Elementary My Dear Watson!

Posted February 3rd, 2012 by Leah R with No Comments
For some time now California has had a warning given by a judge when an individual enters a plea to a DUI.  This warning is called a “Watson Warning” and acts to retrieve an admission from an individual pleaing to a DUI that there are dangers inherent in the act of driving under the influence.  An individual after hearing the warning either makes an open court admission or signs an admission as to this knowledge.  The purpose of this Watson Warning is so the State may use this admission against the Defendant should the Defendant be charged down the road with a DUI involving death.  By using this admission against the Defendant, the State could now charge the Defendant with murder, rather than Manslaughter by showing the individual acted with implied malice and impose significantly harsher penalties.
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Florida does not currently have such a warning and the harshest charge an individual can receive if they kill someone through drunk driving would be 15 years in the finest suite at the Department of Corrections resort and spa.  If a Watson Warning is adopted (and bet that it’s coming…  SOON) that same individual could now get a lifetime pass to that same DOC suite.
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I’ve linked to the tragic case in Mississippi where Harry Bostick, who had 3 DUIs in one year applied for and received a pardon from former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour.  Bostick was in fact recommended for pardon and just seven days after the recommendation Bostick slammed into the side of 18 year old Charity Smith’s car, killing her.  Bostick was again driving under the influence.  While Bostick was sitting in a jail cell awaiting to be charged for his most recent drunken foolishness, Governor Haley Barbour threw him a softball and pardoned him without doing his due diligence and performing an up to date check on Bostick’s record.  Guess who then got out of jail?  If you guessed the leprechaun Harry Bostick, you’re correct.  A lack of diligence by the Governor and the Mississippi parole board again allowed a guilty man to go free.
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Bostick’s case is an example of where an individual would be given a Watson Warning after each DUI he was charged with and subsequently pled to.  His case is unique in that he was improperly pardoned thereby making moot any Watson Warning he would have received.  However, had “Governor Pardon Me” not screwed this up, a Watson Warning would subject Bostick to a murder charge and thereby hopefully get some form of closure for Mrs. Smith and in turn put a menace to society where he belongs.
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This case is rare.  More often than not DUIs are bad and victimless events that result from temporary irresponsibility of a good person.  If you’ve been charged with a DUI in the Tampa Bay area, the Clearwater DUI lawyers at The Mayberry Law Firm are ready to help.  Call us immediately at 727-771-3847 as time is of the essence.

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