Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Boating While Drunk, That'll Cost You Your Job, Mr. Prosecutor
account of serious consequences for a prominent lawyer and assistant district attorney as a result of boating while intoxicated:
A 26-year veteran Bexar County (Texas) assistant district attorney has resigned after spending a night at the Bandera County Jail on a boating while intoxicated charge. Jim Kopp filed a letter of resignation June 20, two days after he was arrested for the Class B misdemeanor while on an outing on Medina Lake.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Warden Jeff Carter said he pulled over a small motorboat for a routine water safety inspection and noticed its operator, Kopp, showed signs of intoxication. There were a few empty beer cans in the boat, Carter said, but no one was drinking at the time.
A few preliminary tests convinced Carter to escort Kopp's boat to shore, where he gave Kopp 15 minutes to “get his land legs back” and conducted a field sobriety test, the game warden said
“He was very cooperative and very much a good guy through the whole thing,” Carter said. “He didn't use (his position) in any way, as far as influence goes.”
Kopp, 53, is still on the county payroll using the remainder of his vacation but has not been in the office since resigning, said First Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg, who described Kopp's service to the county over the years as “extraordinary.” Herberg declined to comment on the circumstances of the resignation.
A former chief of criminal trials, Kopp most recently served as chief information officer for the district attorney, compiling databases for the DWI Task Force and other programs. Usually behind the scenes, he made a rare courtroom appearance last year to serve as lead prosecutor for the high-profile Joe Estrada Jr. capital murder case.
Seems like a pretty harsh outcome, assuming this was a first offense for Prosecutor Kopp. I realize that his role on the DWI Task Force made him a pretty prominent target, but this seems pretty extreme.