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Pa. man drunk in court for 3rd DUI conviction

ERIE, Pa. - Erie County prosecutors want a stiffer sentence for man they say was drunk when he was sentenced for this third drunken driving conviction.

County Judge John Garhart agreed for forgo a "mandatory" 90-day sentence for Christopher Benoit, when he was sentenced Wednesday for his second DUI within 10 years. Instead, the judge gave Benoit five years' probation and 90 days house arrest and ordered him to attend three Alcoholic Anonymous meetings a week.

But prosecutors say Benoit's blood-alcohol content was 0.16 percent — twice the legal limit for drivers — when probation officials processed him just after his sentencing.

Prosecutors want a tougher sentence as a result.

Benoit's attorney, William Weichler, tells the Erie Times-News Benoit's intoxication in court may have exhibited poor judgment, but wasn't illegal and, in fact, underscores the addiction the judge's sentence addressed.