Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Senator Tarr Shares His Thoughts on Senate's Closing of Melanie's Law Loophole in Budget

In a recent decision issued by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (Souza v. Registrar of Motor Vehicles), the court reversed the license suspension of an individual based on a DUI case in 2010 in which the defendant refused to take a chemical breath test. The defendant had previously been arrested for a DUI offense in a 1997 case that was continued without a finding after the defendant had admitted to sufficient facts for a finding of guilty.

Under Melanie’s Law, the 2010 refusal, because it is a second offense, would normally trigger a license suspension of 3 years, and the Registry took that action. In the court's decision, the SJC countermanded that decision because of the continuation of the first case without a “conviction,” as the word is defined in statute.

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, with the support of the Senate Republican Caucus, filed an amendment during last week's Senate budget debate to close this loophole.  In the attached video, he shares his thoughts on the amendment's passage.