Judge uses Jalen Rose sentence to send a message about drunken driving

Despite his philanthropy and clean criminal record, former NBA player Jalen Rose is going to jail as a statement to the community, a judge said Wednesday.

“There lies the answer to drunk driving,” Judge Kimberly Small told a packed courtroom in 48th District Court in Bloomfield Hills. “Send a message that there will be serious consequences.”

On Tuesday, Rose will report to the Oakland County Jail to begin serving a 20-day sentence for first-time drunken driving. He will likely spend his days in a one-person cell and could shave a few days off for good behavior, officials said.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard declined to describe where Rose will be placed, except to say he will be in a secure cell instead of in the general population. Such practices are standard for well-known inmates like Rose, now an ESPN basketball analyst.

Rose, 38, will be granted one day of good time for every seven days he serves, meaning he could be released as early as Aug. 18.

Rose’s attorneys accused Small of abusing her discretion. Most judges in metro Detroit and nationwide sentence first-time offenders to time served or a few days in jail if their blood-alcohol level is above 0.17%, a two-day Free Press report published this week showed.

Rose, a former University of Michigan basketball star who spent 13 seasons in the NBA, was arrested March 11 after he crashed his Cadillac Escalade on Walnut Lake Road in West Bloomfield. He registered a 0.08% on a preliminary breath test at the scene and later registered 0.12% in a blood test.

Under Michigan law, 0.08% is legally drunk. He pleaded guilty in May to one count of driving while under the influence, a 93-day misdemeanor.

“We have two crimes here,” Keith Davidson, Rose’s California-based attorney, said after the sentencing. “What my client did, and what happened here today. What we have is an elected judge legislating from the bench. What we saw today was a miscarriage of justice.”

Small allowed Rose to remain free until Tuesday to celebrate his grandmother’s 93rd birthday over the weekend. Rose also will be on probation for a year, but can report long distance from California, where he now lives.

On Wednesday, he told Small that he had been “humbled and humiliated by this process.”

“I have no one else to blame for endangering the community,” he said.

But Small, waving a stack of newspaper clippings about drunken driving deaths, said, “These are the most senseless, preventable deaths. I have no doubt you’re never going to do this again, but I wonder why you did this in the first place.”

via Freep

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