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Body-Worn Camera Records High-Profile Federal Prosecutor Presenting DOJ Identification During DUI Collision Arrest

by Ethan Kim
5 comments
Federal Prosecutor DUI Arrest

Upon arriving at his residence to investigate an alleged hit-and-run incident, Joseph Ruddy, a distinguished federal prosecutor specializing in narcotics cases, appeared to be so inebriated that he could hardly maintain an upright position. He was seen leaning on the tailgate of his pickup truck for support.

Nevertheless, Ruddy had the presence of mind to have his Department of Justice business card at the ready when the authorities arrived.

“Is this what you’re offering me?” questioned the attending officer, further warning Ruddy about the ramifications when the footage from the body-worn camera becomes public.

The captured video, subsequently obtained by The Big Big News, indicates Ruddy’s seeming attempt to mitigate the consequences of a Fourth of July accident. He stands accused of hitting another vehicle under the influence of alcohol and fleeing the scene.

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Despite the charges levied against him, Ruddy continued his legal duties for an additional two months, representing the United States in court as recently as last week. He was instrumental in the formation of a large-scale task force targeting maritime cocaine smuggling two decades ago.

Only a day after The Associated Press questioned the Justice Department regarding Ruddy’s current employment status, he was withdrawn from three ongoing criminal cases. Although not confirmed to be suspended, he was relieved from his managerial role at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa on July 11, and the matter has been forwarded to the Office of the Inspector General for further investigation.

In a statement, a Justice Department spokesperson asserted that the department holds all its personnel to the highest ethical and professional standards.

Legal ethics professor Kathleen Clark of Washington University in St. Louis opined that the Inspector General’s inquiry would likely explore whether Ruddy attempted to exploit his official position for personal advantage.

Ruddy’s blood-alcohol level was found to be 0.17%, which is twice the legal limit. He faces charges of driving under the influence causing property damage, a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a potential prison sentence of up to one year. Notably, he was not charged with fleeing the scene of the accident, despite witness accounts and his own admissions.

Neither Ruddy nor his legal representation have responded to requests for comments.

Ruddy is renowned in law enforcement circles for being a key figure in Operation Panama Express (PANEX), a joint initiative targeting maritime cocaine smuggling involving multiple federal agencies. Intelligence from PANEX contributes significantly to drug interdictions by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Ruddy, a former Ironman triathlete, is also noted for his work ethic and courtroom prowess. However, his office primarily prosecutes low-level traffickers, often from Central and South America, who are not always guaranteed the same due process rights as those within the U.S. boundaries.

Research by Ohio State University’s Interdiction Lab revealed that the median sentence for maritime drug traffickers prosecuted in Tampa was 10 years, longer than any other jurisdiction in the United States.

Two months after his arrest, Ruddy ratified a plea deal for Flavio Fontes Pereira, a Brazilian national caught with a substantial amount of cocaine off the coast of Guinea, in West Africa. Ruddy is scheduled to appear in court for his own case on September 27, accused of colliding with an SUV at a traffic signal and fleeing the scene.

Eyewitness accounts describe Ruddy’s reckless behavior, confirming that he failed to stop after the collision and seemed to drive erratically.

When law enforcement officers located Ruddy at his home in the Temple Terrace suburb, they found him visibly impaired, with physical signs suggesting extreme inebriation. Field sobriety tests further substantiated these observations.

Upon being questioned about his actions, Ruddy responded in a slurred tone, claiming he did not perceive the gravity of the situation.

“You struck a vehicle and fled the scene. You likely didn’t realize you had collided with another vehicle because you were intoxicated,” said the questioning officer.


Reported by Goodman from Miami. For inquiries, contact AP’s global investigative team at [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about DUI arrest of federal prosecutor

Who is Joseph Ruddy?

Joseph Ruddy is a high-profile federal narcotics prosecutor known for his work on maritime cocaine smuggling. He was instrumental in forming Operation Panama Express, a large-scale task force involving multiple federal agencies.

What are the charges against Joseph Ruddy?

Joseph Ruddy is charged with driving under the influence causing property damage, a first-degree misdemeanor. He stands accused of hitting another vehicle while under the influence and fleeing the scene.

What role did the body-worn camera play in this incident?

The body-worn camera worn by the attending police officer captured footage of Joseph Ruddy allegedly attempting to use his Department of Justice credentials to influence the outcome of his arrest.

What is the Office of the Inspector General’s involvement in this case?

The Office of the Inspector General has been referred to for further investigation. They are expected to explore whether Joseph Ruddy was attempting to exploit his public office for personal advantage.

Was Joseph Ruddy suspended from his job?

It is not confirmed whether Joseph Ruddy has been suspended, but he was withdrawn from three ongoing criminal cases a day after the Associated Press inquired about his employment status.

What potential legal consequences does Joseph Ruddy face?

Joseph Ruddy faces charges for a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison. Notably, despite his own admissions and witness testimony, he has not been charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

What was the reaction of the Department of Justice?

A Justice Department spokesperson stated that the department holds all its personnel, including assistant U.S. attorneys, to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct.

What are the ethical implications of this incident?

The incident raises questions about the potential misuse of official positions for personal gain and will likely result in an ethical investigation to determine whether Joseph Ruddy tried to improperly influence law enforcement.

Who else is involved in reviewing the ethical dimensions of this case?

Kathleen Clark, a legal ethics professor at Washington University in St. Louis, has reviewed the footage and opined that the Inspector General’s investigation would likely focus on whether Ruddy was trying to exploit his official role for personal benefit.

What was Joseph Ruddy’s blood-alcohol level at the time of the arrest?

Joseph Ruddy’s blood-alcohol level was tested at 0.17%, which is twice the legal limit.

More about DUI arrest of federal prosecutor

  • Office of the Inspector General Overview
  • DUI Laws and Penalties by State
  • Understanding Body-Worn Cameras in Law Enforcement
  • Ethical Guidelines for Prosecutors by the Department of Justice
  • Operation Panama Express: Background and Impact

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5 comments

JohnDoe47 September 8, 2023 - 8:07 pm

Wow, talk about abuse of power! if a top prosecutor thinks he can get away with DUI, what’s left for the rest of us? smh

Reply
LegalEagle2021 September 8, 2023 - 11:39 pm

Unbelievable that someone from the Justice Dept would pull such a stunt. It really makes you question the integrity of our institutions.

Reply
CryptoKing September 9, 2023 - 12:31 am

A bad apple in every industry i guess, even law enforcement. This is a huge blow to his reputation and career for sure.

Reply
FinanceGuru September 9, 2023 - 1:32 am

This guy was representing the US in court while under investigation for a DUI? Really makes you wonder about accountability these days.

Reply
CarlaM September 9, 2023 - 7:17 am

So he stayed on the job for 2 months after the incident? Thats just wrong on so many levels. What’s the DOJ even doing?

Reply

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