(Kentucky State Senator Brandon D. Smith issued the following Letter to the Editor concerning his not so surprising acquittal of DUI. I have to take issue with one thing, if he wasn’t guilty, and most Kentuckians think he was, why would he fight so hard saying a Senator cannot be arrested while in Legislative session. In my personal opinion, he is without a doubt guilty. Everyone including myself felt he was guilty but would get off. That is the way the legal system works when you are in politics. Here is the Letter to the Editor we received. Try not to laugh too much.)
Letter To The Editor
May 24, 2015
I have taken a few days to reflect upon the outcome of the legal accusations against me and in that time, a few things have become clear. Primarily, faith will get you through the toughest trials and secondly, the truth will prevail.
I want to begin by thanking the hundreds of family, friends, constituents and strangers for their outpouring of support throughout this ordeal. There have been many naysayers, some angry and threatening, but there have been just as many supportive words, kind letters and calls, and heads held high in solidary with my family and me as we fought the untrue charges brought against me.
In January, I was pulled over for speeding in the capital of Frankfort. Of this, I am and was found guilty. It is not my first speeding ticket, I assume it will not be my last speeding ticket, and it is something anyone who spends as many hours driving as I do understandably struggles to correct. I was, however, not drunk or drinking and driving. This is undeniably clear.
As a legislator, especially one in rural Kentucky, we spend hours on the road. This particular 36 hours was spent driving to Lexington for meetings, back to Hazard to spend the last night before the 2015 Legislative Session began with my wife and youngest daughter, and back to Frankfort. I attended a full day of legislative meetings, voted on the Senate floor and then joined family as we packed up boxes for a loved one who had moved into a nursing home. For anyone who has undertaken this task, it is emotional and exhausting but well worth the effort to make those close to you comfortable. We laughed and shared stories and I made an early night of it, stopping at a convenience store before heading to my legislative apartment to get a good nights rest. Or so I thought.
I will spare you of the details of the arrest and short time at the jail because I have the upmost respect for the law and law enforcement officers. I will not say a negative thing about the arresting officer because it is not my job to judge his actions and I thank him for his service to our Commonwealth.
Surmise it to say that, knowing my innocence the whole time, I complied with every request of me and asked only for the rights allotted to every citizen of this nation. I was released within a short amount of time and taken to my truck, which had been impounded. The incident was short but I must confess, innocent or not, being in the situation was a surreal and alarming experience I hope you nor a member of your family ever have to experience.
The sequence of events that followed was equally as surreal. As a public figure, I understand that I am fair game for the media. And the media came to play. The sensational media firestorm of the accusation, motion filed by my attorney without my knowledge and subsequent removal of that motion at my request was stunning. It is not in vain that I assure you there were more important things going on in the world; In the state; In this county; Probably even in your own homes! However, this was a “top” story and because of the slanted coverage, the blowback was fierce. Hateful emails, letters, and calls bombarded my house and office. Innocent until proven guilty is a thing of the past; Guilty until proven innocent is the new normal. However, my family and friends, trusting in the man they knew at heart, took it with dignity and grace of which I am in awe and am eternally grateful.
Some, however, friends even, encouraged me to admit guilt to something I truly had not done. Admit guilt, pay a nominal fine, loose your license for a few weeks and this will all blow over they said. And, in some of my weakest moments, in times I wanted dearly to protect my family and my district, I considered it. But at last, I could not. My pride would not let me and my faith directed me out.
I am a proud man. I do not think that is a sin. I am proud of my children, proud of my wife and marriage, proud of my legislative record and two decades worth of service to the mountains and people I love. I could not let them down and I could not let lies define me. Because of this, I surrendered my license for 4 months awaiting a “speedy” trial, hired attorneys with my personal money and fought these charges.
It took the Jury less than 10 minutes to find me not guilty. Not because they were ill prepared or unsure, but because it was the evident truth. Putting your fate and reputation in the hands of 6 strangers and a judge is frightening. But my faith in God and my faith in the justice system in this country led me through those months and that day.
I owed you an explanation. Maybe you heard the story on the radio, saw it on the news, or read about it in the paper but chances are what you learned wasn’t the whole truth. As an elected official, I owe it to my constituents to be the best that I can be. As a father and husband, I owe it to my family to do just the same thing. And you have my word I will continue to do that.
Your friend and public servant,
Senator Brandon D. Smith