What the hell, Emmet?

Boyne City Gazette Publisher Chris Faulknor opines on the arrests and prosecution of former Emmet County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Duane Beach

The following is an editorial opinion piece written by Boyne City Gazette Publisher Chris Faulknor.

Chris Faulknor, Publisher
Chris Faulknor, Publisher

I’m going to get right to the point: Why in the world is Duane Beach not behind bars for a long, long time?
Duane Beach, for anyone who doesn’t know, began serving as Chief Assistant Prosecutor for Emmet County in 2006, a position he held until resigning earlier this year.

Things got a little hairy when the 62-year-old attorney was arrested on Jan. 19 and initially charged with having an open alcohol container in his vehicle and operating with a high BAC: more than twice the legal limit.
The local judge and chief prosecutor both wisely recused themselves, and as such, it was set to be heard in front of Judge Morse in Gaylord and prosecuted by Daryl Vizina of Cheboygan.
But before that pre-trial could ever even occur, Beach was again arrested on February 6th for Operating while Intoxicated and Open Container charges.
Alright, so twice in three weeks, they wouldn’t possibly let him try again, would they?
Well, on April 12, he pled guilty to driving while intoxicated and open intoxicants.
So what did driving intoxicated twice in three weeks land this guy? A year of probation, alcohol counseling, and a fine of $1,285.
Of course, this was done on the condition that he not break his probation, which included alcohol testing and substance abuse classes.
But wait, there’s more. April 30—fewer than three weeks later—Beach was in a single car accident.
According to police, an open intoxicant was found in that vehicle.
Now what the heck?
Why oh why was this allowed to happen?
This means they can re-open and re-charge his case, but in my opinion, it’s too little and too late.
Would I have gotten off that easily?
Would I have managed to drive intoxicated twice and still stay out of jail?
Well as it turns out, just a month ago, a gentleman was charged with operating while intoxicated in Charlevoix County.
Bear in mind that this is without the additional charge of open intoxicants, just the driving. He got 30 days community service, daily PBT’s (breath tests), two years of probation, and $1,325 in fines and
Tell me what I’m missing here, but I hold public officials to a much higher standard.
This man was responsible for ensuring that people who committed these very same offenses received well-deserved justice, so where is this justice?
This individual was trusted with the task of keeping our streets safe.
Being a public official means that your entire life is held up as an example.
You, the public official, should be what we all aspire to be.
How you handle your affairs personally and professionally, how you live your life, and how you conduct yourself in the world should be an example to others and done with honor.
The bar is set higher for officials because it should be.
All branches of law enforcement should certainly know and follow the laws they are trusted to enforce.
There were major mistakes made here—both violations of the public trust and violations of the very safety of the citizens.
Those responsible should be ashamed—this can not happen again.