January 15, 2007

Atkins case reaches Reason magazine

Titled "MADD at Drunk Drivers, but Not Influential Ones," Reason's Radley Balko goes after MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) for its stand on the John Atkins "case":

A few months ago, Delaware state Rep. John C. Atkins was pulled over in Ocean City Maryland under suspicion of drunken driving. Immediately after getting pulled over, he flahsed his Delaware Legislature ID, after which the officer assured him that he wouldn't be arrested. Problem is, Atkins took a roadside breath test which came back at .14, well over the legal limit.

Atkins wasn't arrested. His car wasn't impounded. He wasn't even fined. Instead, he was allowed to call a friend, who came to pick him up and take him home. Atkins was arrested hours later after a domestic dispute with his wife. He pled guilty to one count of "offensive touching."

All of that is bad enough. Stranger still is the fact that, months later, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has put out a press release expressing their full support for the Ocean City Police Department in declining to arrest Rep. Atkins. MADD says it entered the debate to express its full support for the arresting officer, who apparently has pleased the group by making hundreds of drunk driving arrests over the years (no word on how many of them were politicians).

Even worse, it appears that details of Atkins' traffic stop were kept secret until after last November's election. This article, dated October 29th, explains how Atkins went on a local radio talk show to explain the 911 call and arrest for the domestic dispute. Atkins apparently assured the listeners that "no alcohol" was involved in the altercation with his wife.

I wonder how many other people who blow .14 in a roadside breath test, go home and "offensively touch" their wives, then publicly lie about it get such staunch public support from MADD?

I also wonder if it has anything to do with Atkins' seat on the Delaware legislature's public safety committee, or his past votes on MADD-favored DWI issues.

As for Atkins, after public pressure, he has finally asked the legislature's ethics committee to look into his actions on the night of the 29th.

My emphasis. All good questions, Radley. Hopefully we'll get some answers from the House Ethics Committee. Meanwhile, Jud Bennett, who frequently writes a guest post over at First State Politics, has written a guest post today at the WGMD blog blasting the coverage of the Atkins situation.

Posted by Hube at January 15, 2007 09:48 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

it's great that the blogs are keeping this on the front page. The fact this guy almost got away with it is disgusting.

People don't seem to understand that .14 is pretty freaking wasted. and his wife at double was crocked too.....

Posted by: donviti at January 15, 2007 04:38 PM

"As for Atkins, after public pressure, he has finally asked the legislature's ethics committee to look into his actions on the night of the 29th."

He asked for the inquiry on the first week of sessions. It's not as though he was showing up to work in a disguise...

Posted by: RickJ at January 15, 2007 10:13 PM

the coming double digit tax hike in New Castle County is ignored by the local blogosphere while Atkins' traffic stop racks up post after post and comment after comment.

reminds me of a saying about people who talk about people vs people who discuss ideas...

Posted by: steamboat willy at January 16, 2007 01:05 AM

Reminds me of the feminist outrage at Clinton taking advantage of a young , dumb, female employee. Oh that's right, there was no outrage.

Posted by: AJ Lynch at January 16, 2007 11:08 AM

And RickJ:

Since when is it sufficient for the perp to ask for an investigation??

Give me a break- next time cops appear at your door with a warrant, will you scream "foul" because you had not requested the investigation.

Posted by: AJ Lynch at January 16, 2007 11:12 AM

My point, AJ, is that the article stated that he "finally asked the legislature's ethics committee to look into his actions on the night of the 29th." He asked very early in the legislative session for the inquiry. It's not as though he tacked on his inquiry to an end-of-session omnibus spending bill.

Posted by: RickJ at January 16, 2007 02:38 PM