Tuesday, May 30, 2017

RC Sproul Jr Ruled Ineligible For Drug Court

RC Sproul Jr
On May 30, 2017 RC Sproul Jr appeared before Judge Frances C. Gull in Allen County Indiana Drug Court to determine his eligibility for the Drug Court Treatment Program. Had he qualified and successfully completed all the requirements of the Drug Court Treatment Program he could have avoided a criminal trial altogether. He might have even qualified to have his criminal record expunged.

However, as we noted previously, Drug Court only applies to misdemeanor charges. Being charged with two felonies, on top of the two misdemeanors, was an instant disqualification. So in our view petitioning to have his case referred to Drug Court had the appearance of an act of desperation.

Not only had RC Sproul Jr decided to get drunk and then drive, he decided to do so after placing his two minor children with him into the car (none of that was news to us -- he's been doing all that for years). Driving drunk with two minors netted him two felony charges, and they are the kind of charges which any judge takes very seriously, including Drug Court judges. As we predicted would happen, the two felony charges disqualified RC Sproul Jr from having his case referred to Drug Court.

So what's next for RC Spoul Jr? A criminal jury trial is scheduled to convene on June 6, 2017. Just prior to that on June 2 will be a Status Hearing before the trial Judge Wendy Davis. In all likelihood RC Sproul Jr's trial will be delayed while his attorney, Patrick Justin Arata, puts in various motions and does some last minute scrambling to put on the best possible case. Perhaps Mr. Arata might also depose the arresting officer.

As bleak as things appear to be for RC Sproul Jr it's likely his attorney will try to work out a plea deal to avoid the criminal trial. To do that RC Sproul Jr will have to plead guilty to one or two lesser charges in exchange for the prosecutor dropping the felony charges. Ideally Mr. Arata might get the Prosecutor to drop the felony charges. However, we're doubtful Prosecutor Karen Richards will go for that kind of deal. The risk of a public backlash, to her as an elected official, is too great.

Drunk driving with kids in the car is the sort of case that has too much likelihood of receiving local press attention, all the more so when the drunk is a preacher. When it comes to putting the lives of children so egregiously in danger it takes very little to ignite public outrage. Whether it be young or old, left or right, liberal or conservative, religious or non-religious, everyone cares deeply about the welfare of children. Those who put the lives of children in mortal danger easily earn the ire of the public. No Prosecutor wants to suffer a public backlash for being perceived as having gone soft on someone whom the public would hold in the highest of contempt.

What's especially remarkable about this case, and therefore makes it even more newsworthy, is that RC Sproul Jr is a well-known and very public spokesman for the Pro-Life movement. He's even raised a lot of money for various pro-life causes. RC Sproul Jr has characterized abortion as a terrible form of violence and a "holocaust" against the pre-born. Yet at the same time he treats his own children with total disregard for their safety, as though their lives had no value.

Drunk driving is a very serious problem that results in many thousands of deaths annually on America's highways, and many more thousands serious injuries, often resulting in permanent disability. Ironically when a drunk winds up killing and maiming others, she or he quite often walks away with few if any injuries. The general consensus of anyone who has been affected by a drunk driver is that they deserve to be imprisoned for many years. That's certainly the consensus of MADD, the largest anti-drunk driving organization in the country.

Unfortunately, drunk driving is so commonplace that the courts in many counties are literally overwhelmed with DUI cases. To cope with the case load the system, quite often, gives first and even second-time DUI offenders a break -- they get no jail time, provided they didn't crash and injure anyone. Much of the public disagrees with this and views no jail time for drunk drivers as a grave injustice. In their view drunk drivers are carnage on wheels, and it's only a matter of time before they kill and maim. No one should have to die before they get locked up.

Any jury that RC Sproul Jr stands before is likely to be comprised of citizens who hold to such views. He's going to have a very tough sell.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, May 11, 2017

RC Sproul Jr Referred To Drug Court

RC Sproul Jr Drunk Driving

On May 11 Robert Craig Sproul appeared before Judge Wendy Davis in a Pretrial Conference hearing in Allen County Superior Court, Indiana. In that hearing Judge Davis referred RC Sproul Jr's drunk driving case to Indiana Drug Court Treatment at the request of his attorney, Patrick Justin Arata.

What does it mean for RC Sproul Jr that his own attorney, one of the top drunk driving attorneys in the nation, advised him to petition to have his case transferred to Drug Court? It likely means his attorney knows they didn't stand much of a chance of convincing a jury of his innocence. In all likelihood the arresting officer has dash-cam video and audio evidence of the pursuit and arrest. That evidence, shown to a jury, would be damning, not to mention the additional evidence of the blood-alcohol test that showed RC Sproul Jr had a blood-alcohol content of .175 (more than twice the legal limit). The fact that he had two of his minor children with him in the car would have played especially badly to a jury.

RC Sproul Jr's next court appearance is scheduled for May 30 before Judge Frances Gull to determine his eligibility. Not every case referred to Drug Court Treatment is automatically accepted because not every substance abuser makes a good candidate for the Drug Court Treatment Program. Certain criteria first have to be met, and the judge has some latitude in who she will and will not accept. However, one thing the judge cannot do is accept someone into Drug Court Treatment that doesn't meet the legal requirements. From our read of the law RC Sproul Jr does not meet the legal criteria since prosecutorial deferment only applies to misdemeanor charges (RC Sproul Jr has also been charged with two felonies). As such this legal maneuver gives the appearance of an act of desperation, unless that is Mr. Arata has successfully negotiated with the Prosecutor to defer the felony charges conditional upon Sproul's admission and successful completion of the Drug Court Treatment Program. If that's the case then Mr. Arata has been more than earning his enormous fee.

Drug Courts have become very popular among criminal court judges and prosecutors all across the country. Prosecuting drug offenders (alcohol is considered a drug, legally and medically) is very time consuming and expensive, not to mention the considerable expense of incarceration. The outcomes are seldom ever positive. Incarcerating drug offenders costs tax payers many billions of dollars annually and does nothing to help the offenders or their families. Often it just makes the problem of substance abuse even worse.

Drug courts provide the offender a chance to rehabilitate themselves with the aid and supervision of a court system that serves as their ally rather than adversary. Criminal recidivism rates tend to be dramatically lower for participants of drug court programs compared to those who are run through the criminal court process.

Unfortunately there are inherent weaknesses with Drug Court programs, particularly where it concerns alcoholics. For example, Drug Courts rely heavily on periodic drug testing to weed out the non-compliant. While "peeing in the cup" often catches illicit drug abusers it generally is an ineffective means of catching the alcohol abuser. Alcohol is metabolized and eliminated from the body within several hours, whereas illicit drugs often take days, if not weeks, to be eliminated to below detectable levels. Alcoholics also tend to be the last to acknowledge to themselves, let alone others, that they have a serious problem (denial is one of the hallmarks of alcoholism).

Drug Court programs can be highly effective for the sincerely penitent, but they are also far from perfect. For those who want to game the system, just so they can avoid prison, they're likely to get away with consuming their drug of choice on the sly. This is especially true of the alcoholic -- alcohol being the easiest of all drugs to get away with abusing.

If RC Sproul Jr is accepted into the Drug Court Treatment Program, and he's allowed to retain a driver's license (albeit a provisional one which will restrict when and where he can drive), he'll be required to install an ignition interlock ("breathalizer") on his car. But such devices can be circumvented: As the old adage goes, "Locks keep honest people honest." He may also be required to check himself in to an alcohol rehab ("detox") center. But regardless of the expense of an alcohol rehab program, most of them have a high recidivism rate. The court may also order that RC Sproul Jr get a "sponsor" and participate in Alcoholics Anonymous. But such programs are only as beneficial as the willingness of their participants to sincerely seek help. Too many AA participants aren't there by choice, and the odds aren't in their favor of a successful outcome.

As such, the prospects for RC Sproul Jr aren't good. He's been gaming the system for much of his life. He is cunning, duplicitous, and manipulative. If his primary goal of agreeing to Drug Court Treatment is getting off the booze for good then his prospects could be good. If, however, his only goal is avoiding prison, the long-term prospects for he and his family are very poor.

Knowing RC Sproul Jr as we do we believe that, should he convince Judge Gull of his eligibility for the Drug Court Treatment Program, he will likely successfully complete the program and avoid prison. He may even avoid a permanent criminal record. However, we are confident he'll also continue consuming alcohol, something that no alcoholic should ever do. Ultimately RC Sproul Jr will suffer a relapse, be arrested yet once again for drunk driving, and then be put away for a very long time.

The only real hope for RC Sproul Jr is to become the very thing that he has mocked and ridiculed so many for for so many years -- a teetotaler.