New Mexico officials recently stated that social media will be able to inform you if DUI offenders are let off too easy. According to Governor Susana Martinez, the state has made the decision to pay staffers from Mothers Against Drunk Driving to monitor court hearings by judges who are consistently too forgiving in cases involving drunk driving.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving staffers will provide state officials with details on court hearings so that they can pinpoint repeat offenders and the judges on Twitter. While the program joins others across the nation in publicizing crimes by repeat offenders through social media, targeting judges is uncommon and may be seen as unethical.
A two-year $800,000 contract was given to Mothers Against Drunk Driving to attend hearings in a minimum of five counties in New Mexico that are full of DUI and DWI arrests and fatalities. Court monitoring in other states will be provided by the group as well.
Governor Martinez noted that the goal of the program is to crack down on individuals who have been convicted of several DUI violations. Martinez explained that too many lives have been lost as a result of drunk drivers and all too often, these criminals get off the hook too easily.
New Mexico has struggled with high DWI rates for quite some time. Fortunately, the number of individuals killed in crashes involving drunk driving has decreased by 28 percent.
The idea for the program arose when police from New England utilized social media to post jail-booking photos of suspects. South Portland, Maine police post mug shots of individuals charged with drunk driving on its Facebook page in order to make the crimes public and prevent future drunk driving cases.
Antonio Maestas, Democratic state representative and defense lawyer believes this program is a public relations initiative that places blame on judges and prosecutors rather than preventing DUIs. Maestas feels that the program is unethical and forces judges to give out harsher punishments despite the facts of the case.
If will be interesting to see what experienced criminal defense and personal injury lawyers say about this type of exposure. While some love what social media has done, others think it is a great invasion of privacy.