Branded D.U.I Premieres
On April 9, Branded D.U.I. premiered before an audience of 300 judges,
lawyers, educators and others at a special event held at the National Aquarium
in Baltimore. This powerful video, produced by the Maryland State Bar Association's
(MSBA) Administrative Law Section, the Maryland's Office of Administrative
Hearings (OAH) and Maryland's Judiciary, captures the true horror of actual
high school students' drunk-driving experiences. Branded D.U.I., which
features 11 young people candidly discussing their drunk-driving experiences,
will be shown in high schools across the state this spring to encourage students
not to drink and drive and hopefully save lives.
Hon. Robert M. Bell
At the premiere, participants gathered to debut the video and honor the star
of the evening, Yvette Diamond, an Administrative Law Judge at OAH, Council
member of MSBA's Administrative Law Section and M.C. for the event. Diamond
first offered a brief history of the creation and production of this dynamic
public service program (and her brainchild), which spans across three years. "The
video impacts young people," she declared. "It shows them the consequences
of drinking and driving and the restrictions a D.U.I. places on their daily
This message comes across loud and clear in Branded D.U.I.; to be
sure, as the video concluded, there was a moment of silence as the impact hit
the audience, followed by vigorous applause.
Diamond, who received accolades and special recognition throughout the event,
reported that the video is being sent to every high school and college in Maryland,
and that both administrative law and district court judges have volunteered
to go out to interested schools to present and discuss it. In addition, Maryland
Public Television (MPT) showed it as part of its Direct Connection program
in late-April. Diamond commended the young people featured in the video for
having the "courage to show their experiences to their peers, open up
and make a difference in the lives of others."
Seeing the video
on the big screen
and the energy it
The Honorable Robert M. Bell, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, thanked
all of the partners in this collaborative project. "In truth, the vision,
effort and devotion of Yvette Diamond made this a reality,"
Bell noted. "We were fortunate the Court was involved, because our mission
is education." Bell commended Diamond for her commitment to saving young
people, adding, "That's what it is all about."
"Branded D.U.I. is unique," added the Honorable Ben C. Clyburn,
Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland. "It gives the full perspective
of what happens when someone drinks and drives. Tonight, we renew our commitment
to saving lives."
OAH Chief Judge Thomas Dewberry expressed his pleasure with the turnout for
the premiere and thanked the Judiciary, MSBA, the Maryland State Department
of Education and the Maryland State Department of Transportation – the" four
different professions that united and committed to address this problem with
the project." He then honored Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, MSDE, Robert L. Flanagan,
MSDT, and David H. Hugel, MVA, for generously funding the project. The Aquarium
was also thanked for donating the facility, as was MPT, for production assistance.
Our Section is
Proud to have
and we hope it
will make a
"Having working on the video for so long, I thought it was great but
didn't know if I was the best barometer for gauging its success," Judge
Diamond excitedly proclaimed. "The audience's reaction at the premiere
completely blew me away. Seeing the video on the big screen was incredible,
and the energy it generated was overwhelming."
"Our premiere at the Aquarium was the perfect setting to celebrate the
completion of the film-making and jump-start the important work of using the
film to spread the word to our teens and their families," declares Robert
Drummer, Chair of MSBA's Administrative Law Section.
"Our Section is proud to have co-sponsored Branded D.U.I., and
we hope it will make a difference. Yvette was the originator and has been the
driving force behind this project for the past three years. Our hope is that
teens will identify with at least one of the students in the film, learn from
the experiences of their peers and make better choices."
"The outreach aspect of the project immediately picked up momentum,
and ever since I've received an endless stream of phone calls and e-mails from
people who want copies to take the message to kids," says Diamond. "The
whole night surpassed my wildest dreams. I have no doubt that it will stand
out as one of the most amazing experiences of my life."
|Left: Three hundred attendees pack
the Nation al Aquarium in Baltimore for the April 9 premier of Branded
D.U.I. Right: OAH Chief Judge Thomas Dewberry (left) and the Honorable
Ben C. Clyburn, Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland (Right),
Honor OAH Administrative Law Judge and Branded D.U.I. creator Yvette