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Dwyer sentenced in drunken boating, driving cases

Don Dwyer, Maryland, gay news, Washington Blade

Maryland state Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel County)

An anti-gay state lawmaker on Friday was sentenced to 60 days in jail after pleading guilty to two drunken boating and driving charges.

Retired Harford County Circuit Court Judge Emory Plitt, Jr., sentenced state Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel County) in connection with an August 2012 crash on the Magothy River in Pasadena that left him, two other adults and four children injured. Dwyer on Friday also pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol after Anne Arundel County police pulled over his car on Route 100 in Pasadena in August.

Dwyer, 55, in May pleaded guilty to operating his boat while under the influence of alcohol.

The Anne Arundel County Republican was to have received probation under the plea deal he reached with prosecutors, but Anne Arundel District Court Judge Robert Wilcox rejected it. He sentenced him to 30 days in jail and a year’s probation and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine.

Dwyer appealed the sentence, but he once again pleaded guilty to the charge in August.

Dwyer, 55, has been among Maryland’s most outspoken opponents of marriage rights for same-sex couples.

He said before lawmakers in 2012 approved the state’s same-sex marriage bill that nuptials for gays and lesbians in Massachusetts indoctrinated the commonwealth’s public school students into homosexuality.

Dwyer in 2006 tried to remove Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdoch from the bench after she found Maryland’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. The Anne Arundel County Republican in 2010 sought to impeach Attorney General Doug Gansler, who formally announced his gubernatorial campaign last month, after he announced the state would recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions.

Dwyer told the Maryland Gazette in January that then-Del. Tiffany Alston (D-Prince George’s County) and two Republican delegates who voted for the same-sex marriage bill contributed to his alcohol abuse.

The Maryland Gazette reported Dwyer must begin serving his sentence by Nov. 9, but he is allowed to serve them consecutively and on weekends.

Plitt also sentenced the Anne Arundel County Republican to three years probation on the drunken boating charge. The Maryland Gazette said the judge also ordered Dwyer to complete an alcohol counseling program, attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and agree to random testing to prove he is not drinking.

The newspaper further reported Plitt agreed to suspend a $1,000 fine against Dwyer.

25
Oct
2013

Dwyer pleads guilty to boating while intoxicated

Don Dwyer, Maryland, gay news, Washington Blade

Don Dwyer (Photo public domain)

A Maryland lawmaker who vehemently opposes same-sex marriage on Tuesday pleaded guilty to operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol.

Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel) entered the plea in connection with the August 2012 crash on the Magothy River in Anne Arundel County that left him, two other adults and four children injured. He had faced charges of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, reckless and negligent operation of a vessel, failing to register his boat and a rules-of-the-road violation.

WBAL Radio reported District Court Judge Robert Wilcox rejected the plea deal Dwyer had reached with prosecutors that would have given him probation. He sentenced him to 30 days in jail and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine.

Dwyer, 55, has been among Maryland’s most outspoken same-sex marriage opponents.

He argued before lawmakers approved the state’s same-sex marriage bill in February 2012 that the legalization of nuptials for gays and lesbians in Massachusetts indoctrinated the commonwealth’s public school students to homosexuality.

Dwyer in 2006 tried to remove Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdoch from the bench after she found Maryland’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. The Anne Arundel County Republican also sought to impeach Attorney General Doug Gansler following his 2010 announcement the state would recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions.

Dwyer, who separated from his wife of 31 years in late 2011, told the Maryland Gazette in January that then-Del Tiffany Alston (D-Prince George’s County) and two Republican delegates who voted for the same-sex marriage bill contributed to his alcohol abuse.

“That betrayal really affected me,” he said. “I was physically ill. You pour your heart into an issue like that and it’s devastating.”

Dwyer, who remains in an alcohol abuse treatment program, was to have reported to jail on Thursday.

He appealed Wilcox’s sentence.

14
May
2013

Anti-gay Maryland lawmaker charged with DUI

Don Dwyer, Maryland, gay news, Washington Blade

Maryland state Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel County)

Anne Arundel County police early on Tuesday arrested for allegedly driving while under the influence of alcohol a Maryland lawmaker who vehemently opposes same-sex marriage.

A police report that WBAL in Baltimore obtained said officers stopped state Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel County) on Route 100 near Edwin Raynor Boulevard in Pasadena at 12:42 a.m. It said Dwyer told officers he had had two beers earlier in the night at a tavern in Baltimore City.

The police report said the officer who arrested Dwyer “immediately noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath and person.” It also noted Dwyer’s speech was “very slow and slurred.”

Dwyer also failed three field sobriety tests.

Dwyer faces a charge of driving while impaired and other traffic offenses that include driving with an expired registration.

Dwyer, 55, said before state lawmakers approved a same-sex marriage bill in February 2012 the legalization of nuptials for gays and lesbians in Massachusetts in 2004 indoctrinated the commonwealth’s public students to homosexuality.

The Anne Arundel County Republican in 2006 tried to remove Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdoch after she found Maryland’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. Dwyer also sought to impeach Attorney General Doug Gansler, who is expected to declare his candidacy to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley in 2014, after he announced in 2010 the state would recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions.

Dwyer links alcohol abuse to marriage vote

Dwyer’s arrest comes nearly a year to the day after a boat he was operating crashed into another vessel on the Magothy River in Anne Arundel County. The incident left him, two other adults and four children injured.

Dwyer in May pleaded guilty to operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol. He was to have served probation under a plea bargain he reached with prosecutors, but an Anne Arundel County judge sentenced him to 30 days in jail and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine.

Dwyer appealed the sentence, but entered a second guilty plea in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court early this month. A retired judge from Harford County who was brought in is scheduled to sentence Dwyer in October.

The Anne Arundel Republican told the Maryland Gazette in January that then-Del. Tiffany Alston of Prince George’s County and two Republican delegates who voted for the same-sex marriage bill contributed to his alcohol abuse.

“That betrayal really affected me,” Dwyer told the newspaper. “I was physically ill.”

Neither Dwyer nor his office immediately returned the Washington Blade’s request for comment.

20
Aug
2013

Md. lawmaker claims marriage votes spurred alcohol abuse

Maryland Marriage Alliance, same sex marriage, gay marriage, gay news Washington Blade

Del. Don Dwyer said lawmakers who backed the 2012 same-sex marriage bill contributed to his alcohol abuse. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A Maryland lawmaker told a local newspaper last week that legislators who voted for the state’s same-sex marriage bill contributed to his alcohol abuse.

Delegate Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel County) told the Maryland Gazette in an interview the newspaper posted to its website on Saturday that he felt “betrayed” when Dels. Wade Koch (R-Baltimore County) and Robert Costa (R-Anne Arundel County) and then-Del. Tiffany Alston (D-Prince George’s County) in Feb. 2012 backed for the measure that Gov. Martin O’Malley eventually signed into law. Alston and Koch voted against the bill while it was in committee, while Costa supported it.

“That betrayal really affected me,” Dwyer told the newspaper. “I was physically ill. You pour your heart into an issue like that and it’s devastating.”

Maryland Natural Resource Police last month charged Dwyer, 54, with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, reckless and negligent operation of a vessel, failing to register his boat and rules-of-the-road violation in connection with an Aug. 22 incident on the Magothy River in Anne Arundel County that left him, two other adults and four children injured.

The Anne Arundel County Republican who has been a member of the House of Delegates since 2003 admitted to reporters the day after the crash that he was drinking before his boat collided with Mark “Randy” Harbin’s vessel. Dwyer admitted in a Jan. 8 post to his Facebook page that he is struggling with alcohol.

“In the past year I have faced both personal and professional challenges that were extremely difficult for me,” he wrote. “As a result, and regrettably so, I turned to alcohol to cope. As many of you know, this culminated in a serious boat accident in August when the boat I was operating was struck by another vessel. Though I am unable to discuss the accident itself due to the pending court case, I thought it important that I share with you the steps I have personally taken to address my problem with alcohol.”

Dwyer, who said in his Facebook post he “enjoyed beer or wine socially” before 2012, added he voluntarily entered and completed a treatment program. He said he remains “committed to attending extensive aftercare counseling” and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

“It is extremely difficult to lay bare a deeply personal issue in such a public way,” Dwyer said. “However, I believe it is the right thing to do, as I feel answerable to the folks who chose me to represent them in the legislature. I know you have been shocked and disappointed as a result of how I conducted myself. I don’t know if I am to be forgiven, but I certainly hope to regain your confidence.”

Dwyer, who also separated from his wife of 31 years in Nov. 2011, has been one of Maryland’s most outspoken opponents of marriage rights for same-sex couples.

He argued before lawmakers approved the state’s same sex marriage bill that the legalization of nuptials for gays and lesbians in Massachusetts in 2004 indoctrinated the state’s public school students to homosexuality.

Dwyer, who has introduced several measures that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman in the Maryland constitution, in 2006 tried to remove Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdoch from the bench after she found the state’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. The Anne Arundel County Republican also sought to impeach Attorney General Doug Gansler following his 2010 announcement that the state would recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions.

Dwyer did not return the Washington Blade’s request for comment about his Jan. 8 Facebook post. He wrote, however, is “committed to renewing my focus to defending personal liberty, property rights and Second Amendment rights.”

14
Jan
2013

Md. lawmaker opposed to gay marriage charged in boating crash

Maryland Marriage Alliance, same sex marriage, gay marriage, gay news Washington Blade

Authorities have changed a lawmaker opposed to same-sex marriage in connection with an August boat crash. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A Maryland lawmaker who vehemently opposes marriage rights for same-sex couples faces charges in connection with an August boat crash that left him and six others injured.

The Baltimore Sun reported on Thursday the Maryland Natural Resource Police charged Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel County) with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, reckless operation of a vessel, negligent operation of a vessel, failing to register his boat and a rules-of-the-road violation in connection with the Aug. 22 incident on the Magothy River near Gibson Island that sent him, two other adults and four children to local hospitals. The newspaper said Dwyer could face a year in jail and pay up to $1,940 in fines if convicted.

Dwyer, who has been a member of the House of Delegates since 2003, admitted during a press conference outside a Baltimore hospital the day after the crash he was drinking before his boat collided with Mark “Randy” Harbin’s vessel.

“No one, no one should be drinking and operating a motor vehicle or power boat,” he told reporters from a wheelchair while wearing a neck brace and a bandage on his left foot. “I deeply regret my actions and ask for forgiveness from the public.”

Dwyer, 54, said in February before lawmakers approved the state’s same-sex marriage bill that the legalization of nuptials for gays and lesbians in Massachusetts in 2004 indoctrinated the state’s public school students on homosexuality. He has also introduced several measures that would have amended the Maryland constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

The Republican lawmaker in 2006 tried to remove Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdoch from the bench after she found Maryland’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. He also sought to impeach Attorney General Doug Gansler following his 2010 announcement that the state would recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in D.C. and other jurisdictions.

“I am regretful that I unwisely chose to operate a boat after drinking alcohol,” Dwyer said in a statement he released to the Baltimore television station WJZ and other media outlets after the Maryland Natural Resource Police charged him. “From the beginning I have admitted my error in judgment. I am grateful that DNR has finally concluded their investigation, and I am gratified that the findings do not reflect blame for the accident on me as is apparent in the resulting citations and the fact that the other operator was also charged.”

Dwyer further noted his boat “was struck and sank as a result of being hit in the left side” during the incident.

“I sincerely wish for the continued recovery of all injured,” he said. “I look forward to resolving this issue legally and moving forward. I ask forgiveness from the citizens who have looked to me to represent them with honor and integrity in the General Assembly, and I intend to prove my personal temporary difficulties did not and will not affect my ability to represent my constituents fully and completely with character and trustworthiness in the future.”

21
Dec
2012