Marion Barry Acquitted of Drunk Driving

The Associated Press
Wednesday, June 13, 2007; 6:50 PM

WASHINGTON -- Former Mayor Marion Barry was acquitted Wednesday of drunken driving and other offenses stemming from his arrest last year near the White House.

Barry, now a District of Columbia Council member, had been charged with driving under the influence, operating a vehicle while impaired, driving an unregistered vehicle and misuse of temporary tags.

Secret Service agents stopped Barry's car early Sept. 10, 2006, and said he stopped at a green light and drove through a red one. The agents testified that Barry smelled of alcohol, was stumbling and had red eyes and slurred speech.

The 71-year-old council member, who served six months in prison after he was videotaped smoking crack in a 1990 FBI sting during his third term as mayor, said he was not drunk or using drugs.

His attorney, Frederick Cooke, said the problems that led to Barry's arrest were the result of his age and medications he was taking for diabetes and high blood pressure.

In his ruling, D.C. Superior Court Judge Richard Ringell said he could not find beyond a reasonable doubt that Barry was intoxicated. He noted that a breath test later in the evening registered a blood-alcohol content of .02 percent, well below the legal limit of .08 percent.

Ringell said that all the officers' actions were proper, but that their finding of his impairment met a standard different from what he must use in a court of law.

© 2007 The Associated Press