Monday, September 12, 2022

Four Years for Fourth DUI Offense

Madison County Circuit Judge Steve Ratcliff sentenced former DHS Communications Director to serve 4 years in prison for a fourth-offense DUI on September 6.  


 

Blanton was arrested on July 10, 2021 for a DUI.  He was convicted of DUIs in June 2021, May 2014, and July 2004. However, each previous conviction was classified as a first-offense DUI.  He previously served as the Public Relations Director at Ole Miss but resigned the position in November 2015. He is 58 years old.

 Clad in orange, a somber Blanton walked into the courtroom accompanied by a deputy as a dozen friends and family watched. Several addressed the Court in support of Blanton. 

Attorney Shawn Guy asked for leniency. He said Blanton has transformed since he met him over a year ago.  He asked Judge Ratliff to place him under the supervision of drug court and "significant house arrest."  Bob Sallenger (sp?) said he knew the defendant for a long time.  He said he was Blanton's sponsor in Alcoholics Anonymous.  He and Guy said Blanton attended AA meetings religiously for over a year and was taking his sobriety very seriously.  They said he was not the same person he was when he got his fourth DUI.  

Blanton spoke for himself in a steady voice.  He served 25 years as an officer in the military.  He deployed six times to Iraq and Afghanistan.  He endured four IED strikes that resulted in casualties.  He returned to Afghanistan as an adviser after his service was completed. 

He said "I have always tried to live an honorable life" but "despite my efforts to live an honorable life, alcohol destroyed it all." Blanton said his drinking began in 2012 and resulted in "four indiscretions that brought me here. Despite spending 25 years fighting for your rights, I can never vote or bear arms."  He said the arrest made him get help and he has been sober for 450 days.  Breaking down at the end, he said drug court would allow him to build an honorable life.  

Assistant District Attorney Ashley Allen did not address the Court. 

 

Judge Ratcliff solemnly heard it all but said "there has got to be some type of accountability".  Reading from the police report, Judge Ratliff said Blanton ignored police, swerved in and out of traffic, and refused to take a breath test.  A blood test reported his BAC at 0.216.  His previous convictions were classified as first-offense DUI's even though the third one should have been a felony.  Judge Ratcliff pointed out that Blanton was convicted for his third first-offense DUI two weeks before his fourth arrest. 

 Blanton faced a prison sentence of two to ten years and a fine of $3,000 to $10,000.  The District Attorney made no sentencing recommendation. 

The Court sentenced Blanton to serve 10 years in prison but suspended six years of the sentence.  Judge Ratliff fined him $3,000 and ordered him to pay $552 in court costs.  

Kingfish note: A fourth-offense DUI is considered to be a "25% crime" so Blanton will probably serve only a year in prison. 

 

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope those drinks that led to his 4th DUI offense were good ones.

Anonymous said...

He can be honorable in jail. He should have gotten 10 years. Think of all the times he endangered lives. I like to drink beer myself. 51 years old and have never gotten a DUI. No excuse for it.

Anonymous said...

Those were some very expensive cocktails. Fortunately he didn't kill someone, as he likely was intoxicated almost every time he got behind the wheel.

Maybe he can buy "pruno" in prison.

Anonymous said...

Thankfully no ne was hurt and hopefully this man gets his life back on track.

Anonymous said...

Drink all you want people, just stay home.
Is that too much to ask?

Its is ridiculously selfish to put others at risk for your own selfishness.

Anonymous said...

Man’s inhumanity to man. Blessed that he has a sponsor & can continue with recovery via AA meetings & personal reflection for the balance of his life!

Anonymous said...

😂 he should’ve stayed home and smoked some legal THC flower from the CBD store, instead! 🤣

Duffer said...

I lost my mother to a drunk driver. She stayed in/out of intensive care for eight months. My siblings and I were at her bedside 15 hours of every day. We suffered and we watched her suffer. The sentence he got was too light!

burton39110 said...

Addiction is a terrible thing and this is one of the consequences. I hope he has gotten help for his and everyone else’s sake. He can still be an honorable man.

Anonymous said...

Nothing good comes from alcohol.

This man has seen death and destruction. Maybe he has some demons he just cannot control.

I think Judge Ratliff made a good call in this one. I hope the defendant got his ass chewed on for ignoring the police. That's unforgiveable.

Anonymous said...

@ "I like to drink beer myself. 51 years old and have never gotten a DUI. No excuse for it."

The real question is not whether someone got a DUI, but whether he drove under the influence.

Anonymous said...

"I can never vote or bear arms." I couldn't care less if you can never vote or bear arms....I just hope you can't ever drive again.

Anonymous said...

When has resisting arrest or trying to elude police ever worked out? If he'd just pulled over, the judge may have been more lenient and gone for the house arrest option.

Drinking clearly wasn't the friend he thought it was, and he got enough breaks to think about it. Good thing he didn't hurt anyone.

Thank you for your service and for getting help.

Unknown said...

12:49 Exactly. Probably everyone who drinks has certainly impaired, if not over the illegal limit.

Krusatyr said...

Park the car, call a cab or Uber. Cost $25 to $50 and you still had a good time.

In my early twenties salad days I went to bars twice a week for two hours a night, sipped two drinks and left, once carrying a raving drunk friend over my shoulder, kicking air and cursing, because I would not let him drink more or drive his car.

Anonymous said...

Driving under the influence as provided in Sections 63-11-30(5) and 63-11-30(12) (d);

Felony DUI's are considered to be violent crimes so there fore M. Blanton will serve 85% of his sentence.

He will do a little over 3 years

Anonymous said...

11:18: Yet

Anonymous said...

Are you sure you didn’t accidentally post a picture of Otis Campbell of Andy Griffith fame?

Anonymous said...

"I can never vote or bear arms."

Should of thought about that before you got all your DUI's. What a dumbass.

Anonymous said...

Felony DUI is not one of the 22 disenfranchising crimes in Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

PSA: there is this new thing call Uber

Anonymous said...

1:30, so eloquently stated. Kudos.

Anonymous said...

10:05 - Surely you jest and are not giving Kudos to this...

"Probably everyone who drinks has certainly impaired, if not over the illegal limit."

Everyone has impaired?

There IS no illegal limit. It's called a legal limit.

Please rethink your nomination and awards program.

That'sMisterDeplorableToYou said...

Not like the good old days when the cop would just follow you home, take your keys, and you could pick them up at the station the next day.

Anonymous said...

"A fourth-offense DUI is considered to be a "25% crime" so Blanton will probably serve only a year in prison." By then he'll just be short of being truly dried out. Maybe he can stay longer when he gets his 5th DUI, which he will do.

Anonymous said...

2:06 PM -- stick to being a non-lawyer and you will not look stupid making statements related to google searches

Anonymous said...

Living up to the Old Miss expectations??

Anonymous said...

I see the crime as the system, treating DUI's as 1st time offenses, did he really lose a driver's license for any? Remaining employed while a drunk is another issue. The little bottles they sell in the Louisiana inconvenience stores are not for those who drink just a little.

Stocking Stuffers said...

"The little bottles they sell in the Louisiana inconvenience stores are not for those who drink just a little."

You're right. They're for everybody who attends weekend football games and mixes a drink with Coke, on the road. Years ago we only saw them on airplanes.

Why do you think they're on display at the checkout counter at all the liquor stores? "Ah, and lemme have eight of those little Jacks".



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