Keena Ware, a multiple DUI offender, admitted she was on her third beer the night of March 28, 2010, with three young kids in the car, all younger than 9. Richmond County deputies found the beer she was then working on in her SUV.
But astoundingly, the District Attorney’s office chose not to subpoena the officer who made the traffic stop, and she escaped court Nov. 8 with but a $250 fine for having an open container – and no DUI conviction.
It would have been her fourth, according to court records.
Ware registered a .237 blood alcohol level on a field test inadmissible in court – nearly three times the legal limit – but refused to take any admissible tests, making the detaining officer’s testimony all the more valuable, and his absence at trial more damaging.
Still, knowledgeable sources we talked to said Judge Michael Annis probably had enough evidence to convict. Indeed, even in acquitting her of DUI, Annis made this bizarre statement: that there was no question Ware was driving drunk that night. No question? Where does that fall on the “reasonable doubt” scale? Wouldn’t you think “no question” exceeds reasonable doubt?
This was an absolute, shocking failure on the part of the justice system. A woman with three prior DUI convictions is caught red-handed – and admits it – yet, the system can’t convict her of it? We’re all lucky no one was hurt in March 2010 – but the system did absolutely nothing to prevent it from happening in the future.
Nor has the system done this young woman any favors by letting her, as Judge Annis put it, “dodge the bullet.”
Perhaps a fourth conviction, this time a felony, might have been – well, sobering.