June 16th, 2010 | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Cops and Courts, CLEAN UP

Top Oregonian Editor Found Guilty of DUII

Caldwell

Robert Caldwell, editorial page editor at The Oregonian, has pleaded no contest to a charge of driving under the influence stemming from his arrest in downtown Portland last month.

According to court records, Caldwell entered the plea in Multnomah County Circuit Court on June 8. Judge Lewis Lawrence then found Caldwell guilty and sentenced him to a year-long diversion program. Oregon law also calls for a mandatory 90-day license suspension for drivers who fail a breath test.

As detailed in the police report (PDF) from his May 19 arrest, Caldwell ran his pickup into another vehicle outside the Club Rouge strip club around midnight.

Caldwell told Officer Todd Harris he'd had only two drinks about two hours before the crash, while dining with his brother at the nearby Ruth's Chris Steak House.

Caldwell's blood-alcohol content was 0.10 (the legal limit is 0.08) — prompting a volunteer for Mothers Against Drunk Driving to say Caldwell's account of the amount he drank that night was highly doubtful.

The Oregonian has never noted Caldwell's arrest in its pages, and Caldwell today declined to comment.

Interestingly, a bit more than two weeks after his arrest, Oregonian associate editor Susan Nielsen published a column in the pages Caldwell edits critical of the state's system for dealing with DUII offenders.

And today's Oregonian notes that it's likely an initiative to stiffen penalties for drunk drivers will make it onto the November ballot. That should be an interesting endorsement read in Caldwell's editorial pages.

In an added bit of context, an editor at the Bowling Green Daily News in Kentucky was recently arrested for DUII.

Not only did that paper pubish a story about it, but the editor, Mike Alexieff, resigned on Monday. Alexieff had previously argued in an editorial that it's appropriate to report the DUII arrests of public officials, saying they should be held to a higher standard.

The same should go for newspaper editors, Alexieff wrote.

“And yes, if I get a DUI, you can be assured an article about it will be in the newspaper,” he wrote.
 
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