Another Drunk Driving Conviction – With No Driving

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on March 27th, 2009

Yesterday I posted about a Minnesota appellate court’s mind-boggling ruling that driving was not required to be arrested and convicted of drunk driving.  For those who think this was an isolated moment of judicial insanity, consider the latest wisdom from the appellate bench:

State’s Highest Court Rules In Drunken Driving Case

Hartford, CT.  Mar 24 – Drunken people don’t actually have to drive their cars to be charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The court’s 5-0 ruling came in the case of Michael Cyr, who was arrested in Manchester in February 2005 in a parking lot near a bar. He had started his car remotely and then sat in the driver’s seat intoxicated, but never put the key into the ignition and didn’t drive anywhere.

Justices ordered the state Appellate Court, which had thrown out Cyr’s conviction, to reinstate it and send the case back to Superior Court in Manchester for sentencing.

Cyr, 50, of Andover, faces a year in prison followed by three years of probation.

In its written decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court used the following tortured reasoning to sustain the conviction:

In starting the engine of his vehicle remotely then getting behind the steering wheel, the defendant clearly took the first act in a sequence of steps necessary to set in motion the motive power of a vehicle that has been equipped with a remote starter.   The fact that the defendant next needed to insert his key to continue the process of setting in process that motive power is of no greater import in determining whether there has been operation than the fact that a person without a remote starter , after inserting the ignition key, wll need to turn that key to start the motor. 

As Humpty Dumpty said to Alice in Through the Looking Glass:

“When I use a word”, Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

“The question is”, said Alice,”whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is”, said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”

(Thanks to George Stein and Lewis Carroll.)


  • RichardAlan

    Yes, the truth is, “we the private citizens are the masters” Sui Juris.

  • ruReadyMyFriend

    Mandatory DUI penalties! Talk about presumption of Guilt! How long before this is the case every time? Scary!!!

    “Yakima, Washington – March 2, 2009. Tarin Miller, 39, is a police officer for the City of Yakima. She has been hailed as a force in curtailing gangs and graffiti, but she has found herself in hot water. On March 2nd she was stop by a colleague which led to an investigation for Driving Under the Influence.

    Her fellow Yakima officer called in a trooper of the Washington State Patrol. Details about Miller’s arrest are limited, but it is known her blood alcohol content was 0.16. The DUI legal limit for Washington is 0.08. Miller was twice the legal limit and will be facing higher mandatory DUI penalties since her test result was equal or greater than 0.15.”

    I bet this officer does not like life now, thinking the Intoxilyzer had to be off… Guilty until proven innocent is not a good place to be. Can you say Karma?

  • joe

    This is really getting just ridiculous. Yesterday I read about a man who got a DUI for operating a BAR STOOL that he had attached to a lawn mower motor. I am as much in favor of preserving public safety and saving lives as anyone else, but this seems like too much now.

  • zero

    The police and lawmakers and MADD have gotten out of control. I was arrested for dui not even driving my car, not even running. I was on private property to boot!!!! It cost me $5000 and over a year of my time going to and from court. The case was thrown out of court at county level so the prosecuter decided to take it to the appellate court where it was thrown out too. I asked for sanctions but was refused!!! How fair is this??? These cops and prosecuters can trample all over my rights because the want to and I have no recoarse ??? No penalty for them for false arrest/imprisonment? How about defermation of character, it was in the local paper. NOPE nothing! These cops and prosecuters should be punished in some way if only to make sure they just dont put a rubber stamp on every case that comes by them!