Monthly Archives: September 2009

More News From the Battlefront….

Another potential killer removed from our highways:

Man Rides Motorbike in Court

Woodstock, IL.  Sept. 25 – A Marengo man charged with drunken driving rode his motorbike in court Tuesday, not to it.

Carl Ahrens, 36, said he rode his Razor MX500 from Judge Thomas Meyer’s bench to the back of the courtroom in an effort to prove that the bike was a toy, not a motor vehicle. It operates on a 12-volt battery.

Despite the demonstration, the judge disagreed, and Ahrens’ license was suspended for six months…

Ahrens said he had been sitting on the bike across the street from his house when an officer approached him, likely after a complaint from a neighbor. He said he was placed under arrest, and the bike was placed in the officer’s trunk.

“I can’t believe I’m in this much trouble over a toy,” Ahrens said. “It goes 4 miles an hour. I plug it in overnight.”

Your tax dollars at work.

(Thanks to Hockey Bobc.)

Where Are We Going?

The latest from the front….

ER Nurse Sues Cop for Handcuffing Her During Dispute Over Drawing Suspect’s Blood

Chicago, IL.  Sept. 21 –A head emergency room nurse at Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital has sued the city and a Chicago Police officer for handcuffing her and putting her in the back of a squad car during a dispute over drawing blood from a suspected drunken driver.

Lisa Hofstra said she was the “charge nurse” in the emergency room on Aug. 1 when the officer approached her at about 4 a.m. The officer requested she perform a blood work-up on a DUI suspect, the lawsuit said.

Hofstra told the officer the suspect needed to be admitted to the hospital before she could draw the person’s blood. Hofstra said she told a police lieutenant that it was the hospital’s protocol to wait until a suspect was admitted, and the lieutenant agreed, she said.

The lieutenant left the emergency room.

Then Hofstra called her supervisors, but before they could respond, the officer put her in handcuffs in front of her co-workers and escorted her to a squad car, according to the lawsuit…

She was in the car for about 45 minutes before the situation was resolved, Hofstra said. The cuffs were too tight, requiring treatment in the hospital after she was released from custody, she said.

A security video of the incident shows the officer smiling outside the squad car as Hofstra sat inside.

Hofstra said it was a major problem for her to be removed from the emergency room at a time when there were numerous patients suffering from “bad trauma.”

She was responsible for triage — the process of deciding which patients need the most urgent attention.

“If this officer is treating me the way he treated me, what is he going to do to people on the street?” Hofstra said, adding that she filed her lawsuit to “stand up for nurses.”

In cop-talk, it’s called "attitude adjustment" or "field-administered punishment" for not doing what you’re told.  Welcome to MADD’s "War on Drunk Driving"….

(Thanks to David O’Shea.)

The Business of MADD

As I've mentioned before, Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a huge, politically powerful prohibitionist organization.  It's also a very profitable one.  According to the required IRS annual reports posted on its own website, the organization makes about $50 million each year in contributions — about $12 million of which goes to professional telemarketers and "management".  That's the official report.  But an investigation by a Canadian newspaper into MADD in that country revealed that "most of the high-profile charity's money is spent on fundraising and administration, leaving only about 19 cents of each donor dollar for charitable works."

MADD is now further expanding its profitable prohibitionist horizons.

MADD Offers Virgin Drinks

Fox Charlotte, Charlotte, NC.  Sept. 21 — Mothers Against Drunk Driving is teaming up with Hill Street Marketing to offer a new line of alcohol-free drinks. That includes virgin Margaritas, Mojitos, and Pina Coladas, as well as a virgin Lager & Lime, virgin Red and White Wine, and a virgin Sparkling White Wine, according to a press release.

Hill Street is in discussions with retailers and the line is expected to arrive in a store near you this fall – just in time for the holiday season and holiday parties…

Hmmm….I wonder what the Internal Revenue Service will say about this?  MADD is a 501(c)(s) tax-exempt charitable organization, and charitable organizations aren't supposed to be making tax-free profits.  According to IRS regulations, a charitable organization is subject to tax on its "unrelated business income". 26 U.S.C. sec. 513(f).

For that matter, here in California and in many states, when a defendant is convicted of DUI he's required to pay fines, taxes — and make a contribution to MADD.  It's not an option: pay the designated amount or go to jail.   According to MADD's latest posted annual report, the organization made $4.4 million last year from these "contributions".  But…don't IRS rules require contributions to tax-free charities to be voluntary

Note:  The feared watchdog of charities, Charity Navigator, rates over 5,400 of the largest charities in the U.S. on the basis of how much contributed money goes to the supposed purposes of the charity — and how much goes to overhead (such as telemarketing and bloated executive salaries).  Charities are rated on a 4-star system, with 4 stars indicating a relatively high percentage of money going to the charitable purpose.  MADD's latest rating: 1 star.

(Thanks to Marty Capetz and Dan Jaffe.)

DUI Cops Now Armed with Guns, Batons…and Needles

Coming soon to a neighborhood near you…

Police Draw Blood from DUI Suspects

Federal program tries roadside tests in Idaho, Texas

Boise, ID.  Sept. 14 — When police officer Darryll Dowell is on patrol in the southwestern Idaho city of Nampa, he’ll pull up at a stoplight and usually start casing the vehicle. Nowadays, his eyes will also focus on the driver’s arms, as he tries to search for a plump, bouncy vein.

"I was looking at people’s arms and hands, thinking, ‘I could draw from that,’" Dowell said.

It’s all part of training he and a select cadre of officers in Idaho and Texas have received in recent months to draw blood from those suspected of drunken or drugged driving. The federal program’s aim is to determine if blood draws by cops can be an effective tool against drunken drivers and aid in their prosecution.

If the results seem promising after a year or two, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will encourage police nationwide to undergo similar training.

For years, defense attorneys in Idaho advised clients to always refuse breath tests, Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Christine Starr said. Starr hopes the new system will cut down on the number of drunken driving trials. Officers can’t hold down a suspect and force them to breath into a tube, she noted, but they can forcefully take blood — a practice that’s been upheld by Idaho’s Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.

The practice of cops drawing blood, implemented first in 1995 in Arizona, has also raised concerns about safety and the credibility of the evidence.

"I would imagine that a lot of people would be wary of having their blood drawn by an officer on the hood of their police vehicle," said Steve Oberman, chair of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ DUI Committee.

Actually, Ms. Starr, the U.S. Supreme Court authorized forced blood draws only if they are done in a "medically approved manner" — and no mention was ever made of cops doing the drawing.  Somehow, I don’t think the Court would view cops jamming needles into suspects spread across the hood of a car as "medically approved".

(Thanks to David O’Shea.)

Sleeping Under the Influence – Lying on the Grass

A recent dispatch from the front:

Monmouth County Man Accused of Drunken Driving in Morris County

Madison, NJ – A Holmdel man was charged with driving while intoxicated after police found him lying on the grass near his parked car, police said today.

Devin R. McQuade, 23, was also charged with careless driving, Madison police spokesman Lt. Darren Dachisen said.

Officer Paul Papamarkos was on patrol around 4:15 a.m. Friday when he found McQuade’s car parked on Loantaka Way, near a walking path. As he was checking out the vehicle, a 9-1-1 caller reported a man lying in the grass a short distance away.

After a brief search, Papamarkos found McQuade lying on his face in the grass. He was found to be highly intoxicated and arrested, Dachisen said.

Uh…It’s still drunk driving, isn’t it?  I mean, like in…driving?

Well, I guess that taught citizen McQuade a lesson: Next time you’ve had a few, don’t act responsibly by stopping and sleeping it off — just keep driving!