Judge Ringell on Drunk Driving

by Jamison Koehler on December 11, 2011

Every morning in Room 115 of the D.C. Superior Court building, Magistrate Judge Richard H. Ringell delivers an impassioned speech about the evils of drunk driving before proceeding with that morning’s arraignments. Although he rarely changes a word, he speaks without the benefit of notes and as if he is delivering the speech for the very first time. He also shows the Australian public awareness commercial reproduced below.

We defense lawyers will occasionally roll our eyes at the speech. Eager to get to our next court listing, we have now watched this video and heard this spiel so many times we could deliver it ourselves. We also warn clients that, if their case happens to be called first, they will be subject to yet another lecture on drunk driving, beginning with his question about what they do for a living.

Although we are only too aware that Judge Ringell could have us all out of the room much earlier if he decided to forego the lengthy speech, it is hard to criticize the Judge for delivering it. No one is more delayed by the speech than the Judge himself. And, as he says, if he can influence the behavior of just one person in the room, the time spent on the speech will have been worth it.

Safe driving for the holidays.

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