Man Gets 99 Years For DWI Conviction

By chillinwill · Oct 25, 2008 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    Roger Dale Guess was sentenced to 99 years in prison Friday for felony driving while intoxicated, which was at least his sixth conviction. The "habitual offender," who was on parole for DWI, was sentenced by a Smith County jury after about 45 minutes of deliberation in 241st District Judge Jack Skeen Jr.'s court. On Thursday.

    The "habitual offender," who was on parole for DWI, was sentenced by a Smith County jury after about 45 minutes of deliberation in 241st District Judge Jack Skeen Jr.'s court. On Thursday. Guess, 48, Kilgore, was convicted of DWI after a trooper found him sitting in his van stuck in the mud on the side of the highway at about 2 a.m. on May 18.

    The sentencing range of two to 10 years in prison was enhanced to a 25-year-to-life prison term because he has at least two prior felony DWI convictions. Guess will have to serve 15 years before he becomes eligible for parole.

    The jurors found that Guess was intoxicated while driving on May 18 and that he had been convicted of misdemeanor DWI offenses in Tarrant County in 1988 and in Smith County in 1996. They also found Guess has been convicted of two felony DWI charges in Gregg County in 1997 and 2004. Guess is on parole until 2014.

    During closing arguments in the punishment trial, Assistant Smith County District Attorney Guy Conine said Guess was so drunk that when he exited Interstate 20, he missed the turn and drove straight off of the road and got stuck in the mud. He said although the defendant pleaded not true to his two prior felony convictions, the jurors were shown certified court documents proving he was convicted, making him a "habitual offender."

    Conine said Guess has earned a life sentence and the jurors needed to get the "very dangerous man" off the streets. He said Guess would continue to drink and drive and put everyone in Smith County in "grave danger." Guess has had his probation revoked twice and was on parole at the time of the May 18 offense, he said, adding that the defendant has had a drinking problem since the 1980s.

    "There's one way to stop him and that's by putting him in prison for as long as we can; and that's life," Conine said.

    Defense attorney Don Davidson said the jurors needed to consider three things with their verdict: the whole range of punishment, the whole evidence before them and the whole person they were sentencing.

    He said Guess has pleaded guilty to all of his other charges and has been sentenced for those cases so it was time for the jury to sentence him for this offense. He said no one was hurt when Guess ran off the road into the embankment and got stuck in the mud. He said the jurors must consider the evidence that was there and not hypothetical evidence, such as Guess hurting people in the future.

    "He has a drinking problem, no doubt," Davidson said, but Guess is a son, father, grandfather, hard worker and "a man with a big heart who helps other people."

    He said he believed it was appropriate to sentence Guess somewhere in the low end of the punishment range.

    "Does he have to kill somebody before we give him life?" Conine asked. Guess' problem has become "all of our problem," he said.

    Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Robert Johnson stopped to help Guess, who was stuck on the side of the highway. Guess said he didn't need any help and he had called someone but after Johnson smelled alcohol, he administered field sobriety tests and arrested him. Guess was sitting in the driver's seat but the ignition key was not found. Guess refused to take a Breathalyzer test. Jurors watched the hourlong video of the incident taken from Johnson's in-car camera.

    According to Gregg County records, Guess was convicted of misdemeanor possession of marijuana charges in 1996 and 2004. In Smith County, he was convicted of misdemeanor assault/family violence in 2002.

    Staff Writer
    Saturday, October 25, 2008

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  1. KomodoMK
    That's some serious sentence for drink driving. Mind you the blokes obviously a f*ck tard whose never going to learn so he deserves it. Good article. Thanks.
  2. old hippie 56
    Smith County justice systems strikes again.
  3. fiveleggedrat
    I hate drunk drivers, and any idiot who drives intoxicated; however, I feel 99 years is a bit much. I would personally slap him with 10-20.

    I want to know how people can be this fucking dumb and selfish. He obviously shows no concern for others safe and his own. He has much more right to be in jail than someone for something drug related, though. This man is a danger to the public, whereas simple possession hurts no one.
  4. Herbal Healer 019
    Damn 99 years? 4 real!?, thats way 2 excessive for the nature of the crime. tops he shuda got 5-10 years with parole w/ mandatory alcohol rehabilitation and AA. After going to prison and livin like an animal is enough to make most non violent offenders turn str8, not to mention thats alotta wasted tax dollas that cud go to gettin all the crazy fuckers & rapists off the streets
  5. Frond
    Insanity. While this man does have a higher chance of hurting someone in the long term, so do mentally unstable patients. But we don't put them away for life.

    I think we should sentence a lot of judges to life in prison, preemptively. After all, they have a higher chance than anyone for putting an innocent life in jail.

    We could solve a lot of power problems in DC if we attach a turbine to the graves of the founding fathers.
  6. runitsthepolice
    Yeah 99 years is pretty ridiculous. Imagine spending even one year in prison (as swim is sure some other swims have). Now imagine spending the rest of your life in prison, with a small possibility of parole in 15 years. What they did essentially was they killed him. The dude obviously has problems but swim would say 5-10 years tops plus mandatory alcohol/EtG testing and AA meetings for a few years after that. Swim really don't think the 99 year sentence is justified unless he killed someone, ran from the cops, and maybe kicked a baby before they got him in cuffs. Just because he could've done that doesnt mean he needs to be preemptively punished.
  7. Herbal Healer 019
    for his sake i hope the dude is smart enuf to appeal his sentence, or hes fucked
  8. MiMoMo
    This is surprising, as SWIM was under the impression that drunk driving was perfectly legal in the great state of Texas. In this case of drunk driving, the prison sentence of exactly 99 years reminds SWIM of the popular "99 bottles of beer on the wall" song. Perhaps more appropo to the Forum would be the lesser known variant of "99 sacks of crack on the wall". Seriously now.

    Application of '3 strikes' clause and 'habitual offender' status to obtain 'life behind bars' sentencing is intense. For it to be applied to nonviolent crimes is more so. Although it can be argued that drunk driving is indeed a violent crime in its horrible potential. We are talking 6 dwi's here and its said that for every dwi, the offender has probably driven drunk about 500 times. But maybe not.

    In today's courts, society views drunk driving on par with sexual crimes. In fact, the NY State prison system now houses DWI's together with sex offenders at their GOWANDA facility. The current thinking is that both behaviors are common mental maladies sharing hopelessness in any real recovery.

    SWIM has seen repeat DWI offenders get off scot free, even after fatal crashes. At the same time, SWIM has seen drivers sent to State Prison for only their 2nd DWI, despite no accident whatsoever. DWI sentencing ranges all over the board, sending a mixed message, other than to get the best representation possible.

    SWIM's thinking is that Parole dropped the ball here, obvioulsy not monitoring this guy. So, he fell into the biggest trapoff of all, 3 strike Louie. And they hit him out of the park to save face. Usually with no keys in the ignition and no proof of him actually driving or disposing of the keys and no proof of intoxication (refusing breathalizer), there would be no case. Heck, it used to be that one could not be convicted of murder if no body was found. No more, in today's shifting sands anything is possible. They don't need no stinking evidence, you looking guilty is enough! And doesn't that mugshot prove he's guilty, oh yeah.

    What has the world come to if an ethanol based society sends an imbiber of legal ethanol beverage to prison for life. A self hatred of sorts?
  9. Frond
    The great State of Texas probably wants to make an example of this. Changing policy, changing tolerance of DWI. Yup, let's get all of those dangerous drunks off our streets before they all kill our kids by ramming into school buses in the morning.

    Did you know that your typical standard-issue school-bus (forgot the model name) has a gas tank that's conveniently poised to explode in the case of a direct impact just behind the front passenger door? (well, maybe not now, but it did at the time I was on one).

    But of course, we shouldn't sue the bus manufacturer and get our kids out of those yellow deathtraps, no no no! We should send more drunks to jail. Where they belong. With rapists and child molesters, of course.

    But hey, let's open more bars too while we're at it!
  10. El Calico Loco
    This guy repeatedly drove while completely demolished. The frightening thing is the way governments in the US have made the level of blood alcohol considered "drunk" so low that a lightweight might show up positive from only a couple of drinks. It saddens me to think that someone might go to prison for decades because they habitually have a couple of glasses of wine with dinner.

    Granted, these individuals probably won't do anything dangerous to get themselves pulled over...but the principle and precedent are there.

  11. enquirewithin
    99 years for drunk driving! What a repressive place Smith County must be. There must be some better way of dealing with this person.
  12. Routemaster Flash
    Christ, I'm all for stiff sentences for drunk-driving because it can of course lead to people getting killed - but haven't plenty of people who really HAVE killed people, in some cases deliberately, got much lighter sentences than this? Mind you, this is a country where cops can open fire without warning on some guy because they don't like the look of him, and walk away scot free... :thumbsdown:
  13. bubbly nubs
    I'm also against drink driving but 99 years is a bit too long. When I say a bit too long I mean way too long. Like a few people have already said 10 years should be enough.
  14. MiMoMo
    People who are age 40 and older have lived through a time when drunk driving penalties were MUCH lighter if not practically nonexistent. During this 'Stone Age', many DWI/DUI offenses might have been accumulated with little consequence. Then, when the laws stiffened, that one new additional charge on top of all the old priors now painted the old offender into an awful corner. Suddenly, the 'Ice Age' cometh and all these old drunk driving 'dinosaurs' get caught up in the legal net of 'habitual offenders' with multiple felonies against them. And we all know what happened to the dinosaurs in the Ice Age....EXTINCT

    Back when the American entertainer Dean Martin was alive, he had customized license plates, the vanity plates reading 'DRUNKY'. Just try that now~!~

    More than anything, this points to taking every possible opportunity to prevent felonies from accumulating on one's record, either by plea reduction, petitioning clemency, pardon, disability or expunging from record. The trend is leaning toward quicker and easier classification as repeat (habitual) offender, hence unappealable mandatory extreme sentencing. This 'third strikes and you're out' legal analogy to baseball is frightening when applied to Non Violent offenses. What about nine innings?
  15. old hippie 56
    swim tries really hard to stay out of Smith county, only two counties over from my locale. Ought to try that book I reading "Smith County Justice".
  16. snapper
    So this begs the question, why did he have access to a car in the first place. They said nothing about having pulled his license, driving someone else's vehicle, etc. If they leave someone with this pattern of behavior with legal access to a vehicle and driver's license, isn't that sort of like leaving a junkie in a room with some dope and then jailing him when its gone ? Maybe that part was just omitted.
    Regardless of the above, the sentence is stiff, even for DWI which SWIM feels is a heinous crime.
  17. MiMoMo
    The insulting disparity in DWI sentencing reflects disrespect to the value of human life, an ugly discrimination based on political winds and campaign payoffs. The fact that the same criminal circumstance can receive sentencing ranging from mere probation to life imprisonment is proof positive that such judicial discretion is based more on financing than facts.

    An immediate mandate for alcohol ignition interlocks for all cars and trucks, both new and used, would knock the feet out from under this grim reaper dressed as drunken driver. Mechanically linking the driveability of a vehicle to the intoxication of the driver would render these creative judicial gymnastics extinct. Unfortunately, the legal business built on profiting from tragedy won't allow it.
  18. cc2792
    Well, been pulled over for littering a cigarette butt, failing to use a turn signal to change lanes (no one was in the other lane), and for not braking completely.
  19. cannabis-sam
    swim thinks all cars should be fitted with breathalisers so they won't start if some one is over the limit.

    Although swim does drive stoned swim thinks he is just as safe driving stoned (as he usually drives slower and is a lot heavier on the breaks) swim drives a bike and in swims opinion when driving a bike he only puts himself at risk and not other drivers. Swim would never drive drunk. Also if swim is too stoned he will not drive.

    99 years is harsh though why not just give him a lifetime ban from driving?
  20. Routemaster Flash
    YOU might think you're fine to drive; doesn't mean you are. And cannabis is a pretty easy drug to test for (remember, it stays in your hair) so if you were to get pulled over for any reason and a cop suspected you were stoned, you could get done for 'drug-driving', which courts are (very rightly) starting to come down on very hard in many areas. Merely driving slowly does not make you a safe driver, in fact it can be very dangerous if all the traffic around you is going a lot faster.

    Being banned from driving doesn't automatically stop you getting in a car and driving, does it?
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