Senator Greg Barkus pleads to Charges Rehbergs boat chauffer
Posted by BLT (+82) 11 years ago
He was drunk driving a boat where several people were seriously injured. He pleads no contest and will pay a fine. Read the full sentence on the Billings gazette website. No real penalty jail time or even license suspension.

Wonder if I would get this sentence, helps who you are and who you know, lady justice has her eyes wide open.

Bob

[This message has been edited by BLT (11/11/2010)]
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Posted by Dave Golterman (+244) 11 years ago
How could he get his license suspended? Does Montana require a license to operate a personal boat?

He did get off pretty easily, but in Montana when there isn't a death, the penalties for operating any sort of motor vehicle while drunk tend to be fairly light. I think he was penalized as harshly as the average person. Maybe more so, because his case received more publicity than the average DUI.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11823) 11 years ago
He has been arrested twice before for DWI and got off with a similar plea deal. He won't get a real sentence until he kills someone driving drunk. Which, sadly, I suspect will happen one of these days.
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Posted by Jeff Denton (+753) 11 years ago
My fellow citizens of Flathead County are outraged over this. It's been a hot topic for quite some time. It isn't over yet.
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Posted by Dona Stebbins (+821) 11 years ago
The judge still has to rule on this. Let's hope he kicks it back and stronger penalties apply. Unbelievable that this clown could just walk away with a slap on the wrist!
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Posted by Bob L. (+5096) 11 years ago
I find it very believable, actually.

Sad, but very believable.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11823) 11 years ago
C'mon. He's a state senator. A good Republican family man. Of course he should get off lightly! He is better than the common sort of people and deserves special treatment.
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Posted by Lorin Dixson (+598) 11 years ago
I think he was penalized as harshly as the average person. Maybe more so.

I see quite few similar comments in the Gazette. Someone must be able to cite a case where someone not a politician, or someone well connected. Received approximately the same sentence as this. Whose blood-alcohol content was twice the legal driving limit - 0.16 percent. Injured four people.
And got three years unsupervised probation. A $4,000 fine completes the three-year deferred sentence without any legal violations, the felony conviction would be expunged from his record.
and the prosecutor would not object to ending the sentence after half of the term is served. Also, if as Amorette says this is the third time he has been charged.

[This message has been edited by Lorin Dixson (11/12/2010)]
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6167) 11 years ago
As a criminal prosecutor in the early 90s, I dealt with almost all the Lewis and Clark county DUIs and I can say unequivocally that there's no way a regular person with a third DUI would have gotten the deal he did.
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Posted by Lorin Dixson (+598) 11 years ago
Wendy would your office of gave Barkus or someone as well connected such a pass?
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6167) 11 years ago
I won't answer that until you rewrite it in decent English.
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17503) 11 years ago
BWAHAHAHAAAA!
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Posted by Kelly (+2718) 11 years ago
decent English


Is that a new font?
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+14997) 11 years ago
Apparently, decent English is a white wine.
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Posted by Bill Freese (+481) 11 years ago
There are penalties for driving drunk, and for saying "of gave" when you mean "have given". You commit the crime. You serve the time.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3714) 11 years ago
How many people are there in Miles City with 2+ DUI's? How many of them have done any jail time?

Montana has some of the weakest drunk driving penalties in the country. On top of that, it's lightly enforced in Miles City. If you've ever been in a MC bar at closing time you know that at least half the people in there drive home drunk and it's pretty rare that they get picked up.

Montana can get away with going easy on drunk drivers because it's a rural state and you can drive drunk without being as likely to cause an accident just because there's a lot less people to run into. That doesn't necessarily mean it's the right thing to do though.
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Posted by Tucker Bolton (+3686) 11 years ago
Bravo Levi. There is at least a story a week in the Gazette regarding someone indited for their fifth, or sixth DUI and still have not served time.

We are too light on repeat offenders.
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Posted by Jeff Denton (+753) 11 years ago
An employee of mine got his fourth a few years ago. I figured he was toast, so did he. Believe it or not, an attorney did some checking and discovered that because of shabby record keeping, the first three "never happened" and my employee ended up paying the penalty as if it were #1.
I don't think we are light on DUIs, it's just that our legal system overall is pretty much incompetent, perhaps overworked and understaffed. And in the case of Mr. Barkus, it is generally corrupt, but we allow it and vote in more of it every time.
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Posted by Brandon Loomis (+98) 11 years ago
Kind of reminds me of South Dakota Senator William Janklow who killed a motorcyclist while running a stop sign at 100+ MPH. He got 100 days in jail and 3 years probation.

Levi your absolutely right Montana is notoriously lenient when it comes to DUI. This years legislation is looking at revamping DUI laws to include aggravated DUI for very high BAC and also making BAC refusal penalties stiffer and making them obtainable by warrant if need be. We are way behind and there just now trying to make up for lost time. It's unfortunate that this legislation is only now being pushed for and alot of it has to do with the deaths of the the State Troopers in the Kallispell area. There wives have done an excellent job in raising awareness.

As for Miles City DUI's the board in front of the dispatch center states 104 DUI arrests and counting. The old excuse that we live in a rural area and most drunk drivers drive late at night doesn't really hold up anymore. I know for a fact that many a Miles City resident has woke up to find there vehicle or property damaged with nobody around to witness it so the driver flees, those are statistics no one sees as a DUI related accident. Yet one could probably make a pretty good guess that such an accident at 3:00 a.m. on a weekend has a pretty high percentage that alcohol is involved. Things will only get better if people will voice there opinion before there affected by a DUI driver. Most people don't realize it but you already are affected greatly by DUI drivers through increased insurance costs, damage to public structure, and litigation. A good percentage of people arrested for DUI plead not guilty and seek legal council at no cost to them at a cost to you. There really is no excuse to drive drunk there is always an alternative and if the alternatives aren't available don't become intoxicated.
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