Archive for December, 2006

MADD Under Fire

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

As I've posted repeatedly in the past, Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a self-serving bureaucracy focused equally on Prohibition and cash.

According to their own IRS statements, the U.S. organization alone brings in over $50 million a year in contributions — and, according to watchdog Charity Navigator, has a low 2-star efficiency rating (the Director of Program and Development, for example, is paid $152,408 a year).

It would appear that MADD's sister organization to the north is similarly oriented:

MADD Rejects 'Disgruntled' Critics

Charity's CEO dismisses volunteers' complaints that so little of donations go to programs

Toronto, Dec. 10 — MADD Canada's top official has called a group of relatives of drunk driving victims who complained about his charity "disgruntled" and lashed out at the Star for exposing its high fundraising and administrative costs…

A story published in the Saturday Star revealed that Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada has such high costs that only about 19 cents of every dollar goes to victim services and the fight against drunk driving. In addition to a detailed analysis of MADD's financial records, the story was based on interviews with leading volunteers of MADD who all work with the charity because they lost a loved one to a drunk driver. The volunteers believe in the counselling and public awareness work of their local chapters but agreed to speak out against the charity's administration to force a change and restore confidence in what was once a low-cost, grassroots charity.

In his news release, (MADD CEO Andrew) Murie dismissed their complaints and said they are "obviously disgruntled with the organization."… Yesterday, more than 100 MADD donors contacted the Star to say they had been suspicious of MADD's fundraising practices due to the high volume of telemarketing calls and other fundraising contacts they receive, sometimes monthly. MADD has numerous paid fundraising campaigns, using paid telemarketers, a company that sends people knocking on doors, a direct mail company and a company that distributes chocolate mint boxes around the province.

"I am absolutely furious at reading what MADD is doing with donors' dollars," said Joyce Williamson, 77, a widow who has made frequent $25 donations to MADD for many years. When she learned from the Star article that so little of her cheque was going to charitable works, she decided not to give to MADD again. She said MADD's paid door and phone canvassers used "emotional blackmail" by pressing her on the phone or at the door with numerous stories of drunk driving fatalities.

The Star's story revealed that telemarketers work off a script that encourages them to press prospective donors three successive times after the person has said "no." The Star's investigation found the paid fundraisers take most of the money, and send the remainder to head office.

And the "War on Drunk Driving" goes on… (Thanks to Stephen Biss of Mississauga, Ontario.)


Police Framing Citizens for DUI

Monday, December 11th, 2006

The following news article speaks for itself.

WATERBURY: Report Blasts DUI Derby

Waterbury, Conn. Dec. 8 — It didn't matter whether drivers were drunk for state troopers from Troop I in Bethany to charge them with driving under the influence.

Three years ago, drunken-driving arrests were a game for several troopers in Troop I, according to a scathing report released Monday attacking how the agency polices itself.

The report, released by the state's Attorney General's Office and the New York state police, says it was an "open competition" among members of the troop's midnight shift to see who could make the most DUI arrests.

"They wanted to become members of the 100 club for the year," the report quoted one trooper, who was describing how each trooper tried to make 100 DUI arrests.

A state police internal audit in 2004 showed Troop I, where the "100 club" was active, made 500 DUI arrests in the previous year, far more than any other barracks. The midnight shift even received a departmental award for its DUI arrests.

According to the report, it took serious misconduct for the troopers to log that many DUI arrests. The report said troopers were discouraging people from taking breath tests…

The troopers told people that if they took the breath tests they would have to stay in police custody longer before they could post bond and be released, the report states.

That allowed troopers to report they arrested drivers on DUI charges because the drivers admitted using alcohol or marijuana, the report stated.

Subsequent laboratory tests showed that many of the people arrested did not have drugs or alcohol in their systems, or had amounts well below the legal limit.

That allowed troopers to report they arrested drivers on DUI charges because the drivers admitted using alcohol or marijuana, the report stated.

Subsequent laboratory tests showed that many of the people arrested did not have drugs or alcohol in their systems, or had amounts well below the legal limit.

The audit's findings were turned over to the state police Internal Affairs Division….

So, of course, Internal Affairs cleaned it up, right?

…But the internal affairs investigation looked at only one trooper.

"The internal affairs investigation was conducted in such a haphazard manner that it would be impossible to determine whether or not employee misconduct occurred by reading the internal affairs investigation report," the report read. "Virtually none of the leads in this case were adequately followed."

The internal affairs investigation concluded the issues were not that serious and were the result of sloppy paperwork, according to the report.

It was common for the internal affairs division to try to protect fellow state police officers above all else, according to the report.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated practice. When you declare a political "war on drunk driving", pass unjust laws, violate constitutional rights and render biased decisions from the bench, you send a clear message to the police.

(Thanks to Radley Balko and "Jon".)


Judge Refuses All Tests

Friday, December 8th, 2006

"What should I do if I'm stopped for a DUI?" Do what judges do:

Illinois Judge Charged with Drunken Driving

Bellevue, Ill. December 7 — A judge driving with his boss was charged with drunken driving after a wreck that sent another motorist to the hospital, and the other judge was seen by an officer pouring out a can of beer, police said.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Patrick Young, 58, was handcuffed and arrested and charged with drunken driving after the Sunday crash, about 20 miles from St. Louis. He refused a sobriety test, authorities said…

Young's attorney, Clyde Kuehn, said Thursday his client was "absolutely within his rights" to refuse a field sobriety test and a Breathalyzer test, saying the tests have proven unreliable.

If they are so unreliable (and they are), why does this judge always allow them into evidence in cases he's presiding over? And why does he probably throw the book at defendants for refusing to cooperate?



Tuesday, December 5th, 2006