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MADD pays 40K per year for “Court Monitors”

In another attempt to influence the Courts, the New Mexico chapter of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), has decided to pay $30,000 – $40,000 per year (per person)  in order to "monitor" DWI and DUI in the local courtroom, and the activities of judges and prosecutors.  Oh yeah.. they are hiring 5 full time people to perform this service.

Problem 1:
Political/lobbyist organizations using taxpayer money

I wouldn’t be quite as much against this proposition if the funds for the "monitors" was raised independently.  In my opinion, any organization can do whatever they want with their money, and pursue the goals of their organization.  But here, they received $400,000 grant from the state Traffic Safety Bureau.  Taxpayer money going to a political organization.. I see major problems with that.

Problem 2:
The court’s "biased" approach to law enforcement

"Metro Court spokeswoman Janet Blair issued a statement on July 25 saying the court has had an excellent relationship with MADD in the past. ‘We look forward to their continuing observations in our courtrooms. We will welcome any constructive recommendations that come from their study that will help reduce drunk driving in our community,’ Blair wrote.

The court should be an unbiased entity in an adversarial system.  Why would the court spokeswoman be looking forward to recommendations of a lobbying group?  I can’t imagine the court spokeswoman taking meetings with the local criminal bar association.

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The article comes from the posting on the free republic.  See below:

New Mexico MADD chapter moves offices Downtown to better monitor DWI cases
Albuquerque Tribune ^ | 7/26/07 | Christopher Sanchez

Posted on 07/28/2007 6:00:54 PM PDT by elkfersupper

The New Mexico chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving has plenty to celebrate.

The organization on July 25 held a grand opening for its new headquarters Downtown and received a $400,000 grant from the state Traffic Safety Bureau to monitor DWI cases in six counties, including Bernalillo, said Terry Huertaz, executive director of MADD New Mexico.

The organization will hire five full-time court monitors to track DWI cases at random and to gather data for an annual report, Huertaz said.

"We’re hoping our presence in the court will be a positive thing. We’re not there to find something corrupt, but if that does happen, we will expose it to the public," she said. "We don’t want to be an organization throwing rocks at the system – we want to be part of the solution."

The report doesn’t have to be negative, she said.

"We might see something really awesome going on in a particular county that a district attorney, a police officer or a judge has figured out," Huertaz said, "and we should share that information with everyone."

The court monitors will track 200 to 400 cases annually in each county – Bernalillo, Santa Fe, San Juan, Rio Arriba, McKinley and Doña Ana. They were chosen because they have the highest numbers of alcohol-related arrests, crashes, deaths and injuries, Huertaz said.

The organization received the grant a week before moving into its new headquarters at 1100 Fourth St. N.W., she said.

MADD moved Downtown because it is closer to the courts, the District Attorney’s Office and the Albuquerque Police Department, she said.

"We strategically moved here so we can be near all our partners," Huertaz said.

The court monitors will be paid between $30,000 and $40,000 per year, she said.

Metro Court spokeswoman Janet Blair issued a statement on July 25 saying the court has had an excellent relationship with MADD in the past.

"We look forward to their continuing observations in our courtrooms. We will welcome any constructive recommendations that come from their study that will help reduce drunk driving in our community," Blair wrote.

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