Sunday, April 08, 2012


"Profiteers" and "Privateers" close in semantics and in meaning. The former meaning a person in today's society who capitalizes on a profit making opportunity. The latter a term dubbed on pirates who sailed the seas in search of loot. I am currently reading a biography (in my Founding Father quest) on the father of the US Navy: John Paul Jones. His character was impeccable. His mariner skills keen. His spirit to fight injustice unparalleled. As a Scotch sailor, he quickly joined the American bandwagon for "equality for all" versus a society of the privileged based on monarchy. Everything he did (his raiding of the English coasts in retaliation for the British raiding & burning of American eastern seacoasts), his sea battles, his diplomatic overtures in France were made on principle: to secure democracy for everyone. Yet his detractors claimed he was a "Privateer", a pirate. He had many opportunities to profit as a privateer but did not. His main goal at sea was to capture British ships for American use and secure British prisoners to exchange them for American prisoners. He faced each obstacle with dignity and ultimately overcame each one placed in his path due to his patience, temperance and passion he possessed in fighting for the just principles of equality.

My detractors call me a "Profiteer" claiming I do it for the money. Had one felony DA say it to my face. They are wrong. I go to Austin to fight unjust DWI laws. If I wanted to profit, I would do what many do (which is nothing, stay out of it) or I would be on the side of the interlock industry (the strongest DWI lobbyist when it comes to legislation) and the prosecutors because the more severe the DWI laws, the more opportunity for profit. My record is clear. In the past 4 legislative sessions I have been the most consistent obstacle to stricter DWI laws. When Texas got rid of the 10 year rule for DWIs only myself and one other attorney fought the interlock industry in Austin (they stood to profit more by removing the 10 year rule). I wish DWIs could be treated for what they really are not the overzealous, right wing moral crusade MADD has made it to be. Less than 3500 people die from DWI a year (real numbers not NHTSA's "alcohol related" 14k). This is not justification for overtaking our highway billboards with scare tactics of "Drink.Drive.Go to Jail." which is not even the law. Most people who drink and drive and are pulled over and have hurt no one. Some cop on a DWI quota pulled them over for some minor traffic infraction. They are then subjected to tests no better than what teenage girls used in the Salem Witch Hunt trials, simply put: specious evidence our courts without proper scientific training are letting them get away with. Our justice system has become a haven to these wild zealots whose aim is neoprohibition (history repeats itself). The politicians (judges) and elected DAs feel captive as the old adage goes "The squeaky wheel gets the grease." MADD representatives show up to court, bring cakes and goodies and now even sponsor chili cook offs for the DAs. Simply put: their presence is unmistakeable right down to the DAs' DWI "office policies". The reality is that this extreme sect (MADD) has consistently been ranked one of the country's worst charities (I cite Wikepedia). Those who believe one should never drink anything and drive are not the majority.

I went to law school to learn a trade where I have been blessed with talents: analytical skills, debate and speech. My character for equality and fairness led me to the fight against injustice in DWI. Nothing would make me happier than if cops started only arresting legitimate DWIs (not these pretext stops for speeding, etc. by local bars). I would do what I do no matter what it paid. I definitely would not spend my time and my own expense travelling across the country teaching other lawyers about the injustice of DWI and how best to defend it if I was only in it for profit. If I was selfish I would not choose a profession in which I am in trial the majority of the year, which includes weekends getting ready for trial. My dedication to justice in DWI has caused me intangible sacrifices of time with my family that I can never get back. Being a lawyer, there are a whole lot of other options that both pay more, involve less work and that are not vilified. In the spirit of John Paul Jones, I fight to make the world a fair place for all of us and to use his famous words: "I have not yet begun to fight."

Mimi Coffey, Sr.


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Erin Fred said...

Privateers and Profiteers; quite amazing choice of words, yeah there are both type of people in society. Thanks for your post
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