AA (Texas Style): Judge Sentences Drunk Driver To Life Imprisonment

We have seen some cases raising questions over the leniency shown repeat drunk drivers. However, one Texas judge has now gone to the other far extreme and sentenced Bobby Stovall, 54, to life in prison for his ninth DUI.

Stovall is no angel. He has an extensive rap sheet with non-drunk driving offenses. However, he was sentenced as a repeat drunk driver — which raises concerns in a case involving a demonstrated addiction.

Stovall hit another vehicle with his truck after weaving through several lanes of traffic. He was found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .32, four times the legal limit in Texas.

Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley stressed that it was important to put away Stovall “before he kills someone we decided to put him away.” That is certainly true, but that logic taken to this extreme could apply to a host of alcoholics who have not addressed their addictions.

Source: ABC

20 thoughts on “AA (Texas Style): Judge Sentences Drunk Driver To Life Imprisonment”

  1. Its infuriating how many drivers think they can handle the distraction of using a cell phone while driving. I can’t believe it when people assume they can safely drive a car while drunk or on a phone. A Dallas attorney, Amy Witherite, researched and posted an article on her website which reveals that even some repeat DWI offenders are getting merely a probationary period. And we wonder why drunk drivers are such an issue?? There are many programs out there that educate drivers on precautions that should be taken, dangers to be prepared for, and training to be better equipped. Its always great seeing people behaving responsibly and preparing themselves and others to face the necessary dangers of driving. Driving while impaired isn’t worth the risk of injury or death to one’s self or another.

  2. Yes, we would all benefit from shifting away from a non-results-oriented police/military approach to substance problems, and towards a treatment and harm-reduction approach. (Well, I guess a lot of prison guards and for-profit prisons wouldn’t benefit from that, but the rest of us would.)

    Also, we need have some degree of consistency in sentencing for our justice system to work well and to be perceived as trustworthy.

    Nonetheless, we are way too lenient on drunk driving. Alcoholics aren’t drunk all the time. If you have a drinking problem it is certainly tragic, but alcoholics should be held at least a little responsible to adapt their lives so that they aren’t getting behind the wheel of a car.

    A second offense should always mean loosing a license and doing some jail time, even if it’s nights and weekends. By the time you’re onto a fourth or fifth conviction, the actual time served should be measured in months and/or years. I’d much prefer that non-violent drug offenders be released to make room for multiple drunk-driving offenders.

    Let’s use the “disease” understanding for the “urinating in public” and “mouthing off to the arresting officer” charges. Let’s face it, there are some disease states that mean that the sufferer SHOULD NOT OPERATE A MOTOR VEHICLE. Uncontrolled narcolepsy would be a great example. Alcoholism should also be on that list.

    Of course, here in Chicago, we’ve had a few problems with (apparently) drunk driving cops killing people and not being breathalyzed for hours after the incident, or a bartender who was videotaped serving the (off duty) officer liquid in shot glasses later claiming that he was serving water in those glasses… But that’s a whole different can of worms.

  3. DallysDad,

    With 9 convictions, I’m positive that he was given a chance to rehabilitate. He either refused or was unable to do so.

  4. Would it not be in the benefit of society to TRY to rehabilitate addicts instead of spending the money to lock them away? I would guess the benefit in the long run of rehabilitation would be far more cost effective than repeat jail sentences. Reason tells me that spending the time and money to help addicts would be more helpful than locking someone up and then releasing them with the stigma of “prison” following. I would much rather have to tell someone I am a “recovering addict” than “I’ve done my time” while I was trying to do things like get a job. Oh wait, I used the “R” word. Sorry reason still creeps into my head from time to time.

  5. 9 DUIs.

    This says it all. The message hasn’t gotten through to Bobby Stovall.

    This means Bobby boy is averaging a DUI *conviction* every 5 years. Repeat offender to the extreme. A car is a weapon. Someone should not have to pay with their life so Bobby can get a chance at his 10th DUI.

  6. AY-Hospital debts ARE dischargeable in consumer bankruptcies, which is one reason why the consumer bankruptcy rate is soaring. Some huge percentage of consumer bankruptcies (50%?) are generated by overwhelming hospital and MD bills.

  7. Sorry J.T. I am not with you on this one. Innocent people are killed everyday by drunk drivers. A few years back I attended the funeral of a promising high school senior who lost her life driving home from work one night as the result of a drunk driver. She is now doing “life” in the local cemetery. Since this guy can’t seem to get his act together, he should be off the streets. As you may recall, one drunk driver spent 20 years in prison for manslaughter, was recently released and then re-incarcerated for, wait for it. . . drunk driving. I agree with an earlier commenter. Alcohol may be an addiction but drinking and driving is not. If you want to kill yourself drinking, fine with me. Stay home and get a load off. But don’t drink and drive putting others in harms way. I have no sympathy for that whatsoever.

  8. My favorite cousin was murdered by a drunk driver. The murderer had been released from jail that morning, having served a sentence that should have been attempted murder in an earlier drunk driving episode. By 2 PM he was well over the limit and speeding the wrong way down a divided street. My cousin was driving but unable to get out of his way.

    Drunk driving is premeditated murder. You can put all the nice words around it you want but getting in that car with a glow on, or in the bag or fully loaded is simply thinking about killing other people. If you stood in the middle of the street & randomly fired a gun into houses nobody would think 90 days, suspended, would be adequate drunk driving is no different.

  9. he’s 54 years old and he’s been drinking heavy for a long time. a life sentance for mr. stovall is not likely to be long at all.

  10. An important unaddressed question is whether Texas took away his license before this latest incident. If it did, and he drove anyway, then I have little sympathy for him (although life imprisonment is still excessive). If it did not, shouldn’t it do that before it sentences him to any prison time?

  11. Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley stressed that it was important to put away Stovall “before he kills someone we decided to put him away.” Hmmmm. Isn’t that akin to “arresting demonstrators before they cause problems”? I think it was Bobby Kennedy who told the Kern county sherriff that, “…he’d better read the constitution before taking that action.” Seems to apply here.

  12. Still the same, it all in the rhetoric James. It is a badge in the running for office District Attorney…How many notches do you need…..and by the way…don’t let the color of his skin fool you….they do that anyway…but…keep em in Austin….we have enough trouble with the brown skinned ones….

  13. What kind of pansy-ass life sentence does Texas have where he could be eligible for parole in five years?

  14. CriticalThinker 1, August 15, 2010 at 10:39 am

    While I agree with your conclusion I think that it’s important to note that drinking is an addiction – driving while drinking is not.

    I appreciate you name. However, it implies that you think things to a logical conclusion, so with that at what point is an addiction recreational and necessary.

    And if you can answer that CriticalThinker, what is your thoughts on Bankruptcy and Compulsive Shopping? Should people who have medical bills not be able to discharge through bankruptcy because they would affect the hospital and we all know that they are mostly subsidized…at both ends anyway….speaking about ends…Do you think that Sex Addicts that can afford High Priced call girls or men should be afforded different treatment just because they have money and are not buying dime box crack whores?

    I would not to hear what is choice and what started as a choice is no longer a choice as it becomes necessary, hence compulsive……You do like eating, yes? Do you ever over eat? If so, why? Have you ever gotten sick from eating. Why did you go back to eating?

  15. Yet another example of geographic sentencing. Big city court, fine, costs, maybe some time. Rural court, life sentence. Same with dope. Child support, urban court typically much higher than rural.

  16. While I agree with your conclusion I think that it’s important to note that drinking is an addiction – driving while drinking is not.

  17. But then Again SWM, there is no Place in the world like Austin. Where being a political figure and having a little family money behind you can get you a get out of jail free card or will the next time you are drunk as an Irishman (redundancy, I know). Austin is home of its own special law and applies only to Travis County it is called “The Hobby Rule.” Heck if its good enough for you, it has to be good enough for all….

    You may ask yourself what is the Hobby Rule. It is easy enough to explain and it goes like this. If you happen to be the Lt Governor and you happen to be unfortunate enough to be stopped for a Drunk Driving Offense and your family owns the Houston Post and your Daddy was, I believe Mayor of Houston, you might be afforded special favors from the city of Austin.

    Well, in this case, being the Lt Gov and be in the son of a former Houston Mayor and your family owns the Newspaper appeared not to be enough to get your ass out of jail. Especially when you get stopped at 6 pm leaving the Capitol Grounds. This was especially so when you are Democrat and the Governor is Billy Clements. Who also happens to be the first Republican Governor in Texas since the conflict between the states, has you set up and arrested….

    You might be lucky enough to spend the night in jail with the common ordinary drunks….this can’t be so…so instead of appealing to a higher authority, like the Governor or being taken back home, the Capitol…You have placed on the Senate Calendar (session schedule for the day) a proposed law on the local and consent calendar and tie bar it to a special project the Republican Governor wants and Alla you have a law that states that if you are arrested and no Judge is Available and Attorney can get you out of jail only to come back the next day to be arraigned…It also helps if you have a few Senators and Reps in your pocket as well as a fifth……

    Well in Austin, Texas and this applies only to Austin not the entire state, well Travis County just south of Williamson….only your attorney need show up for you and waive arraignment…..

    Next installment is how the Lt Gov’s daughter almost succeed in burning down the State of Texas Capitol, while she was passed out in the Governors Apt in the Capitol Building and why Rick Perry got away with torching the Governors mansion…yes, it was all stated that they had something to do with electrical issues….but did they?

  18. I was reading this morning that Dallas County is often giving probation on repeated DWI violations even those involving manslaughter.

  19. Williamson County, where justice with the oldest money can be had for a fee….

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