Friday, July 24, 2015

Drunk Driving Déjà Vu

Kathleen Brennan appears before Judge John Payne.  Again.

In Eastern Hampshire District Court yesterday Amherst resident Kathleen Brennan, age 50, appeared before Judge John Payne for the second time in less than a year for the serious charge of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Although technically, both times, she was not actually caught driving, but simply passed out at the wheel of her red Lexus. This time, however, the incident occurred in the middle of the week (Wednesday) at 5:30 PM, in the heart of a fairly densely populated family neighborhood (Amherst Woods).



Back in December she approached me in the courtroom -- with her husband at her side -- requesting I not cover her plea deal.  Since becoming a self appointed court reporter two years ago that was the first time I had fielded such a request, although I get plenty after publication demanding removal.

Sometimes in not such a polite manner.

Brennan, with a well known Amherst DUI attorney at her side,  took a 24D disposition -- offered only to 1st time offenders.   Thus she lost her license for 45 days, paid $650 in fines/fees, attended a state run alcohol education program, and was placed on probation for one year (doesn't expire until this coming December).

She told Judge Payne she would be hiring the same attorney as before.   Judge Payne continued her case until August 20 but kept the $1,000 bail she posted in effect and made "random alcohol screening" another condition of release.

Yes in America everyone is innocent until proven guilty.  But the same could be said for Timothy McVeigh, up until he was proven guilty and executed by lethal injection; or Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who will rot in jail for the rest of his miserable life. 




30 comments:

Anonymous said...

So did you actually heed her request and not publish her 1st plea?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I live in Amherst Woods! Throw the book at her!

Larry Kelley said...

Anon 1:26 PM

Any time you see white painted over text in the body of my articles that means it is a hot link which takes you to another article. In this case (click on "second time" in the lead paragraph) it takes you back to the story I originally wrote back in December.

So NO, I deed not heed her request the 1st time. But I did downplay her story far more than I should have.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sad. Her facebook page shows her very happy with her family, etc. 3 kids, it seems. Guess they'll be walking to their friend's house now. Thanks MOM.

Anonymous said...

Do you know her or anything about her or her family? Judging people can be so unfair when you don't know the specifics of the situation. She is a kind and generous person who is dealing with many issues. That does not excuse what happened and she has made some mistakes. She knows that. Please consider what you don'k know when you say "throw the book at her" and make comments about her children. They are a wonderful family and your statements are hurtful to everyone. I know Kathleen well and she would never say a disparaging word about anyone. She is the first one to step in to support and help someone regardless of the intensity or severity of the issue.

Larry Kelley said...

I honestly hope she gets the help she so obviously needs.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you on this one. She clearly needs some help and treatment. I'm sure she's a nice person but even nice people need help sometimes.

Larry Kelley said...

BEFORE they kill someone.

I know sooooooo many people who live in Amherst Woods.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I disagree. As someone that lives in Amherst Woods and know that the streets are narrow, and in some places such as Old Farm Road have no sidewalks, I'm appalled that the person coming at me may be drunk out her mind. Go to rehab or AA, and get the help you need, but don't look for sympathy from me if you take the wheel.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 3:26, they say most killers and rapist are nice people also. She should be locked up and kids in State Homes.

Anonymous said...

Do the crime, do the time. Being a nice person is no excuse. She jeopardized her life and those of innocent victims. Her second time getting caught doing so, meaning she may have done it many more times and did not get caught. She may have problems but we all do. That doesn't excuse a person for poor judgement and stupidity. Hopefully her sentence will include mental health treatment.

Anonymous said...

Comparing a 2nd time DUI suspect to convicted terrorists is pretty tasteless. Driving under the influence is already a reprehensible crime, there's no need to exaggerate it.

Larry Kelley said...

How many Americans died last year because of terrorism? (under 25)

How many American died last year because of drunk driving? (10,000 or so)

Anonymous said...

This could have been bad, if there was a victim.

But there was not, thus this is political crime and if locked up she would be a political prisoner.

Someday, I hope this woman gets what is coming to her....having to be near someone else who is asleep at the wheel parked....and then she will understand the magnitude of what she has done.

I bet every poster here has done more, has actually driven drunk vs. just parking. Just saying.

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, like that drunk driver in Long Island who plowed his pickup truck into a limo carrying a bride to be and her bridal party, killing four bridesmaids.

Anonymous said...

Yes Larry, there you have an example of a victim of drunk driving vs. someone who was drunk, not driving, not hurting someone (woman in your blog) and having no victim. I am glad we see the dramatic difference.

How about the 1000s (10,000s) of times you have exceeded the speed limit? Speeders kill more people than drunks. Should we tie you to those killers. Less than 1/4 of driving deaths are from drunks. None of them were from this woman. Most are from speeders (like you and me) and generally stupid sober people (like most Americans).

Larry Kelley said...

You really are a ninny.

The woman in my blog WAS DRIVING DRUNK, right up until the moment she passed out.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:14, have you been drinking?

Anonymous said...

Comparing her to a terrorist is not only wrong (if you knew the law on intent) but it is so cruel and unbelievably hurtful to the family, children and the woman. Yes she made huge, stupid errors in judgement which she takes full responsibility for but you have no clue about the family or the woman. She has raised three smart, wonderful, caring children.

I know what you will say if you knew what she was doing to get better - that obviously it is not working. You have no understanding of illness and just add to the stigma. You just want the "story" in order to try to bring this woman down even further.

There before the grace of God goes thee. You have already done so much damage by even suggesting she is like a terrorist. When do you just stop?

If you knew her at all you would leave her alone and not highlight all of the negative aspects. But that doesn't matter to you or your goal in life. I just hope that someday when you do something terrible that people will not judge you so harshly as you have judged her and her character.

Again, she has screwed up but how dare you compare her to a terrorist. You have no clue whatsoever what she has done for others in a very positive way. That said, even by writing this, you will still find a way to defame this woman and her family even further.

Larry Kelley said...


A terrorist is "innocent until proven guilty." As is a drunk driver, domestic abuser, drug dealer, or any other perp arrested by an overworked police department.

Anonymous said...

When has anyone who got a DUI or a 2nd DUI been the equivalent of a terrorist? Really? Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. You are deliberately and intentionally hurting this family. Just because you think you can.

Larry Kelley said...

A person who got a DUI or 2nd DUI has always been the equivalent of a terrorist when it comes to being "innocent until proven guilty."

You're the one who is making this particular sad story have greater impact on the web by continuing the conversation.

Anonymous said...

Innocent until proven guilty is only in a court of law. I am under no obligation to consider you innocent until I'm chosen as your juror. I can consider a terrorist or anyone for that matter as guilty as sin up until the time I'm chosen.

Anonymous said...

Please. A terrorist has the objective in mind of terrorizing large groups of people, apps entire nations. A drunk driver has no such objective.

Larry Kelley said...

Dead is still dead.

booksflyin' said...

Just wait until she drives drunk again through HER OWN NEIGHBORHOOD and plows over some innocent people, maybe then we'll take this seriously. She needs to be off the roads permanently until she gets control over her life! She can reevaluate her actions during a year in Chicopee County Jail, that savage!

Anonymous said...

To all parties defending the 'lady' on this thread:

Why don't you spend your time and energy trying to get her help her rather than attempt to lessen the severity of her actions?

If you truly believe that she is a good woman with a kind family, surround her with support to overcome her tremendous issues, so that your own children aren't at risk when running around the neighborhood at 5:30pm on a Wednesday!

Take her keys, drive her home, or at least take the box of Chardonnay from her before she hops in the vehicle.

Let's look for solutions to improve our safety, instead of pursuing meaningless arguments about the nature of her infractions.

Anonymous said...

Yes. But again, Please. Knock off the terror comparisons.

Anonymous said...

The left does tend to defend criminals. "Some have made 'mistakes' in life, after all...gag.

Anonymous said...

Again, you are "innocent until proven guilty" only in court. (Where the proof is on display.).
In general, I can certainly consider a person to be guilty, even after proven not guilty in court. Ex: O J Simpson.