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Judge Guilty Of DUI Takes Breath Tests Before Work

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) –

A Maryland judge who was convicted of drunken driving is taking daily blood-alcohol tests before and during his courtroom work.

Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III said Tuesday he agreed to the unusual punishment.

“I’m glad it’s gotten to this point,” said Boone, 68, who has acknowledged a long struggle with alcoholism. “The sanctions are certainly totally appropriate and I’m prepared to live by them.”

Boone also must attend at least five Alcoholics Anonymous meetings a week.

Judges elsewhere in the country have been ordered to attend AA and in some cases have been required to take random drug and alcohol tests, according to Cynthia Gray, director of the American Judicature Society’s Center for Judicial Ethics.

Boone pleaded guilty in March to driving under the influence in a collision that caused minor injuries to a 25-year-old woman driving another vehicle. Boone blew a blood-alcohol level of 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal limit.

He was fined $1,000 and sentenced to three years of unsupervised probation.

The breath tests were ordered by the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities.

Boone said he bought his own blood-alcohol testing machine. A law enforcement officer or court bailiff has administered the tests in his office twice daily — in the mornings and after lunch — since the reprimand took effect Jan. 17.

“They watch me blow into the thing and verify what the readings are and we put it on the log,” he said.

The commission said the reprimand was a warning.

It was at least the second time the gruff and outspoken jurist has been in trouble since he was appointed to the bench in 1997. Boone was reprimanded in 2008 for calling three black women lawyers “the Supremes” and advising their defendant to get “an experienced male attorney.”

In that case, Boone acknowledged his comments suggested racial and sexual bias. He said he was trying to protect the three public defenders from representing a defendant he knew was difficult.

Boone said he has no plans to step down before his mandatory retirement at age 70.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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