January 6, 2015 was the first day across the country for all newly-minted congressional houses, at both the state and federal levels, to meet for the first time. Unfortunately, former whip and Republican state Senator Brandon Smith was pulled over by state police on his way to the state Senate. It was the first time this year that the Senate would be meeting, starting the new legislative section.
The police officer clocked Senator Smith going 20 miles over the speed limit. For those unaware, that is considered reckless driving and can potentially lead to the stripping of one’s driver’s license. The officer also conducted a breathalyzer on the Senator, who then blew above the legal limit and was taken into custody.
The Senator, who is obviously guilty of drunk driving, decided that rather than face the penalties for breaking the law would do everything in his power to circumvent the law. Citing from the State Constitution, Senator Smith believes that all charges should be dropped. Section 43 of the Kentucky State Constitution states:
The members of the General Assembly shall, in all cases except treason, felony, breach or surety of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance on the sessions of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House they shall not be questioned in any other place.
This particular section of the State Constitution was added in 1891, although it seems Kentucky Senators at that time saw themselves above the law as well. Two of the Senators who helped push that legislation into law were, oddly, both murderers who shot and killed political rivals. Another of the Senators who was involved with that legislation was a Confederate officer during the Civil War. So it looks like Senator Brandon Smith is in good company.
While, this is perhaps one of the dumbest legal arguments I have seen come across a courtroom, there is the possibility that it could prevail due to the way our wonderful justice system works.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or M.A.D.D., had something to say about the issue:
He should be held accountable no matter what job he has.
I couldn’t agree more. Watch the video below to learn more.
H/T WKYT | Featured Image Kentucky State Police/Kentucky State Senate