January 02, 2018 06:40 PM
A Ramsey County court judge who was arrested by St. Paul police early New Year's Day pleaded guilty Tuesday to drunk driving.
Court records show Judge G. Tony Atwal (full name Gurdip Singh Atwal) faced two gross misdemeanor counts of DWI, a misdemeanor charge of careless driving and a petty misdemeanor charge of failure to observe a stop sign.
Atwal pleaded guilty to one DWI count, and the rest of the charges were dropped. Atwal was sentenced to two years probation and 20 days of home detention/electronic monitoring.
The criminal complaint states Atwal was stopped around 12:45 a.m. Monday after an officer observed his car allegedly traveling at least 40 miles per hour in a 30 miles-per-hour zone. He then reportedly failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign at Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard.
The complaint alleges Atwal's eyes appeared bloodshot and glassy after he was stopped and that his speech was slightly slurred. When asked by the officer if he had been drinking, Atwal allegedly admitted to having two glasses of wine and a gin and tonic.
However, the complaint states his performance during field sobriety tests led the officer to believe he was under the influence. A breath test administered at 2:34 a.m. allegedly registered a .17 alcohol concentration.
According to his biography, the 43-year-old Atwal, was appointed to his position by Gov. Mark Dayton in May 2016.
Beau Berentson, the director of communications and public affairs for the Minnesota Judicial Branch, said Supreme Court Justice Lorie S. Gildea has signed an order assigning a Hennepin County court judge to the case.
Beyond that, he said Minnesota's Code of Judicial Conduct prohibits further comment on the matter.
"Minnesota's Code of Judicial Conduct – in the interest of preserving the fairness and impartiality of our courts – includes several sections providing specific prohibitions on judges and court staff from making public comments (outside of the official court record) regarding pending and impending cases, controversies, or issues that are likely to come before the court," he said via email. "As this is a pending criminal matter in Ramsey County District Court, it would not be appropriate for a judge or court staff to provide comment on the case."
Updated: January 02, 2018 06:40 PM
Created: January 02, 2018 01:32 PM
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