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Judge admits she drove under the influence in April

Case continued without finding

Superior Court Judge Christine McEvoy admitted yesterday to driving under the influence in April. Superior Court Judge Christine McEvoy admitted yesterday to driving under the influence in April. (George Rizer/Globe Staff)
By John R. Ellement and Andrew Ryan
Globe Staff / June 6, 2009
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CONCORD - Superior Court Judge Christine M. McEvoy admitted yesterday that she drove under the influence of alcohol in April and apologized to her family and the "people of the Commonwealth."

Appearing briefly in Concord District Court, McEvoy, 58, acknowledged that there was sufficient evidence to convict her of drunken driving, a common legal tactic that allowed her to avoid a guilty plea. Wearing a navy blue pantsuit, McEvoy spoke in a calm voice during the brief proceeding.

"I take full responsibility" for drinking and driving on Walnut Street in Lexington on April 15, McEvoy said. "I apologize to the people of the Commonwealth, my family, my friends, and my colleagues."

According to a police report, McEvoy's eyes were glassy and bloodshot, and her speech was slurred when officers pulled her over. Another driver had spotted McEvoy driving erratically on Interstate 95 and followed her off the highway, where he alerted a Lexington police officer around 10:30 p.m., according to the police report filed in court.

McEvoy admitted drinking a few glasses of wine at a 99 Restaurant in Woburn and was heading to her home in Belmont, according to the report.

She refused to take field sobriety tests or a breath analysis test, the report said. Her license was automatically suspended for 180 days for the refusal, according to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

In exchange for her admission in court, McEvoy had her case continued without finding for a year. If she remains trouble-free, she will not have a drunken-driving conviction on her record. However, if she gets in trouble, the conviction would become active.

In court, her attorney, William Kettlewell, said McEvoy had a 30-year record of "achievement and excellence" as an assistant Middlesex district attorney and as a Superior Court judge. She has been on the bench since 1999.

McEvoy had to pay a standard set of fines totaling $665, had her driver's license suspended for another 45 days, and will be required to participate in a program for first-time drunk drivers.

Ann Dufresne, spokeswoman for the Registry of Motor Vehicles, said the length of suspension is in the hands of the judge. She said a 45-day suspension for a first-time offender with no criminal history is usual.

The Essex district attorney's office handled the case because McEvoy's brother, John, is a top prosecutor in the district attorney's office in Middlesex County, where the offense occurred.

Judge David Ricciardone said from the bench yesterday that McEvoy received the same disposition as anyone else accused of a first drunken-driving offense.

"You are neither to be given any special rewards, nor should you be given any unusual punishments under all the circumstances," Ricciardone told her.

After making her apology, McEvoy was allowed to leave the courtroom through a private door used by the judge who had just handed down the sentence, allowing her to avoid reporters waiting outside the public exit.

According to court spokeswoman Joan Kenney, Ricciardone was specially assigned to hear the case. Ricciardone is a Worcester District Court judge.

McEvoy will remain hearing civil cases only in Middlesex Superior Court, Kenney said.