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Kentucky state senator wants DUI dropped under 1891 law

By Danielle Haynes

FRANKFORT, Ky., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Kentucky State Sen. Brandon Smith wants his driving under the influence charge dismissed under a 19th-century law that prevents lawmakers from being arrested during legislative sessions.

Smith was arrested earlier this month on the first day of the state's legislative session. Officers said he was speeding and his breath smelled of alcohol.

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On Wednesday, Smith's lawyer filed a request that the case be dropped under a law in Section 43 in the Kentucky constitution. The section was added in 1891.

It reads:

"The members of the General Assembly shall, in all cases except treason, felony, breach or surety of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance on the sessions of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House they shall not be questioned in any other place."

The judge agreed to consider the motion and delayed the case.

Assistant Franklin County, Ky., Attorney David Garnett said it is "an interesting argument."

"My preliminary impression is that the 1891 constitution did not intend to give legislators blanket immunity for any act committed during the legislative session," he told The Frankfort State-Journal.

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