Richard Lee Barrett, Thrice Convicted of DWI, Drank and Got Behind the Wheel at Least 34 Times. His Probation Officers Did Nothing.

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There's no argument that Richard Lee Barrett has a drinking problem. When Grand Prairie police picked him up for drunken driving in July 2007, he already had one DWI offense on his record. A second conviction brought with it a year-long probation, which he proceeded to violate after three days by drinking and driving once again.

The punishment for his third DWI conviction, a felony under Texas law, was somewhat harsher. He spent 10 days in jail, then enrolled in District Judge Tracy Holmes' strict DWI program to kick off his 10-year probation. He did well enough in the program, but his sobriety was short-lived after being discharged into the general probation system.

Over the course of about 18 months, the court-ordered ignition-locking device on his car detected alcohol in Barrett's system 34 times. The number might have been higher, but on at least one occasion, he drove a car that wasn't equipped with an alcohol-monitoring device. He also began taking hydrocodone.

All of that was in violation of the terms of Barrett's release, and he should have been tossed back in jail. The problem, as The Dallas Morning News' Jennifer Emily detailed this morning, was that the eight probation officers he reported to during that period neglected to mention any of this to Judge Holmes.

"He didn't just slip through the cracks, he fell down the hole," Holmes said at a July hearing at which she finally sentenced Barrett to 10 years in prison.

Barrett's is not an isolated case. According to the Morning News, Holmes reviewed her cases and found 34 cases in which she wasn't informed when an offender violated probation. She was mad enough to call for an outside audit of the entire probation department, which oversees some 50,000 probationers with a staff of 450 officers.

"This is a failure of supervision in the field," she told the paper. "It's extremely dangerous for Dallas County."

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17 comments
TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Human wreckage.

Take away his license and he will still drive drunk. That's the problem with someone that's got nothing to lose - there's nothing to take that would affect him enough to make him change.

I think that I probably know way too many drunks, but I've known guys like this. Bad software - no amount of rebooting will get his hard drive unscrambled. One drink and all bets are off.

jamessavik
jamessavik

I can tell you that 12 step programs are not thrilled to see people there under court order. The only way that drunks and junkies clean up is when they get their ass completely kicked and have very little left to lose. Letting them in and out of jail and attempting to force recovery on them is like leading a mule to water. You can take him there but that doesn't mean he's going to cooperate until they are good and ready.

Angel Parkey
Angel Parkey

I work in Deep ELlum, watch hundreds every night.

2DollaHolla
2DollaHolla

DWI's are a business these days, cash flow for the state depts.

russp
russp

We have more laws than we have problems to deal with but unfortunately this is what we get for enforcement so the laws are meaningless. That's why it's ridiculous when our elected officials start yelling about a new law for an old problem (or even one of the rare new problems), they won't be enforced either. 

His second offense got him probation and his third only ten days in jail, big deal. How about strike three gets you at least a year in jail and permanent lose of driving privileges?

Also sounds like it's time for some unemployed probation officers.

Andrew Davis
Andrew Davis

We focus on the 1's caught , but what about the others? I go to bars I would say it is a good bet that there are what thousands every night .

leftocenter
leftocenter

Dang, white guy -- I thought repeat DWI offenders are only a problem when they are illegal aliens... 

russp
russp

@TheCredibleHulk 

Seize every car he is caught driving and crush it for scrap, he'll eventually run out of money or his friends will quit loaning him cars.

jamessavik
jamessavik

@russpTacticus said it in the 1st century:

The More Corrupt The Republic, The More Numerous The Laws

dingo
dingo

@leftocenter Both are problems. Both kill innocent people. 

Oh, you were being ironic. Pardon me for being so insensitive.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@leftocenter No, drunk driving illegal aliens are a problem that we shouldn't even fucking have.  A crime committed by an illegal alien is a crime that should never have taken place due to that person not being here to commit it.  That is why it is so much more infuriating.  This guy is no less a piece of shit for it.

rocks123
rocks123

@russp @TheCredibleHulk but mandatory minimum sentences are about raping the tax payer for the for profit prison industrial complex not common sense or solving societal ills.

unclescrappy
unclescrappy

@doublecheese @leftocenter Any crime committed by someone who is a Habitual Illegal Alien. (I.E. someone who has been here many years Illegally & has no intention of returning to their country) should be Automatic Maximum Jail Time with no early release. Also all costs, expenses etc if not paid by the person, should be subtracted & billed to their home country. That might get their attention when we start costing them $$$$. 

Cant understand when this country has been in a recession, our own people cant live on minimum wage jobs. But yet we can send BILLIONS in foreign aid to countries that hate us. How about a simpler solution, if we need something from you & your country. We will BUY IT and pay you for it. Otherwise, talk to the hand cause we dont care anymore.

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