One Judge’s Perspective

Northeast District Court
King County, State of Washington
Judges Chambers
Judge David S. Admire
Redmond, Washington 98073-0425

Dear Friend:

One of my greatest frustrations as a judge is the difficulty in communicating to the DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) offender, the enormous potential for tragedy that drinking and driving may precipitate. Offenders that stand before me are usually so concerned with the legal sanctions that await them, they simply do not consider the harm they may cause others. My warnings, no matter how compelling, tend not to be heard.
In an effort to crack the barrier of self concern so offenders will give greater thought to the consequences of their actions, we have established the DWI Victims Panel. Twice a month, a panel of volunteers whose lives have been dramatically altered by a drunk driver tell their stories. Some have been maimed for life, while others have lost loved ones. Other volunteers were responsible for tragic accidents while under the influence of alcohol. Attendance at a victims panel is mandatory for every person convicted of DWI.
Although the Victims Panel has not changed the behavior of all offenders, it has had a significant impact on some and affected most participants to varying dregrees. This program does not replace treatment for the alcoholic, but it has helped many break through their denial. Participation does not relieve the offender of such statutory punishment as jail or a fine.
The program is designed to provide offenders with a very personal perspective on the agony inflicted upon innocent victims by drunk drivers. We hope that this perspective, so difficult to convey in the courtroom, may stop the offender from driving after drinking in the future.
This brochure has been developed in response to considerable interest in our program. I hope it will be of help to you.

Sincerely yours,
David S. Admire,