PASADENA, Md. (WJZ) — The Annapolis District Court Judge told the Maryland lawmaker he made a bad decision and has to accept the consequences. Now Delegate Don Dwyer is appealing, meaning his jail sentence is on hold.
Mike Hellgren was in the courtroom for the surprise twist.
Delegate Don Dwyer left court upset and not talking as his lawyer vowed to fight the 30-day jail sentence and $1,000 fine the judge gave him for operating his boat while drunk.
He collided with another boat on the Magothy River last August. Toxicology reports showed his blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit.
Anatasia Moore wept in court as she recounted what she called “nightmare” injuries her children suffered in the accident.
“It’s appalling. I’m appalled and I’m very hurt that when he apologized to the families, he looked straight at the judge and not once looked at us,” Moore said.
Under a deal with a special prosecutor who would not talk about the case, Dwyer thought he would get off without jail time but the judge said, “Those who make laws have the obligation to obey them. When you break the law, you violate the trust of the people. You are held to a higher standard than the average Joe. The state wants to give you a slap on the wrist.”
“The judge has a right to disregard that recommendation [but] it’s rare. He specifically said he did it because Delegate Dwyer is an elected official. We disagree with that decision,” said Dwyer’s lawyer, David Fischer.
Randy Harbin was piloting the other boat and his grandson was injured.
“The judge’s statement that those who make the laws have an obligation to follow them really rang true today,” Harbin said.
Dwyer says he will not step down from his seat and is running for another term.
The judge did not decide who was at fault for the boating accident. He said that was a matter to be hashed out during the civil case.