Infrequent, but always extremely embarrassing when a federal judge gets caught (DUI)

Senior United States District Judge Kathryn H. Vratil of the District of Kansas has served since being appointed by George H. W. Bush in 1992. She served as Chief Judge of the District of Kansas from 2008 to 2014 and took senior status on April 22, 2014. She currently holds down a full caseload and frequently sits by designation with several of the Courts of Appeal, including the 9th Circuit.

Well, she was just arrested for DUI and improper Johnson County, Kansas and released on a $1,000 bond. She has no prior criminal history of any kind and so faces pretty much zero chance of jail, but likely will face a mandatory license suspension and a sizable fine and the 100 community service in lieu of jail.

There will likely be no immediate effect in regards to her judicial duties. But it will be awkward as ******* hell when she goes into preside over criminal cases with a DUI hanging over her own head.

She can take full retirement on her current $210,900 a year salary for the rest of her life, but I doubt she will do that.

If she stays in senior status, once her legal proceedings with Kansas wrap up, she will face an investigation by the Tenth Circuit judicial counsel, although I would expect that any sanctions would be relatively light, likely in the form of an official letter of reprimand. Unlikely they would take any action beyond that.

Shame, as she is considered an excellent jurist.

DUI FIRST OFFENSE: Conviction of a first Kansas DUI is a Class B misdemeanor.

JAIL : A minimum of 90 days up to a maximum six (6) months imprisonment, or, in the court’s discretion, 100 hours of community service.

FINE: $750.00 to $1,000.00, plus there is a $150.00 ADSAP fee that goes to the state. Court costs may also be between $10.00 and $150.00.

PROBATION: Probation is an option only after you have served at least 48 hours. The terms of probation are just like the terms of diversion: no drinking, do not break the law, go to alcohol school, etc. In addition, in the court’s discretion, the court may order that the defendant’s car be impounded. So, a first time DUI conviction in Kansas will require you to go to jail or a treatment program for 2 days before you can be put on probation.

SUSPENSION OF DRIVING PRIVILEGES: A criminal conviction of a first time DUI for a person who submitted a test result under a .150 results in a 30 day suspension of driving privileges and 6 month restriction to driving only with an ignition interlock device if their driving record is clear, or a 12 month restriction to only driving with an interlock device if they have a prior conviction for Minor in Possession/Consumption, Transporting an Open Container, or three or more moving violations within the previous year. If the breath test is over .150, driving privileges are suspended for a year, followed by an additional year of only operating a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device. However, after 45 days of suspension the driver can apply for a restricted license that would allow driving to and from work with an ignition interlock device installed. In the event of a test refusal, the driver is suspended for a year followed by at least one year of ignition interlock, but the driver can apply for the restricted license to allow driving with an ignition interlock under certain conditions after being suspended for 90 days. This suspension goes on the person’s driving record.

It’s a shame because she sounds like she’s lived a life that is symbolic of what we’d expect from a judge. It doesn’t list what she blew, if she did blow but it doesn’t take much alcohol at all to be found legally drunk…especially at her weight. I’d also wager that many who levy criticism, are unknowingly or knowingly, guilty of the same? On another note, her face in her jail picture really exposes her shame and I feel for her but I’m glad to see that the laws apply to all…equally.

Just a reminder they’re only human.

Here in WI, the question isn’t “who has an OWI?” It’s “who doesn’t have an OWI?”

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Another good reminder is when they reach different conclusions about the law.

A judge arrested for DUI is infrequent?

I don’t think so.

Google Florida judge arrested for DUI & you should get some finds, like Broward County Judge Lyn Rosenthal.

One Tampa judge was arrested on the south side (this story was, I believe, ‘90’s, and I sure wish I could remember his name). He was so intoxicated :woozy_face: he could hardly recite the alphabet.

Judges are human beings with human frailties and, at times, make bad judgment calls.

I had mentioned federal judges, not judges in general.

State judges are a completely different matter, since any clown can get on the courts of most states.

Judges should be held to a higher standard. Not driving while drunk isn’t a good judgement/bad judgement thing, it’s common sense. If you make $200,000 a year call a damn taxi if you’ve had more than two drinks.

“Stupidity should hurt,” as Snow is fond of saying. Any judge caught driving drunk, like any pilot, should be fired immediately and all benefits taken away.

Yeah. I lived in Wisconsin for 4 years (Milwaukee). I was stunned that a first OWI was a fine. I don’t know if many other states don’t consider a first OWI/DUI as at least a misdemeanor. That and you can drive a boat while drinking as long as you’re not intoxicated. That state loves its alcohol!

Which of course, is not possible at the federal level. And the Senate long ago decided that it just will not convict for just anything.

Another influential impeachment trial came in 1905, when Florida District Judge Charles Swayne was impeached for filing false travel vouchers, improper use of private railroad cars, unlawfully imprisoning two attorneys for contempt, and living outside of his district. Swayne’s trial consumed nearly three months of the Senate schedule before it ended on February 27, 1905, when the Senate voted to acquit. There was little doubt that Swayne was guilty of some of the offenses charged against him. Indeed, his counsel admitted as much, and called the lapses “inadvertent.” The Senate refused to convict Swayne, however, because many senators did not believe his offenses amounted to “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

First offense DUI, particularly as it did not involve bodily or property harm, clearly would fall within the Senate’s definition of peccadilloes as Senator’s of the time referred to Swayne’s behavior.

While I agree Judge’s should be held to a higher standard, nobody is even going to dream of impeachment over this issue. She will likely get a written reprimand from the Circuit Judicial Counsel and that will be that.

Completely false unless your drinking liquor.

Its actually difficult to get legally drunk on beer because of the volume you have to consume. People tend to do bad math and think one beer equals .02 therefore four beers equals a .08. What they aren’t considering though is how quickly that beer gets processed and then eliminated by the body. At a normal drinking pace of 1-2 drinks an hour your body will have processed and eliminated the first beer by the time you get to your 4th beer. The average human body eliminates .015 to .02 an hr so you have to drink faster than one beer an hour just to stay level. Most normal sized men in the 180-200 lb range take about 8-10 beers over the course of 3-4 hrs to actually hit the legal limit due to this. Women do have lower body weights and biologically get higher BAC’s than men on the same amount of alcohol so its a little easier for them. Though at the same by virtue of being smaller its going to be harder for them to drink as much beer because the stomach can only hold so much at once.

With liquor all bets are off because of the high concentration relative to volume.

No one should get behind the wheel of a vehicle after having consumed any amount of alcohol.

No one should carry an arm after having consumed any amount of alcohol.

No one should text and drive.

Alcoholism doesn’t discriminate—rich man, poor man, beggar, thief, doctor lawyer Indian chief.

And yes, judges.