A judicial candidate in Michigan was arrested last month on suspicion of drunken driving. Now, video footage of that arrest has been made public.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Oakland County Circuit judicial candidate Julie McDonald sat in the back of a police cruiser and complained that her potential arrest would have negative consequences on her run for office. The would-be judge says:
Is there any way–I don’t drink and drive. Obviously. I’m running for an office right now. This will fuck me up really bad.
McDonald was pulled over by Royal Oak Police Officer Brian Kucel on September 8.
During the stop, McDonald was given a field sobriety test. The available video appears inconclusive, but in his police report, Kucel says that McDonald struggled to retain her balance and failed to count backwards correctly.
“I’m nervous,” McDonald says, as she traces Kucel’s finger across the late morning sky. “That’s okay,” the officer replies.
After the allegedly failed field test, McDonald agrees to a breathalyzer test. She then blows a .102 bodily alcohol content (BAC), which Officer Kucel and McDonald both note. The legal limit in Michigan is .08 BAC.
Kucel asks, “Do you think you should be driving right now? Do you have kids? If you had your kids in the car would you be driving right now?” McDonald protests a bit but eventually replies, “No.”
After that, McDonald makes her brief plea for special treatment while in the back of Kucel’s police vehicle. The officer offers an apologetic tone and says he doesn’t have much discretion. McDonald quickly realizes her error and says, “I got it.”
After Kucel exits his patrol car, McDonald takes makes a quick phone call on her cell. She says, to someone on the other line, “I’m screwed…please come help me, please.”
In a questionnaire for the office she’s currently seeking, McDonald said she had never been convicted of a crime and that she had no substance abuse issues. In that same questionnaire, the candidate named her father, recently-retired Oakland County Circuit judge John McDonald as someone she admires.
She wrote, “He has guided me and influenced me throughout my personal life and professional career. And if elected, I will strive to be as well-respected of a jurist as him.”
McDonald’s Facebook campaign page is no longer active and in comments to the Free Press, her attorney Larry Sherman said, “Until the case is resolved, I don’t have any substantive comment.”
McDonald is running unopposed in the November election.
[image via screengrab; video courtesy Detroit Free Press]