Opinion

Dangers of ‘restorative justice’

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To the Editor;
Thirty years ago I was assistant District Attorney responsible for Piscataquis County. At that time, we had a process known as “filing” a case. This meant a case was postponed for a period of time on a promise of good behavior. It worked well with petty crimes, but we never “filed” an operating under the influence (OUI) charge. It would have been wrong then and it is now.

For low-level OUIs it is now called “restorative justice,” but it really just gives a pass to someone who was only a little drunk — i.e. a low test.

The net effect of such a promise is to minimize the impact of drunk driving.

For years, organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving have tried to emphasize the dangers and costs of an OUI to both the individual and society, but this newer touchy-feely approach to OUIs is weak and naive.

I fear District Attorney Natasha Irving of Waldo, Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc Counties will learn that shortly, if and when a “restorative justice” defendant kills someone.

James R. Austin
Judge of Probate
Dover-Foxcroft

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