Rhode Island Criminal Defense and DUI Lawyer James E. Smith passes along this news item:
By Amanda Milkovits
Journal Staff Writer
WAKEFIELD, R.I. — Richard “Robin” Foote, the father who lobbied for stricter enforcement against traffic offenders after his son was killed, pleaded no contest to driving under the influence Thursday morning in Fourth Division District Court.
The other two charges of reckless driving and refusing a chemical test were dismissed. Foote gave a halting statement to the court in which he accepted responsibility for his actions.
“I would like to say that in trying to champion my son’s cause, I had a serious lapse in judgment. As a result, I unfortunately became part of the problem that I have been working so hard against in these months,” Foote said softly as Judge Mary McCaffrey looked on.
“I take this matter very seriously. I accept full responsibility for my actions,” Foote continued. “It’s evident to me anyone can get caught up in conduct that compromises themselves and others. I think everyone has to be vigilant and obey the laws.”
Foote’s voice cracked as he spoke, and his lawyer, former attorney general Jim O’Neil, put his hand on Foote’s back to comfort him. Foote told the judge that he apologized to the teenage girl whose car he had chased on Dec. 2.
On Dec. 2, the Charlestown police arrested Foote on charges of drunken driving, reckless driving and refusal of a chemical test. A 16-year old girl told the police that Foote had chased her car and frightened her. Foote said he followed the girl because he believed she had run a red light at the same intersection where his son Colin was killed in May by a woman who also ran the red light. That woman, Laura Reale, had multiple driving infractions on her record. She is due to be sentenced for Colin’s death Dec 17.
Charlestown Police Chief Jack M. Shippee said in a statement that the police took no pleasure in Foote’s arrest and conviction. While the police appreciated that Foote took responsibility for his actions, Shippee said in a statement that there was a 16-year-old victim who was “being chased and terrorized” by Foote. And Shippee said, there was the “very real possibility that this incident could have had an extremely different and tragic outcome.”
McCaffrey ordered Foote to pay a $100 fine, perform 10 hours of community service, and attend DUI school.
Foote is also losing his license for three months. After sentencing him, McCaffrey said, “Good luck to you, Mr. Foote.”
O”Neil walked Foote past reporters into a waiting SUV. “It’s an incredible tragedy,” O’Neil said afterward of what the Foote family has endured since Colin was killed in May.
“It’s beyond what many of us can begin to imagine, the stress they’ve been under since last May. These folks have been through pure hell,” O’Neil said.
ALWAYS SPEAK WITH A LAWYER BEFORE SPEAKING WITH THE POLICE!