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Committee kills Dwyer's bill for stricter sentencing for elected officials convicted of DUI

The House Judiciary Committee shot down a proposal by Del. Don Dwyer to impose stricter sentences for elected officials convicted of driving under the influence.

The Judiciary Committee gave House Bill 733 a unfavorable report on Monday, according to the General Assembly's website.

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would have required a mandatory minimum sentence for elected officials, requiring them to be sentenced to 60 days or 30 weekends if convicted of drunken driving. It would have also required elected officials convicted of DUI to undergo inpatient and outpatient alcohol rehabilitation programs and have an ignition interlock system on their vehicle for 18 months.

Dwyer is serving a 60-day sentence on weekends for an incident of drunken boating and a separate incident of drunken driving. He faces a lawsuit stemming from the boating incident.

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His sentence also included requirements he serve three years of probation on the drunken boating conviction, go through an alcohol counseling program, attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and submit to random testing to show he is not drinking.

Members of the Judiciary committee had little to say about the bill when it was heard in February. A record of the committee member's votes was unavailable Monday.

But in written testimony opposing the legislation, the Maryland Judicial Conference said the bill raises "constitutional concerns" because it would penalize state officials differently from average citizens.

"The Judiciary believes it is important for judges to weigh the facts and circumstances for each individual case when imposing a sentence," the Judicial Conference's Office of Government Relations wrote. "Provisions that place restrictions on the sentencing judge may make the judge's job easier but prevent the judge from considering legislative intent or factors unique to the case."

Dwyer had proposed another bill this year to automatically suspend any lawmaker serving jail time from the legislature.

But when that bill, House Bill 734, was scheduled to be heard last week by the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee,

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