allow pleas to violations. Among the consequences of a non-DWI conviction is that a second DWI in ten years would become a felony charge. If there is no first DWI conviction, there can’t be a second DWI conviction. It is only a matter of time until lawyers for citizens start claiming that they too should be allowed to have DWIs reduced to disorderly conduct or else allege discrimination on the basis of national origin.

Many drivers arrested in Rye for DWI are Connecticut license holders. Since Connecticut does not do probation for DWI cases, it makes no sense to have CT drivers sentenced to probation for DWI convictions. Instead, CT drivers are permitted to receive a conditional discharge as a sentence. Most NY drivers are not afforded the opportunity for a conditional discharge. Again, it is only a matter of time until lawyers for NY license holders charged with DWI start claiming that they too should be allowed to have offers of conditional discharge sentences or else allege discrimination on the basis of equal protection of the law.

Nobody is suggesting going easy of DWI cases. However, we should all be subject to the same rules and offered the same dispositions depending on the facts of the case, and not the identity of the driver.  No one should get benefits not offered to others similarly situated.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here