Advocates Angered as Bill to Close Noah’s Law Loophole Stalls in Committee
By: Jeff Morgan
Posted at 6:19 PM at WMAR News
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The death of a young police officer in a drunk driving cash inspired Noah’s Law and got it over the finish line seven years ago. Now, without the public following of 2016, Rich Leotta is watching as another year goes by without a loophole closing.
“Each year that I’ve gone down there for many many years since we passed Noah’s Law there’s always a different excuse. Always a different excuse but always a real hard honest understanding but never a real hard honest understanding,” said Leotta.
Leotta told us stories about conversations he had with Noah. About his son pulling over drunk drivers and knowing they weren’t bad people, they just needed to get help. He believes his pursuit of strengthening Noah’s Law continues his son’s fight. “It’s a continuation of Noah’s heart, mind and thinking of how to prevent this very preventable crime,” said Leotta.
The bill would require interlock systems for anyone who gets a DUI, even if they get probation without judgment. This year, Noah’s Law has bipartisan support and was introduced by the chair of the committee it sits in. Still, it didn’t even come to a vote.
For Leotta, disappointing might be an understatement.
“When they continue doing this, I think it’s shameful to be honest, I think it’s shameful that they have and say these excuses each year and because of that, they have blood on their hands,” said Leotta.
We asked Senate President Bill Ferguson why the bill, which advocates belief is simple to pass, hasn’t really been given a chance to do so.
“This is one where the only probation before judgment that is unexpungable is this probation before judgment because of a DUI or DWI and I think this is one that talking in a committee and as a Senate overall we really believe in second chances. We believe that if you are 10, 15, 20 years after that probation before judgment and had an indiscretion as a young person, that shouldn’t stick with you for your entire life,” said Ferguson.
President Ferguson said the bill isn’t necessarily dead.
Despite the outcome, Leotta isn’t giving up. “I’m Italian, I have a hard head and I’m going to keep on going back cause Noah would want me to,” said Leotta.
A father’s fight to finish the battle his son started.