Man sent to prison for seventh DUI conviction

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copyright the Chronicle September 27, 2017

 

by Paul Lefebvre

 

NEWPORT — As he sifted through the records of a 49-year-old alcoholic who had recently been convicted of driving while under the influence for the seventh time (DUI-7), Judge Robert Bent appeared to be looking for a sentencing option other than the six to 11 years recommended by the plea agreement.

All the evidence of a contested sentencing here Tuesday in the Criminal Division of Orleans County Superior was in.

But as the judge shuffled records around, he couldn’t find one. What he found instead was a stiffer recommendation from the Department of Corrections that four more years be added to the minimum or bottom line of Desmond Durivage’s pending sentence. And he didn’t want to go there.

He noted that efforts had been made to help Mr. Durivage go straight, but added that alcoholism is a disease marked by exacerbation, or what he recalled the comic Robin Williams characterized as “the elephant in the room.”

The judge said he felt saddened by what he was going to impose as a sentence — “like to see a better way” — but he went along with the plea agreement and sentenced Mr. Durivage to serve an underlying sentence of six to 11 years.

While the defense was seeking a lighter sentence with more emphasis on probation, Judge Bent sided with the prosecution’s call for an incarcerated sentence.

State’s Attorney Jennifer Barrett argued that, despite opportunities, Mr. Durivage still had not learned to separate his drinking from his driving. He still remains a risk to public safety, she said.

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