Archbishop’s San Diego DUI Charges Reduced to Reckless Driving

The new archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore J. Cordileone, 56, was arrested on suspicion of DUI after being stopped at a sobriety checkpoint near San Diego State University. The archbishop is well known in San Francisco for his views opposing same-sex marriage. In fact, he supported and worked for the passage pf Prop. 8 – which banned same-sex marriage.

According to U-T Sn Diego, Archbishop Cordileone was taken into custody at 12:26 a.m. on August 25 and he was booked into the county jail on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence. Ten other individuals were also arrested at the checkpoint, San Diego police said. Cordileone, a San Diego native, stated he was driving his mother home from a dinner at some friends’ house when he was stopped at the checkpoint. He said he was found to be over California’s legal limit of 0.08 percent. Cordileone was released on bail the morning following his arrest. He apologized for his actions in the following statement:

“I apologize for my error in judgment and feel shame for the disgrace I have brought upon the Church and myself,” he said. “I will repay my debt to society and I ask forgiveness from my family and my friends and co-workers at the Diocese of Oakland and the Archdiocese of San Francisco. I pray that God, in His inscrutable wisdom, will bring some good out of this.”

Fortunately, the regretful Cordileone was helped by his attorney in obtaining the reduced charge of misdemeanor reckless driving. He worked with his attorney and the San Diego Legal System to bring about a fair judgement for a first time DUI offender. The archbishop was sentenced to three years probation and a $1,120 fine. In addition, he was mandated to attend a panel discussion sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

According to the Associated Press, Archbishop Cordileone assumed office on Thursday, amid the presence of more than 2,000 invited guests, heavy security, and his faith’s most sacred rites. As a part of his first sermon as archbishop, and in a self-deprecating fashion, he offered this commentary about his recent DUI arrest.

“I know in my life God has always had a way of putting me in my place. I would say, though, that in the latest episode of my life God has outdone himself,” He ended this with a chuckle.

Sometimes having a sense a humor about one’s mistakes and a knowledgeable attorney can speed up the healing process and lead us to forgiveness and growth. I commend Archbishop Cordileone not only for his humbling actions in dealing with his arrest, but also, for his efforts in taking the necessary steps to enable him to achieve a fair legal outcome.


SF Archbishop Jokes About Recent DUI Arrest, The Seattle Times, October 5, 2012
S.F. Archbishop Pleads Guilty to Reckless Driving in DUI Case, Los Angeles Times, October 4, 2012
SF Archbishop Arrested on DUI in San Diego, U~T San Diego, August 27, 2012

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