Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : May 2006

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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
We were
fortunate the
court was
because our
mission is

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 lives."

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."

Yvette Diamond
Seeing the video
on the big screen
was incredible,
and the energy it
generated was

Yvette Diamond

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.

Robert Drummer
Our Section is
Proud to have
Branded D.U.I.,
and we hope it
will make a

Robert Drummer

"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."

Attendees Branded DUI
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 Diamond.
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Publications : Bar Bulletin: May 2006

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