Rep. Cherelle Parker's DUI sentence upheld

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State Rep. Cherelle L. Parker was denied a final appeal of a 2011 conviction for driving under the influence. (File photo)

As she knocks on doors and circulates petitions in her candidacy for Philadelphia City Council over the next 10 days or so, State Rep. Cherelle L. Parker may find herself having to campaign without a driver's license.

Parker, who is running to fill the Ninth District seat of her former boss and mentor, Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco, was denied a final appeal of a 2011 conviction for driving under the influence.

That means Parker will have to serve her original sentence: spend three days in jail, pay a $1,000 fine, take a driver-safety class, and go without a valid driver's license for one year.

Parker, who represents the 200th District, which includes parts of Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill, was arrested April 30, 2011, after officers said they spotted her driving the wrong way on Haines Street in Germantown. The officers said she smelled of alcohol and had trouble getting out of her state-owned Jeep Cherokee, and had no license, registration, or insurance card.

Parker testified that she was never on Haines Street and denied telling the officers she had two beers and a couple of chocolate martinis at Club Champagne in Germantown.

The case was initially tossed out by Municipal Court Judge Charles Hayden, who rejected officers' account of the traffic stop. The charges were reinstated when it was revealed that Hayden and Parker were Facebook friends and Hayden should have recused himself.

In a second trial, Parker was convicted.

Parker's attorney, Joseph Kelly, has appealed the charges four times over four years. In an order dated Tuesday, the state Supreme Court denied Parker's final appeal.

Parker has until March 10 to collect petition signatures and file to run for office in the May 19 Democratic primary, which she is expected to win.

Kelly said he was asking the Attorney General's Office whether Parker could do her 72 hours of jail time in June.

Kelly said in a statement, "The representative respects the court's decision, and will be complying in full with their decision. She looks forward to putting this incident from four years ago behind her, and will not be commenting further on this matter."


jterruso@phillynews.com

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