Archive for December, 2010

Tennessee District Attorney General – Description of Duties

The citizens of Tennessee often become upset at their District Attorney General for either prosecuting a case they don’t believe should be prosecuted or for not prosecuting a case they believe should be prosecuted.  With that in mind, here is a quote from an opinion rendered by the Tennessee Supreme Court describing the duties of the District Attorney General (then called the Solicitor-General).  I hope this enlightens the readers of this blog.

The District Attorney General

… “He is to judge between the people and the government; he is to be the safeguard of the one and the advocate for the rights of the other; he ought not to suffer the innocent to be oppressed or vexatiously harassed; any more than those who deserve prosecution to escape; he is to pursue guilt; he is to protect innocence; he is to judge the circumstances, and, according to their true complexion, to combine the public welfare and the safety of the citizens, preserving both, and not impairing either; he is to decline the use of both individual passions and individual malevolence, when he can not use them for the advantage of the public; he is to lay hold of them where public justice, in sound discretions, requires it.” …

Catherine Fout v. State of Tennessee, 4 Tenn. 98 (1816)

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In an Average Year 30 Million Americans Drive Drunk – 10 Million Drive Impaired by Illicit Drugs

On Dec. 9 2010, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the US government (SAMHSA) indicated that on average 13.2 percent of all persons 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol and 4.3 percent of this age group drove under the influence of illicit drugs in the past year. 

This self reporting survey reported dramatic differences among age groups.  Younger drivers aged 16 to 25 had a much higher rate of drunk driving than those aged 26 or older (19.5 percent versus 11.8 percent). 

Similarly, people aged 16 to 25 had a much higher rate of driving under the influence of illicit drugs than those aged 26 or older (11.4 percent versus 2.8 percent).

The good news reported in the survey is that there has been a reduction in the rate of drunk and drugged driving in the past few years.  When compared to the survey data from 2002 through 2005, the data gathered from 2006 to 2009 indicate that the average yearly rate of drunk driving has declined from 14.6 percent to 13.2 percent, while the average yearly rate of drugged driving has decreased from 4.8 percent to 4.3 percent.  This National Survey on Drug Use and Health involved responses from more than 423,000 respondents aged 16 or over.

A copy of the entire government report is accessible at: http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k10/205/DruggedDriving.cfm.

For the latest information about the public health risks of alcohol misuse one can go to http://www.stopalcoholabuse.gov/ . This site provides updated information about the risks, such as drunk driving, as well as new and effective prevention strategies and activities. 

In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a Web site at http://www.stopimpaireddriving.org/ that provides detailed information about the dangers of drunk and drugged driving and what can be done to help combat the problem.

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