Thursday, March 25, 2010

Former Utah State Senator Sheldon Killpack Now Trying To Weasel His Way Out Of His DUI License Suspension On A Technicality

When Sheldon Killpack was first arrested for DUI, I was completely impressed by how quickly he assumed personal responsibility. He not only resigned as Senate Majority Leader 24 hours later, but he even resigned his seat in the Senate. He didn't quite need to go that far, but it appeared he was determined to exemplify personal accountability.

Things have changed. It is now being reported that Sheldon Killpack is trying to weasel his way out of a drivers license suspension. According to stories in the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, Killpack is challenging the 18-month driver license suspension, having filed a petition in 3rd District Court asking a judge to overturn it. He claims he is suffering irreparable damage as a result of the suspension. No court dates have been set.

O.K., nothing particularly wrong there - one has the right to appeal a penalty. But it's Killpack's reasoning that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. He's claiming that Utah Highway Patrol troopers "lacked reasonable grounds to request a chemical test."

Excuse me, Sheldon, but you blew 0.11. The standard is 0.08. You were still legally intoxicated, and now you're trying to weasel your way out of it on a technicality? Baloney! Fortunately, court challenges to license suspensions are rarely successful, according to Jeff Nigbur, a spokesman for the Driver License Division.

In a separate action, Killpack has an April 12 hearing in Salt Lake County Justice Court regarding the DUI arrest. He is charged with DUI, a class B misdemeanor, and failure to signal, a class C misdemeanor. Other penalties kick in when Killpack gets his license back in August 2011. He will be required to install an ignition interlock device on his vehicle for three years and also will be designated as an "alcohol-restricted driver" for five years. The complete circumstances behind Killpack's DUI are available HERE.

Further complicating the issue is the fact that DPS and Attorney General Mark Shurtleff's office have not released police reports and a dashcam video of the former senator's arrest, even though the Utah State Records Committee ruled last month that the public records be released.

Killpack's current actions are so totally out of character with his previous behavior that it makes me wonder if his attorney, Ed Brass, is responsible for playing the "reasonable grounds" card. While it is Brass' responsibility to provide Killpack with a competent defense, a review of the Tribune and DN comment boards indicate much of the good will Killpack previously built up is evaporating. People are tired of offenders trying to skate on technicalities.

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