Friday, October 10, 2003

Serial DUI driver kept in prison

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEBANON - A Warren County judge has refused the request of a notorious drunken driver to be released from prison early.

Common Pleas Judge James L. Flannery on Friday denied the request of Curtis Sears, 45, of Dayton, Ohio.

Acting as his own attorney, Sears last month asked to be freed from a privately run Ohio prison for drunken-driving offenders. He had begun serving a four-year term there in 2002, following his 25th DUI charge. None of the charges involved crashes.

The most recent violation occurred Sept. 20, 2001, when a Warren County sheriff's deputy stopped him for weaving in Union Township.

In his motion for early release, Sears argued that he had completed substance abuse counseling and education programs, that he would be able to function as a law-abiding citizen, and that he wanted another chance "to straighten out his life."

But in his decision, Flannery noted Sears' extensive DUI record, along with escape, vandalism and several driving-under-suspension offenses.

The judge said Ohio law strives to protect society and punish the offender. "It is crystal clear that the only way to do so here is to incapacitate the defendant by continued incarceration," Flannery said.


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