Drunk driving offenders and the judges who allegedly let them off the hook too easily are to have their identities revealed on Twitter, according to officials in New Mexico.
The state is reportedly paying staff members from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to monitor court hearings in an effort to expose judges who are consistently lenient in the sentences they hand down to DUI offenders.
That info will then be passed on to the state, which will then explicitly reveal the identities of both parties (judges and lawbreakers) on Twitter in order to publicize the crimes.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which also monitors hearings in other states, has reportedly secured a two-year, $800,000 contract to do the same in at least five counties in New Mexico, reports ABC News.
“Too many lives have been shattered by drunk drivers, and too often our justice system fails our families by going easy on the criminals,” said Republican Governor Susana Martinez at a news conference in Albuquerque.
Although other states have used social media in order to deter people from repeatedly violating the law — including the police department of South Portland, Maine, which posts mug shots of DUI offenders on its Facebook page — the New Mexico initiative is unique in its targeting of judges.
The move is consequently attracting criticism from civil liberties advocates and Democrats, who describe it as “unethical.”
“Blaming a judge for not enough conviction rates is like blaming (a baseball) umpire for not enough strikeouts,” Democratic state Rep. Antonio Maestas told ABC News. He added that the program would put pressure on judges to hand out harsher sentences, regardless of the facts.
Despite battling high rates of DUI in general, New Mexico witnessed a 28-percent decrease in the number of people killed in drunken driving crashes in 2015 — marking a 36-year low for such deaths in the state.
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