Jalen Rose is headed to jail for 20 days.
Judge Kimberly Small, known for her tough stance on drunken driving, ordered the former NBA player and University of Michigan basketball star to serve 93 days in jail, but she suspended all but 20 of those days.
Small, during a 40-minute sentencing hearing in 48th District Court in Bloomfield Township, told Rose: “You’re not here because you drank. I have no problem with that. Have at it. I do mind when you get behind the wheel of a two-ton vehicle and use it as a weapon against the rest of us.”
After the sentencing, Rose’s California-based attorney, Keith Davidson, accused the judge of abusing her power.
“We have two crimes here” what my client did, and what happened here today,” he said. “What we have is an elected judge legislating from the bench. What we saw today was a miscarriage of justice.”
Davidson said Rose’s legal team is contemplating appealing Small’s sentence. An Oakland County Circuit Court judge can overturn Small’s sentence if it can be shown she abused her discretion. “We’re considering all the legal possibilities,” Davidson said.
Rose will report to the Oakland County Jail on Tuesday to be housed with 1,200 other inmates.
Defense attorney James Burdick had pleaded with the judge not to send Rose to jail, noting the numerous contributions he has made to the community.
“Jalen Rose’s whole life has been about community service,” Burdick said. “He has accepted his responsibility from the very first day. The most difficult thing Jalen has had to do is sit down with his young children and explain what daddy has done.”
Rose, in a brief statement, said he has been “humbled and humiliated by this process.”
“I have no one to blame but myself for endangering the community,” he told Small.
Rose, 38, was arrested March 11 in West Bloomfield after crashing his Cadillac Escalade on Walnut Lake Road, west of Middlebelt. No one was injured in the single-vehicle crash.
Rose registered a 0.08% on a roadside Breathalyzer, which is the legal limit to be considered drunken driving. Later, a blood test showed a level of 0.12%.
Rose pleaded guilty to a single count of operating a vehicle while under the influence, a 93-day misdemeanor.
Small received several letters from community leaders, including Detroit Mayor David Bing, asking her to consider Rose’s long history as a role model and champion of inner-city youth. Rose has long funded athletic and educational programs, including the soon-to-open Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a charter school in northwest Detroit. He also helped fund new surgical facilities for a hospital in the Congo.
Bing, in his letter to the judge dated Monday, said he has known Rose all of his life. Bing wrote, “Judge Small, for what it’s worth, I fully believe Jalen was being truthful to me when he stated, ‘I will never drink and drive again or ever be in any other court for any violation of the law.’ ”
The probation department, in its report, did not recommend jail time, Burdick said. Small responded: “The people have hired me, not my probation department.”
As the Free Press reported Monday, Small has a record of sending first-time drunken drivers to jail, often for days or weeks. Her average sentences far exceed those of her peers, who often order first-time offenders to serve probation and perform community service.
Small said people hire attorneys in an attempt to stay out of jail, but it’s her job to send a message.
“There lies the answer to drunk driving,” Small said. “Send a message out there that there will be serious consequences.”
Rose is a professional basketball analyst for cable sports giant ESPN.
If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Michigan contact Daniel Ambrose at (248) 624-5500