Attorney General's Appointee Carl Snowden Again Arrested for Drunk Driving, Has History of Traffic Violations, Politicians Cover As Usual ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Attorney General's Appointee Carl Snowden Again Arrested for Drunk Driving, Has History of Traffic Violations, Politicians Cover As Usual

Civil rights activist. Annapolis Alderman. Aide to County Executive. Director of the Attorney General's Office of Civil Rights and drunk driver in 2002, drunk driver in 2005 and drunk driver again this week. Carl Snowden was arrested early Tuesday morning for driving with a blood alcohol content or BAC of .09, according to The Baltimore Sun. That is above the state's legal limit of 0.08 percent for driving under the influence and 0.07 percent for driving while impaired. The Sun reported that Snowden was charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol, driving while impaired by alcohol, negligent driving, failure to obey traffic control devices and failure to obey designated land directions, police said. Snowden reportedly told police that he had only one drink, but apparently did not provide details about the size or amount of alcohol in that one drink.

Snowden has a long history of disobeying traffic laws including excessive speeding! (See the end of this story for details)

Snowden was recently named the chair of the Housing Authority of Annapolis (HACA) by former Mayor Ellen Moyer and was confirmed by the previous council.  Following his appointment to HACA, its executive director, Eric Brown, soon resigned. At least one if not both of his previous DUI charges occurred while he was an appointed aide to former Anne Arundel (as in "AA"...heh heh) County Executive Janet Owens. Recently, Snowden served as master of ceremonies for the campaign kick-off of Democrat Joanna Conti for county executive. He was active in Mayor Josh Cohen's recent campaign. The peripatetic Snowden is seen virtually most anywhere in Anne Arundel and Annapolis politics and government.

According to The Sun, the recently-elected Annapolis Alderman Kenny Kirby, whose Sixth Ward includes a large portion of the city's public housing, came to Snowden's defense. "It shouldn't have any impact," Kirby said. "I grew up with Carl. He's a good friend of mine. … He's on top of his game."  Fortunately the only thing so far which did not have any impact was Snowden's car with another car or human being. Indeed, Snowden may be on top of his game. The question is what game might that be and why is Kirby, a frequent advocate for youth, defending a man who is not only putting innocent civilians at risk, but is potentially serving as a role model as well. Does the fact that they grew up together tell us anything else we might need to know? Perhaps Kirby can explain why he rationalizes Snowden's criminal activity.

But what of Snowden's current boss and our state's top law enforcement official? Gansler's office is keeping quiet, claiming it is a personnel matter and despite repeated pleas asking for any kind of comment from Gansler or whether he is reviewing the situation, his media spokesperson would offer no comment.

Things might be a lot different if someone had been injured or killed, but would this have been a violation of the victim's civil rights? After one offense, perhaps it would have put Snowden on notice that he had to correct his behavior, but now that he is a three-time recidivist drunk driver, as will as repeat offender of traffic laws, will Gansler, the state's top law enforcement officer, take action against his appointee who serves at his pleasure? Janet Owens let the whole thing pass over without any action or substantive response after which Gansler appointed him.

What about three strikes and you're out? Will a judge see this for what it is and treat Snowden in the harsh manner he deserves? Send him to jail? Send him to treatment? Take away his license? Will Gansler tell him he is no longer needed or will Gansler and justice turn a not-so-blind eye, and simply slap him on the wrist?

Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen said, "These charges are serious and concerning. Carl is entitled to due process under law. Although I haven't spoken to him about this, I know Carl is one to take responsibility for his actions. I hope this does not take away from the urgent work we still have to do at the Housing Authority. Carl is the right person to be at the helm and turn the Housing Authority around, and I hope to continue working with him in that capacity."

Oh yes, Snowden has always had due process serve in his favor, but this time?

How bad is driving with a BAC of .09? According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, in 1998, the United States drivers with BACs between .08-.09 were involved in an estimated 17,200 crashes that killed 993 and injured 32,000. BACS of .10 and above were involved in an estimated 999,000 crashes that killed 12,530 and injured 719,000. Positive BACs below .08 were involved in an estimated 33,700 crashes that killed 2,412 and injured 70,000. 2007 figures for alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Maryland include 179 deaths and approximately 29% of total traffic fatalities were alcohol-related. About three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives and drunk driving is the nation's and Maryland's most frequently committed violent crime.

And Alderman Kiurby's ears should perk up when he learns that MADD says that alcohol use is the number one problem among young people and 10% of 4th graders are now reporting that they have tried alcohol. 2.6 million teenagers don't know that a person can die from an alcohol overdose and eight young people a day die in alcohol related crashes. Traffic crashes are the major cause of death for children in the age group 0-14. Almost one quarter (21.4%) of these deaths are alcohol related. Traffic crashes are the greatest single cause of death for ages 6-28. Almost half are alcohol related. 33% of nearly 200,000 students surveyed said that their parents often do not set clear rules. Half said they are not disciplined routinely when they break the rules.

Perhaps Alderman Kirby, the great advocate for youth in Annapolis, who grew up with Mr. Snowden was not aware of these facts and statistics. I clearly recall that years ago when the second offense occurred, a high-level Annapolis police officer, who like Snowden, is an African American and Annapolis native, told me that he wished he had been the arresting officer. Furthermore he told me he wished Snowden would have resisted arrest. On the other hand, Alderman Kenny Kirby, who defends Snowden, says this three-time drunk driver (at least that's how many times he has been caught)  is "on top of his game".

This appears to be Snowden's game, when it comes to respecting traffic laws. The below information was taken from the Maryland Court's website:

In 1999, he received Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) for failure to stop when required.
In 2001 he got Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) in Baltimore for failing to obey properly placed traffic control device instructions.
In 2001 he was found guilty of operating a motor vehicle with an occupant under 16 not restrained by a seatbelt or safety seat.
In 2001 pleaded not guilty but got PBJ for going 83 in a 55mph zone
In 2001 he pleased guilty and then in 2002 was found guilty of driving 88 mph in a 55 mph zone
In 2002 he pleaded not guilty but was found guilty for failure to drive right of center.
In 2004 he was fined for again operating a motor vehicle with an occupant under 16 not restrained by a seatbelt or safety seat.
In July 2003 he was given PBJ for negligent driving.
In 2002 he pleaded not guilty and was given PBJ for again failing to obey properly placed traffic control device instructions.
In 2005 he was found guilty of negligent driving at 2:33 AM.
In 2006 and in 2007 he was again found guilty of operating a motor vehicle with an occupant under 16 not restrained by a seatbelt or safety seat
In each and every one of these cases, Snowden got off with either a tiny fine or court costs.
There is an active case against him now for leaving unattended vehicle without stopping engine, locking ignition, removing key and setting brake. Will he plead not guilty?
In 2008, he was fined for going 84 in a 65 mph zone. In 2009 he was found guilty for failure to display his license. There is an active case against him for failure to apply for duplicate license when license was mutilated.

Previous DUI violations ended as Nolle prosequi, , a declaration made by a prosecutor in a criminal case or by a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit either before or during trial, meaning the case against the defendant is being dropped. Let's see if the best lawyers or judges in Maryland can get Snowden off this time.

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Stanford Erickson said...

Earl of Snowden

I call Carl O Snowden " The Earl' because the Governor, the Attorney General, our Mayor and the courts seem to treat him like royalty.


Perhaps because he is such an excellent role model. Alderman Kirby thinks so.

Paul Foer I appreciate your thoroughness in pursuing this story. I just wish other media would be so thorough.

I also think it is time that The Capital, which I consider an excellent newspaper for the size of community of Annapolis, needs to write an editorial calling for an investigation of why the head of the housing authority continues to be treated so royally by those who take an oath to uphold laws.

Ellis said...

He'll get off.

Yet another corrupt politician "on top of his game".

Janet Norman said...

Get this guy off the roads! He's an incorrigible hazard to all of us. The failure to have his under 16 passengers in a seat belt or car seat repeatedly is what scares me also - that's russian roulette with a kid.

P. Houston said...

You can't wear a seat-belt when you're dealing drugs, I thought everyone knew that.

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