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Oregon Federal Prosecutor Convicted of Drunk Driving

On February 1, 2013, an Oregon federal prosecutor pleaded no contest to drunk driving and entered a diversion program.

At about 1:15 a.m., on December 23, 2012, police witnessed a vehicle driving 70 mph with no headlights. The driver weaved in and out of his lane and came within a foot of slamming into another car on a Portland, Oregon freeway.

Once police pulled the vehicle over, they discovered assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Kemp La'Mont Strickland, 48, behind the wheel. Strickland claimed that he had not been drinking, but police detected a moderate odor of alcohol on his breath and that he had bloodshot, watery eyes.

Strickland initially refused to undergo field sobriety tests and was "argumentative," according to police. Strickland eventually submitted to the tests but stumbled and refused to follow an object with his eyes.

He was then arrested and taken to the Central Precinct of the Portland Police Bureau, just one block from his federal courthouse office. Strickland then refused to blow into the Intoxilyzer 8000, a machine designed to register blood-alcohol content.

On February 1, 2013, Strickland pleaded no contest to driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) and was allowed to enter a diversion program for first-time offenders. If he successfully completes all the diversion requirements, the DUII charge will be dismissed. Two weeks later, Strickland pleaded no contest to careless driving and refusing to submit to the breath test. Under Oregon law, that refusal resulted in an automatic one-year suspension of his driver's license.

It was not immediately clear if, or how, Strickland's arrest and conviction would impact his employment. He has worked as an AUSA in Oregon since October 2007, most recently prosecuting organized drug dealing case. He has also made a name for himself prosecuting sex trafficking cases.

Bill Williams, chief of the criminal division of the United States Attorney's Office declined to comment on Strickland's potential discipline, because it is a personnel matter. Strickland also declined to comment.

Source: The Oregonian

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