Our friends at DUIBLOG alert us to a new idea being tried out in Tennessee. A State Senator (a former nurse) has introduced an amendment to a Homeland Security bill to forbid Criminal Defense Lawyers from advertising their expertise in handling DWI cases. Here is the AP Article:
Senate measure would ban lawyers from DUI advertising
By ERIK SCHELZIG • Associated Press Writer • April 22, 2008
Defense attorneys would be banned from advertising their expertise with drunken driving cases under a bill advancing in the Senate.
Sen. Rosalind Kurita, a Clarksville Democrat, successfully added the provision to a bill that would create an online registry of repeat DUI offenders in Tennessee.
Kurita says officials have a hard enough time convicting drunken drivers without lawyers advertising their expertise in the field and offering discounts to DUI defendants.
Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle, a Memphis attorney, argued that Kurita's proposal would violate commercial free speech rights.
Kyle says that as long as lawyers are meeting ethical standards set by the state bar association they should be allowed to advertise their legal qualifications.
Interestingly Kurita is not beloved by her fellow Democrats because she jumped ship and voted a Republican into the Lt. Governors seat after promising to support a Democrat last year. She was rewarded with the Presidency Pro Tem of the legislature.
Hence it came as no surprise that the Democrats launched a primary Campaign against her.
Guess what her Primary Opponent does for a living...
Right! He handles Criminal Defense cases including DWI.
Given that this stands no chance of ever remaining law (Lawyers have a right to advertise Bates v. State Bar of Arizona 97 S.Ct. 2691 ) this becomes just one more waste of taxpayers money. (On the other hand, Nassau County (NY) District Attorney Kathleen Rice would have a blast with this kind of legislation.
What is most worrisome however is the reason she gave for supporting the ban.
They have a hard enough time convicting without lawyers advertising their expertise and giving discounts to suspected drunk drivers. Imagine how hard it would be if they had to use real science and not the junk science that backs up today's breath testing equipment?
Who advises this Senator anyway?