Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vince Neil Accepts Plea Deal

Motley Crue singer avoids media for Vegas DUI plea

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Motley Crue singer Vince Neil avoided the media and quietly pleaded guilty Wednesday to driving drunk last summer near the Las Vegas Strip in a case that drew denials that he received preferential treatment.

A temporary judge who took the plea before reporters arrived sentenced Neil to 15 days in the Clark County jail and 15 days on house arrest under terms of an agreed–upon plea deal that spared him a trial on a misdemeanor driving under the influence charge. Neil could have faced up to six months in jail if convicted.

Court officials said the 49–year–old rocker was ordered to begin serving his sentence Feb. 15, a week after his 50th birthday.

Neil and his lawyers, Richard Schonfeld and David Chesnoff, appeared 90 minutes early before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Pro Tem Gerry Zobrist, court officers said. Media members arriving for a scheduled 9 a.m. plea learned that Neil had come and gone.

"My understanding is he came in early and they just moved it up," said court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price, who was in the courtroom for Neil's appearance.

Neil said nothing more than "guilty" to the charge against him, Price said. He was also fined $585 and ordered to attend drunken driving abatement school and to view a victim impact video online.

Chesnoff told The Associated Press (News - Alert) the case was moved up at his request because he was due in family court across town on another case.

"There is no preferential treatment," Chesnoff said, noting that the judge — not the prosecutor — granted the time change. "I got the normal professional courtesy a lawyer gets when he has a scheduling conflict."
The attorney also referred to a prepared statement on Neil's behalf issued after the plea deal was reached Jan. 18. It said the rocker took responsibility for his actions and would learn from the experience.

Clark County District Attorney David Roger denied Neil got a break. He pointed to the sentence of 30 days of jail and home detention.

"He pled guilty to DUI," Roger said. "The vast majority of people facing a first offense DUI in Nevada don't face jail time."

Judges exercise discretion in scheduling, and other cases involving other defendants and lawyers at the Clark County Regional Justice Center have been heard before or after published times. But allegations of preferential treatment have been made before against Roger and Chesnoff.

Chesnoff is an A–list Las Vegas defense lawyer whose clients have included celebrity socialite Paris Hilton, the Hells Angel motorcycle club, boxer Mike Tyson, entertainer Bruno Mars, recording mogul Marion "Suge" Knight and other local and national notables.

Roger is a low–key law–and–order prosecutor perhaps best known for winning felony convictions against O.J. Simpson and five accomplices in a 2007 armed robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas casino hotel room. Simpson is serving nine to 33 years in state prison.

Roger won a third term in November despite an opponent's efforts to link campaign contributions from Chesnoff to a plea deal by Hilton last September that reduced a felony cocaine possession charge to two misdemeanors.

Hilton, 29, was sentenced to one year probation, fined $2,000 and ordered to complete a drug program and 200 hours of community service.

Chesnoff said Wednesday he has a constitutional right to back candidates for public office. "I supported David Roger from the first time he ran for office, and I will continue to do so," Chesnoff said. "He is a fine district attorney."

Neil's plea came after police said he was stopped in his black Lamborghini sports car late June 27 after leaving the Las Vegas Hilton.

Neil is the front man for a four–member heavy metal band known for bad behavior, hard partying, famous girlfriends and hard–driving hits like "Girls, Girls, Girls" and "Dr. Feelgood." He and his fourth wife, Lia, live in Las Vegas, where Neil also owns tattoo shops and two bars. One is at the Hilton.

Neil pleaded guilty to drunken driving before, in a 1984 crash in Redondo Beach, Calif., that killed his passenger, Nicholas Dingley, a 24–year–old drummer with the group Hanoi Rocks. Neil, then 25, wasn't injured. His conviction on manslaughter and drunken driving charges got him 20 days in jail, and he agreed to pay $2.5 million in restitution to victims.

Superbowl Crackdown

DUI Crackdown To Be Held Super Bowl Sunday

Sheriff’s Department To Add Patrols Game Day

Sheriff Bill Gore urged football fans on Monday to team up against drunken driving on Super Bowl Sunday.

"We're reminding everyone that real Super Bowl fans don't let (other) fans drive drunk," Gore said during a late-morning briefing at his department's Kearny Mesa headquarters."If your Super Bowl plans include alcohol, make sure you have a designated sober driver," he said. "We are asking all party hosts and bar owners to take extra-good care of designated sober drivers this year."  

On Monday, The Sheriff's Department unveiled a totaled SUV. It was the same SUV that Erin Limonchi's mother, Pamela, was driving the day she was broadsided and killed by a 17-year-old drunk driver."It's absolute devastation," said Limonchi, who said she hopes her story will encourage at least one person to think twice before drinking and getting behind the wheel.

The San Diego County Avoid the 14 DUI Task Force will be deploying special patrols in more than 20 communities throughout the region to stop and arrest drivers who are intoxicated. The effort will augment regularly scheduled patrols looking for the tale-tell signs of intoxicated drivers.Additionally, the task force will be conducting a DUI and driver's- license checkpoint in Encinitas the day before Sunday's big game."If you choose to drink and drive, you will lose," said Gore.

The local message to Super Bowl fans joins with a national "Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk" campaign coordinated by the National Football League, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the HERO Campaign and the Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management Coalition.The Fans Don't Let Fans Drive Drunk message supports a league-wide designated-driver campaign called Responsibility Has Its Rewards. Celebrating its eighth season, the program encourages fans to participate in designated- driver programs supported by beer and concessionaire companies at every NFL stadium.

The more than 170,000 fans who pledged to be designated drivers this season now have a chance to earn a trip to Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas."We want everyone to make the right decision for Super Bowl," Gore said. "Having a designated sober driver should be an obvious (choice) to everyone. Making sure designated sober drivers know how much we appreciate their responsible decision is what will make this year's celebration extra special -- and extra safe."

Authorities urge fans hosting a Super Bowl to take the following precautions:

-- make sure all your guests designate their sober drivers before kick- off, or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers;
-- find unique ways to recognize the designated drivers at your party, such as giving them the best spot to watch the game;
-- make sure their cars are easy to access when it is time to start driving people home;
-- serve plenty of food;
-- offer a variety of non-alcoholic choices like non-alcohol beers, soft drinks, juice and water;
-- only serve alcohol to guests who are 21 or older;
-- determine ahead of time when you'll stop serving alcohol, such as one hour before the end of the party or at the end of the third quarter of the game -- like NFL stadiums do -- and then begin serving coffee and dessert;
-- add the numbers of local cab companies into your phone so they are just one touch away;
-- take appropriate steps to prevent anyone from driving while impaired; and
-- be prepared for guests to spend the night if an alternative way home is not available.

Those attending a Super Bowl party or watching the game at a sports bar or restaurant are encouraged to:

-- designate a sober driver before the party begins and leave car keys at home if you plan to drink;
-- find unique ways to recognize the designated drivers when out at a bar or restaurant;
-- before going out, add the numbers for local cab companies in your cell phone so if you find yourself in need of a ride, it is just one touch away;
-- avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast
-- eat enough food, take breaks and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks; and
-- take appropriate steps to prevent anyone from driving while impaired.

Source: 10News.com

So Cal Mom Charged

SoCal mom charged for daughter's DUI crash death

MURRIETA, Calif.—A convicted drunken driver has been charged with second-degree murder for a Riverside County crash that killed her 9-year-old daughter. 

Prosecutors say Karen Honeycutt was drunk and doing up to 100 mph when her Jeep Grand Cherokee smashed into a tree and a light pole in Temecula on Jan. 21. Her daughter, Chloe, wasn't wearing a seat belt and was hurled from the car. Authorities say Honeycutt, her 17-year-old son and an 8-year-old son also were injured.

The 41-year-old Temecula resident was charged Monday with second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter and drunken driving.

Prosecutors are seeking a sentencing enhancement because she has several previous convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise says she's being held in a hospital jail ward.

Source: The MercuryNews.com   The Associated Press