If a police officer in Washington found you in a car that was stopped in the middle of the roadway, and you subsequently were discovered to have almost three times the legal limit of alcohol in your system, what do you think would happen to you?
Right. You'd probably be convicted of DUI. But not if you're a cop, evidently.Remember when I reported on this story back in March? It was about how two Seattle Police officers were arrested back in December on charges of driving under the influence. Marie Gochnour allegedly drove her car into a light pole, stopped in the center of the road, then switched seats with the other officer, Sean Moore, when police arrived. After they were arrested, Gochnour blew a .234 and a .247 on a breath machine which is around three times the state's legal limit of .08%. (She reportedly berated the arresting officers as well.)
And earlier this month, prosecutors sought and received a guilty plea from Gochnour - to a reduced charge of reckless driving. She'll serve two days in jail with another 362 days suspended.According to the news article, when asked why the city accepted a plea to a reduced sentence, a spokeswoman said that "the city had significant proof problems, including not being able to locate the 911 caller for trial."
Apparently, despite the BAC test results, there wasn't enough evidence to determine that Gochnour was actually driving the vehicle (even though she did plead guilty to reckless driving). She still must await the results of an SPD internal probe.You have to wonder: if Gochnour had been a civilian, would prosecutors had taken the evidence to trial on DUI charges anyway? And did the city want to avoid a high-profile trial which would sully the reputation of SPD (as well as the city attorney if a conviction wasn't secured)?
Either way, many people will be left wondering whether a double standard exists in Seattle.