Mass. Court Probes Drunken Driving Acquittal Rates

The state's highest court is investigating whether judges are acquitting people accused of drunken driving at a higher rate than the national average.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court justices said in a statement Monday they've asked Jack Cinquegrana, a trial attorney with the Choate Hall & Stewart law firm, to conduct a confidential preliminary inquiry.

The justices said they appointed Cinquegrana after learning The Boston Globe was preparing a story looking at the rate of acquittals by district court judges in drunken driving cases. That story, which ran Sunday, said the judges' acquittal rate is about 30 percent higher than juries', and much higher than in other states.

The justices said they've also asked Cinquegrana to look at the acquittal rates of individual judges and to identify possible reasons for any disparities.

This program aired on October 31, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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