Jackson's municipal judge faces DWI charge

Friday, May 17, 2002

JACKSON, Mo. -- A municipal judge is facing a charge of driving while intoxicated and an uncertain future with the city of Jackson.

J. Patrick O'Loughlin, 51, of Jackson was arrested May 4 on U.S. 61 near Center Junction. According to a police report, highway patrol troopers were conducting a DWI checkpoint just east of Interstate 55 and spotted a black BMW make a left turn from the right lane and drive into Memorial Cemetery.

The report said O'Loughlin failed a field sobriety test and admitted to drinking at a wedding reception and trying to avoid the checkpoint. The report also said his blood alcohol content was 0.094.

The limit for DWI charges in Missouri is 0.08. O'Loughlin was charged with the misdemeanor by Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle on Wednesday.

O'Loughlin was appointed Jackson municipal judge in May 1997. Mayor Paul Sander said Thursday he was unsure how the charges might affect O'Loughlin's position.

"The city attorney hasn't made any recommendation to me about the situation," he said. "If it is needed, yes, we have a backup during this process."

Assistant municipal judge Michelle Spooler handles municipal court when necessary, Sander said.

O'Loughlin has a law practice in Cape Girardeau. A message left at his office Thursday wasn't returned, and calls to his home weren't answered.

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