Judge: probation for alcohol-related offenses not uncommon - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Judge: probation for alcohol-related offenses not uncommon

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An ex-judge said it's not surprising recent court cases about alcohol-involved deaths resulted in probation sentences.

Former judge John Cruezot said rehabilitation was the underlying reason for probation sentences.

"You have to look at each of these cases and realize its non-intentional conduct or accident on the part of these defendants," said Cruezot.

Verdicts in the cases of Ethan Couch, 17, who killed four in a drunken driving wreck, and Josh Brent, who killed a friend and teammate in a drunken driving wreck, have upset many in the public. Couch got ten years of probation and Brent received a six month jail sentence with 10 years of probation after jail time.

A teen who accidentally shot a Denton Guyer football player accepted a plea deal on Monday for five years of probation. Beer cans were found at the site of the incident in rural Montague County.

"When you look at someone who has done so accidentally, even though there may be surrounding circumstances that don't speak well of the individual, most people start off from the perspective that it's non-intentional – therefore we should do something to rehabilitate, if possible," Cruezot said.

Cruezot, who now practices as a defense attorney, said most lawyers and judges agree that a defendant who intentionally causes a death should be punished even if they are under the influence of a substance.

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