A jury has been selected in the Houston trial of a 27-year-old man who has been accused of killing a police officer in a crash that occurred because he was driving drunk. There is a lot at stake in this case; the lead prosecutor has said she wants the defendant to serve life in prison.

The incident happened on May 29, 2011. The police officer who was killed was assisting other officers in responding to a crash. The defendant is said to have driven his car through the crash site at a high rate of speed. Shortly after the accident, his blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.019. The legal limit in Texas is 0.08.

As if passions in this DWI case needed to be further inflamed, the man is an immigrant from Mexico and the legality of his residency is disputed. We all know that immigration is a hot-button issue in our state and tempers on both sides tend to flare when it is brought up. Hopefully, that will not be used to anger and distract members of the jury from the real issue at hand.

We hope the attorney who is representing this man is not daunted by the challenges facing him or her. Regardless of his guilt or innocence, this man is entitled to a thorough and competent representation in court, as is anyone accused of any crime. That is a hallmark of our criminal justice system and one that we all must respect in every instance.

Source: The Houston Chronicle, "Jury chosen for illegal immigrant in DWI crash that killed HPD officer," Brian Rogers, June 5, 2012