Retired Judge: Drunk Driving Acquittal Rate In Mass. Seems 'Awfully High'

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An investigation by the Boston Globe has found Massachusetts judges acquit a significant majority of drunk driving cases that come before them for bench trials. Those are trials in which the verdict is decided by a judge, not a jury.

Overall statewide, more than eighty percent of those drunk driving cases end with "not guilty" verdicts. The Globe has reviewed cases that ended in acquittals despite drivers crashing cars, admitting their intoxication, or failing field sobriety and breathalyzer tests.

The state's Supreme Judicial Court has launched an inquiry into the verdict pattern.

Retired Judge Isaac Borenstein, who served in the Superior Court for 16 years and Lawrence District Court for six years and is now a criminal and civil defense attorney. He joined Morning Edition to discuss the OUI acquittal rate in the Bay State.


This program aired on November 9, 2011.

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Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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