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OHIO Court justice charged with drunken driving



Published: Wed, February 2, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Justice Alice Robie Resnick failed field sobriety tests.

COLUMBUS (AP) -- A state Supreme Court justice was pulled over and charged with driving under the influence after several motorists called to report an erratic driver on an interstate.

"A strong odor of alcohol was detected" on Justice Alice Robie Resnick, and police believe alcohol was the reason for the erratic driving, Lt. Rick Zwayer, a State Highway Patrol spokesman, said Tuesday.

Justice Resnick, 65, of Toledo, was arrested Monday afternoon on Interstate 75 near Bowling Green in northwest Ohio, Zwayer said.

She failed field sobriety tests and refused to take a blood-alcohol content test, Zwayer said. She also was charged with driving outside marked lines.

Driving while intoxicated is a misdemeanor that carries a possible penalty of three days to six months in jail and a fine of $250 to $1,000. Justice Resnick's driver's license was suspended for a year for refusing the breath test, although a judge can revise the suspension to a shorter period or up to three years.

A message seeking comment was left for Justice Resnick, who did not attend court hearings Tuesday on a death penalty case and a medical malpractice case. Resnick, a justice since 1989, is the court's only Democrat.

Disciplinary action

Court officials said there is no automatic disciplinary action when a judge is charged with driving under the influence.

Justice Resnick, who previously served as an assistant county prosecutor, a municipal judge and a state appeals court judge, has voted in a handful of drunken driving cases with the Supreme Court.

In 1996, for example, she wrote the majority opinion in a case that said police do not have to tell people suspected of drunken driving that they have the right to a second, independent blood alcohol test.

Her arrest came just days after the conclusion of a long-running court battle over an unsuccessful attempt by business groups to unseat her in 2000. On Friday, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce was forced to disclose who contributed to the advertising campaign.




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