White County JP Osborn: “I’m Not Guilty” of DWI, Says He Will Remain in Office

In response to a story I posted a few weeks ago, calling for JP Bud Osborn’s resignation after his DWI charge on Thanksgiving Day, the local paper contacted Mr. Osborn for comment.  In the Sunday paper, Osborn said was quoted as saying:

I’ll say this:  I’m not guilty.

He also said he will not resign.

This is a bit of a change of tune for Osborn, after he originally told the paper last month that he was “not highly intoxicated,” but failed to deny the charges outright (emphasis added).

The story of Mr. Osborn’s DWI was originally reported here on The Patriot.  Since then, it has become statewide news, appearing in the state paper & on multiple Little Rock television news networks.

Yesterday’s article said that County Judge Mike Lincoln refused to comment on whether he thought Osborn should resign.  His Republican primary challenger, Bill Haynie, has publicly called for Osborn’s resignation.

The paper also talked to other members of the quorum court for comment on this story.  Only one of them that was successfully contacted, Horace Taylor (District 1, Beebe), chose to call for Mr. Osborn’s resignation.

JP Bobby Burns of Beebe said he thought Osborn’s actions were unbecoming of a public official, but stopped short of calling for his resignation.

The other three JPs who were contacted–Ed Land, Kenneth Horton, and Bobby Quattlebaum–all agreed that Mr. Osborn should be assumed innocent until proven guilty, and they will not be calling for his resignation until Osborn is given his day in court on January 5th.

Now, I have always been a big believer in ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ and I do believe this is a lost value in America.  Too often we assume guilt when we have only read a headline of a story that includes few actual facts, rather speculation that is designed to sell newspapers.  However, does that principle really apply in this situation?

Is Mr. Osborn alleging that he in fact did not blow a .13 breathalyzer test?    

Or perhaps he is suggesting that the legal blood-alcohol content level in Arkansas is not really .08?  How exactly is he innocent?

I understand that, legally speaking, the case could get thrown out if the police officer failed to read Mr. Osborn his Miranda Rights, or failed to fulfill some other procedural technicality.

But before today’s story, Mr. Osborn had not even denied that he was intoxicated on Thanksgiving Day, only that he was highly intoxicated.  Why should we believe that he is innocent?

Even if the DWI charges against Mr. Osborn are dropped, he is also charged with Driving Left of Center and Failure to Maintain Traffic Lane.  Are these charges also false?

I think this situation is fairly cut and dry.  It appears that all of the JPs think very highly of Mr. Osborn’s character and do not want to be seen as judgmental, but surely we can judge his actions without casting judgment on his integrity.

Mr. Osborn broke the law.  He put the lives of our friends & neighbors in danger.  For that, he should vacate his position of leadership.  Public officials should be held to a higher standard. 

Nic Horton

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21 comments

  1. Diane

    If the judge upholds his actions , he needs to resign also, If it was one of our friends or family members we would have it stuck to us! High fines,jail time,Guilty, and higher insurance! Its not fair to everyone else, hes not God hes just a JP for goodness sake! And a Drunk at that! This isnt the only time this man has been driving drunk, he smells like he has had a few anytime you see him. Insist he resign!

  2. Garret Myhan

    “Now, I have always been a big believer in ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ and I do believe this is a lost value in America.  Too often we assume guilt when we have only read a headline of a story that includes few actual facts, rather speculation that is designed to sell newspapers.  However, does that principle really apply in this situation?”

    Yes, yes it does. It applies in every situation. If, that is, we still believe in the rule of law.

  3. DONALD L. WHEATLEY

    Why is it that any time an elected official, regardless if it’s local, state, or federal, when they are caught breaking the law, THEY ARE ALWAYS NOT GUILTY?

  4. Garret Myhan

    “So, you do not think the breathalyzer proves anything?”

    Legally, before being presented in a court of law and accepted as evidence, No I do not. The issue has nothing to do with letting him off because he is a public official. The issue is whether or not we believe in our system of justice, regardless of who the accused may be or what position he happens to occupy. American citizens who have been charged with crimes get due process, period. Is the Arkansas Patriot suggesting that Mr. Osborn should be considered guilty BEFORE he is tried in a court of law?

    • Arkansas Patriot

      I have not called for Mr. Osborn’s imprisonment; I have not called for a denial of his due process rights. I have not said he shouldn’t receive a trial.

      What I have said, as a matter of fact, is that he blew a .13 BAC on a breathalyzer test–a charge that he has not even disputed–and he should therefore resign from public office.

      You are blurring the lines between a court of law and the court of public opinion.

      I am not asking that he be charged for a crime without being given a hearing–that would be absurd. But he does not have to be convicted in a court of law before I can call for his resignation.

      Was Anthony Weiner guilty of indecent exposure? Yes. Was he proven in a court of law to be guilty? No. Was it fair for many to call for his resignation? Yes.

      Do you have issue with the breathalyzer? Do you think it isn’t legitimate or that his BAC was inaccurately reported?

      NHH

  5. Garret Myhan

    I am blurring nothing. You are calling for Osborn’s resignation because you believe he was driving with a BAC over 0.08, which is a crime in Arkansas. Therefore you are calling for his resignation because you believe he is guilty of committing a crime. But you just stated that it is “absurd” to charge him with a crime without a hearing. He has not had a hearing or been found guilty of any crime under the law (yet), so what exactly is your justification in calling for his resignation? The “court of public opinion” you are relying on to legitimize your actions is completely bogus. I suggest we let the legal system do its job and dispense with the “court of public opinion”.

    • Arkansas Patriot

      Wow, no court of public opinion? That’s quite a tyrannical thing to say, particularly from a Ron Paul supporter.

      Yes, Garret. I do believe he is guilty. I trust the police officer and the breathalyzer test more than I trust a politician who is trying to save his job. I believe the embarrassment this whole debacle has brought on the county is grounds for a call for resignation. I could call for his resignation for being a cotton farmer or a vegetarian. I could call on him to resign for any reason. You’re awfully concerned about the 4th amendment. I have 1st amendment rights to give my opinion on this issue.

  6. O.V.

    The real court of opinion will judge him at the polls regardless of what the court system determines. If he was an honorable person he would not have been drinking and driving in the first place and would not now be calling the officer that stopped him a liar by saying he is not guilty; this implies the officer stopped him for an unjustified reason and made him take a BAC test unnecessarily. He should have a trial.

  7. Garret Myhan

    Of course you are free to call for him to resign. But if you want people to take you seriously, you might consider waiting for due process. There is nothing wrong with the court of public opinion, as long as it is applied appropriately. OV is right. Public opinion is most appropriately expressed at the ballot box, not in publicly denouncing someone without proof, regardless of who you “believe”.

    • Arkansas Patriot

      Sorry, you must have misunderstood. I don’t say what I say in order to garner approval from people, or to “get people to take me seriously.” We can agree to disagree on this, but I tend to think the vast majority of people agree with my assessment here.

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  9. Garret Myhan

    I have no doubt that you think that, whether or not it’s true. If the vast majority of your readers agree that it is appropriate to assume guilt before due process is rendered, the vast majority of your readers have forgotten one of the cornerstones that protects us from tyranny. I hope they regain this knowledge in the future if you or I are ever accused of a crime.

      • Garret Myhan

        You are out of context here. I advocated valuing the court of law over the court of public opinion, a point with which I hope you agree. But I assume nothing; after reading this post and your comments, I’m not sure where you stand on this issue.

  10. Klifford

    I think everyone should realize that sometimes the court of public opinion is really just a lynch mob. I think the lynch mob is more a form of tyranny than the court of law. Sure this guy is probably guilty but let him go to court and then decide what to do according to that outcome. This reminds me of the old west when the vigilanties would try to hang someone before the marshall could arrest the person. Let the marshall do his work then we can say he needs to go.

  11. Pingback: White County JP Osborn Pleads Guilty to DWI «

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