Monthly Archives: January 2006
Many of you are aware of the latest craze in the War on Drunk Driving: anonymous phone calls to the police whereby you can report your ex-wife is driving drunk (see my earlier post, "How to Get Your ex-Spouse: The Anonymous Tip"). All such calls, we are assured in public service announcements, will be investigated — that is, your ex-wife will be pulled over and subjected to field sobriety tests.
So how is this new investigative tool working out?
"Drunk Busters" Hotline Got 280 Calls, Leading to No Arrest
New Mexico, January 14. It has been around three weeks, but the DrunkBusters hotline hasn't yet helped catch a single drunk driver.
State police said Friday evening that 280 people have called the hotline, 1-877-DWI-HALT, to report suspected drunk drivers. But all those calls have led to no arrests ' despite the fact that around 18,000 people were arrested for DWI in 2005, the state's DWI Czar Rachel O'Connor said in December.
Funny, it worked finding witches in Salem….
(Thanks to Jeanne M. Pruitt of RIDL.)
Farmington Attorney Arrested; Blood-Alcohol Level 0.02
FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) – People can be prosecuted on drunken driving charges with a blood-alcohol content below the state’s presumed level of intoxication of 0.08 percent. That’s the word from Farmington police and District Attorney Lyndy Bennett…
Farmington attorney Victor Titus was arrested this week on a charge of drunken driving after registering a blood-alcohol level of 0.02. The officer says he arrested Titus because the results of a breath test were not consistent with what he described as "observed impairment."
Mr. Titus happens to be a criminal defense attorney who defends clients charged with DUI in Farmington. The police would never abuse their authority, of course; no doubt entirely a coincidence and DUI arrests for .02% are commonplace.
The DUI dragnet continues to widen as police, prosecutors and judges try to find newer and more novel ways to get drunk driving convictions:
Judge orders jail time for 'pocket bike' DWI
Patterson, NJ. A Wayne man was sentenced Friday to jail time and hefty fines for taking a drunken spin on his nephew's "pocket bike" – a miniature motorcycle that sits less than a foot off the ground. But George Kaiser's lawyer, Joseph Afflitto Jr., said he will file an appeal, arguing that the little bike "is nothing more than a toy" and should not be considered a motor vehicle….
Kaiser had purchased the bike in 2004 for his 13-year-old nephew. The $150 gift is less than 3 feet long, and Kaiser asserted that it doesn't exceed 20 mph… In his written opinion, Caposela pointed to cases from other states where drivers who drove golf carts drunk were subject to DWI penalties.
I’ve commented in the past how government, law enforcement and MADD have twisted statistics to justify their demands for ever more draconian drunk driving laws and constitutional violations ("Lies, Damned Lies and MADD Statistics"). Today’s example:
Report Shows Rhode Island Inflates DUI Statistics
Rhode Island ACLU report shows the state is exaggerating the drunk driving problem to pass more punitive legislation.
Rhode Island, January 10. The Rhode Island chapter of the ACLU released a report Monday showing how state officials have inflated drunk driving (DUI) statistics in order to speed passage of legislation increasing penalties and revenue from DUI arrests.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Rhode Island has the highest rate of fatalities caused by drunk driving in the nation. At 45 percent, the rate is far above the statewide average of 30 percent. This has caused the state’s Attorney General to claim, "Rhode Island has the deplorable distinction of being ranked first in the nation in the percentage of highway fatalities related to alcohol."
The ACLU counters that this statistic is "misleading" because Rhode Island’s overall low fatality rate causes the alcohol fatality percentage to appear high. The report claims the true fatality rate is well below the national average. The group goes on to point out that the state’s penalties are already above average and that the existing problem lies more in police forces making the issue more of a priority using existing laws.
"Our goal in issuing this report is not to suggest that state officials should become complacent about the problem of drunk driving," said Rhode Island ACLU executive director Steven Brown. "But our research does call into question many of the arguments being used to demand prompt and harsh legislative responses to the issue, as there are serious doubts about both their efficacy and need."
Of course, you can’t really believe the ACLU, right? A bunch of aging revolutionaries trying to shove an antiquated document down our throats.
I've pointed out in past posts that Mothers Against Drunk Driving has gradually been shifting its focus from DUI to prohibition. The first formal acknowledgement took place in 1999 when MADD's National Board of Directors unanimously voted to change the organization's mission statement to include underage drinking. Not underage drinking and driving — just drinking. As Candy Lightner, the founder and first President of MADD, observed after leaving the organization:
It has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I ever wanted or envisioned. I didn't start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving.
News stories continue to emerge reflecting this underlying agenda — the latest from North Carolina, entitled "DWI checkpoints snare drunks on N.C. roads; MADD says laws don't go far enough". Among MADD's recommendations for new laws: "Requiring identification tags for beer kegs showing the buyer's name and the location where the keg will be used."
One step at a time….