Nov. 2, 2012

Change urged for drunken driving cases

Judges in some Massachusetts courts acquit nearly all of the drunk driving defendants who waive their right to a jury trial.

Part 1

For drunk drivers, a habit of judicial leniency

When state judges hear OUI cases without a jury, they acquit the vast majority of defendants, no matter how blatant the alleged offense. It is one more way Massachusetts stands out nationally — for all the wrong reasons — on this crime.

Part 2

// A judicial haven for accused drunk drivers

Plymouth County’s courts may be the most lenient in OUI trials. Judges hear most cases without a jury and acquit just about everyone, leaving police and victims appalled.

Part 3

Court mismatch makes OUI justice elusive

Lawyers who specialize in defending drunk drivers enjoy huge legal advantages built into state law, and have the ear of some judges prone to favor their arguments, no matter how far-fetched.

Video | The Back Story

Photo gallery

From checkpoints to trial

Scenes from State Police checkpoints and some of the judges involved in the report.

audio transcript

Getting to not guilty

How a driver who said he was drunk was found not guilty.