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Innocent until proven guilty

April 24, 2014
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:

Florida Rep. Dane Eagles' April 21, arrest report for Driving under the Influence (DUI), should not be a rush to judgment. We must always assume innocent until proven guilty. There are many people who drive through Taco Bells at 2 a.m. in the morning.

Dane has introduced some controversial bills such as HB 733 supporting the Second Amendment and a recent drug testing bill for elected officials. It has been my experience in the past that oppressive governments respond with sanctions such as a DUI stops, IRS income tax, NSA wiretapping, conflicts of interest in business deals, or other embarrassing events.

I was not there with Dane at 2 a.m. in the morning at Taco Bell. A Field Sobriety Test (FST) is used to determine impairment and this is why the police have a standard SOP on what needs to be place in the police report such as smell of alcohol, stumbling, slurred speech, munchies or other impaired motor functions. Thus, the driver is at the mercy of the police and their reasonable suspicion of impaired driving upon refusal to take any test. Dane only knows if he used alcohol or some other drug. So, was this arrest politically motivated? I think someone should ask this unpopular question.

As a retired professional psychotherapist and teacher for the National Safety Council Remedial DUI Driving course with a medical school and extensive experience with DUI offenders, it is common for Taco Bells, White Castles and Burger Kings DUI's because the police wait outside these prime target areas knowing alcohol or pot or other drugs cause the munchies, and a 2 a.m. drive- thru, is usually an indicator that the driver might not be out delivering an early newspaper.

However, I believe Dane could use this experience in a constructive manner. Regardless of the outcome of this arrest and a refusal for a breath test, it is common for a plea bargain to a minor traffic violation. Dane could take the high road such as "It is not what happened to me but what am I doing about it". Dane could talk with high school seniors in Cape Coral or do some public speaking about impaired driving. Dane could continue to pursue his drug testing bill and add a breath test prior to a vote.

In summary, Rep. Dane Eagle used poor judgment at 2 a.m. in the morning and this should not be a determining factor in his ability to properly represent our community.

And, there should be a detailed investigation regarding any improper influence by the police in this arrest.

I wish Dane and his family the best and will be praying for their courage to continue to make our community a better place.

Jack Mattachione, MRC

Cape Coral



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