Archive for the 'Current Events' Category

Beat the IID with Raccoon Breath?

Monday, October 5th, 2015

 Yes, you read that title correctly. And yes, this was the buzz on the internet last week when a police report of a San Diego naval officer who used a raccoon to beat the ignition interlock device that was installed on his vehicle was posted on

According to the police report, which was originally reported on by the Telegraph and CBS Detroit, the naval officer, who was stationed at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California, was attempting to drive home after drinking in town.

An ignition interlock device prevented the serviceman from starting his vehicle. As the report described, “[The] suspect was too intoxicated to successfully start the vehicle so he went into the park where he captured a raccoon rummaging in a trash receptacle.”

The report went on to say that the “individual utilized the raccoon to blow into the interlock system successfully, but the raccoon became unconscious from being squeezed and was discarded on the floorboard of the vehicle until a short time later when the raccoon regained consciousness and began to attack the suspect while driving, causing the vehicle to crash into a residential fence. The vehicle came to a complete stop in an inground [sic] swimming pool. The suspect sustained numerous scratches and bite marks to the hands, face, stomach, and arms.”

As humorous as it might be to envision a naval officer squeezing a raccoon into an ignition interlock device, unfortunately it isn’t a true story.

Public affairs officer for Camp Pendleton, Lt. Abigail Dredge told The Huffington Post that the incident number on the report did not match the numbering system used by the base.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, base officials confirmed that no breathalyzer incidents involving raccoons were found.

The Telegraph updated its story to confirm that the report was an internet hoax.

While it might seem like a good idea at the time, when you’re drunk and desperate to start your vehicle, squeezing a raccoon into an ignition interlock device will not will not successfully bypass the system. Aside from running the risk of being attacked by the raccoon, attempting to bypass an IID is illegal.


California’s DUI Child Endangerment Enhancements

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015


Earlier this month, Jennifer Karkosky, 26, of Indiana was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence with eight, yes eight, children in her vehicle.

Karkosky’s 2000 GMC Jimmy had slid off of the road and partially down an embankment after she attempted to make a U-turn. Her vehicle was left in a 45 degree angle with the front end in the air.

Responding officers noticed the smell of alcohol on Karkosky’s breath and she told them that she had three beers earlier.

A breathalyzer later revealed Karkosky’s blood alcohol content to be 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit.

At the time of the incident Karkosky had eight children ranging in age from three to 12-years old. Karkosky told the officers that she was transporting home from swimming. The local fire department was called to the scene and confirmed that none of the children suffered injuries before releasing them to family members or the Department of Child Services.

Karkosky was charged with one count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a previous conviction, eight counts of neglect of a dependent child, and one count of driving on a suspended license.

While not the same as Indiana, California also treats DUI with children in the car very seriously. Not only is a person looking at the punishment under California’s DUI law, they are also looking at additional penalties under California Vehicle Code section 23572, also known as California’s DUI child endangerment enhancements.

Under California Vehicle Code section 23572, a first time DUI conviction where a minor under the age of 14 is in the car will bring an additional 48 hours in a county jail. A second time DUI conviction will bring an additional 10 days in jail. A third time will bring an additional 30 days in jail. A fourth will bring an additional 90 days. Furthermore, these penalties are to be served consecutively, not concurrently with the underlying DUI penalties.

The prosecutor need only prove that you were driving under the influence and that there was a minor child under the age of 14 in the car while you drove.


Boyfriend and Girlfriend Busted for DUI One Hour Apart

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

An hour is not enough time to sober up, at least not for Christopher McFarlane.

 McFarland was the passenger in his girlfriend’s car when she was pulled over after California Highway Patrol officers spotted her vehicle swerving in Santa Rosa, California. Anna Arthur was arrested for driving under the influence and McFarlane was, himself, too drunk to drive Arthur’s Honda home. McFarlane walked to Arthur’s house.

This guy wasn’t falling-down drunk, but was definitely over 0.08” percent, the legal limit for driving, said CHP officer Jonathan Sloat.

About an hour later and shortly after Arthur was booked into Sonoma County Jail, officers spotted a McFarlane driving a Jetta. McFarlane told officers that he was on his way to the jail to bail out Arthur.

McFarlane, apparently, had not yet sobered up because, according to Sloat, “The officers still noticed signs of intoxication, and McFarlane failed field sobriety tests.”

It was also determined that McFarlane was on probation and his license was suspended for a DUI conviction last year. As a result, not only was McFarlane booked on suspicion of a California DUI, he was also booked for violation of probation and driving on a suspended license.

McFarlane is going to need more than love to get him out of this jam. He’ll need a California DUI attorney. At least if both he and Arthur are convicted, they might be able to do their DUI classes together. 



“Physician, Heal Thyself”

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

I've posted repeatedly in the past of the hypocritical double standard that pervades the criminal justice system when it comes to drunk driving.  Members of law enforcement, prosecution and the judiciary are quick to accuse and severely punish those suspected of DUI.  Cops have quota systems and rewards for high DUI arrests; prosecutors seek promotions for winning convictions; judges and legislators fear being accused of "soft" on drunk drivers when election time nears.  

And yet….these same people are commonly guilty of the same crimes about which they act so righteously – and are all too often protected by the system.  See, for example, The DUI Double Standard, Guarding the GuardiansThe DUI Double Standard Continues, When Judges Judge Judges and "I'm a Judge, Bro".

And in yesterday's news…

Third Florida County Judge in Seven Months Faces Charges

Broward County, FL.  May 28 (NBCNews) – Three Broward County judges have been arrested on DUI charges in the last seven months. The rash of arrests has sent shockwaves through the courthouse and prompted the county’s top public defender to say something is wrong with the judicial culture in the county.

“When people ascend to the bench and put that robe on, it’s very common that they start to believe that they are bigger than the law; they are above the law; they are the law,” said Broward County public defender Howard Finkelstein. “Is that happening in Broward? I’ve seen that happen here for many years, decades. I thought it was getting better. I still think it’s getting better, but this is a very big bump in the road.”

The latest arrest came Tuesday when Judge Lynn Rosenthal of the 17th Judicial Circuit was arrested after hitting a parked, unmarked patrol car in a Fort Lauderdale courthouse parking lot. Judge Rosenthal told deputies she was also forced into a guardrail on I-595 on her way to work before the parking lot accident, but deputies said video disputed that report…

Just last week, fellow Broward County Judge Gisele Pollack was suspended from the bench without pay after she was arrested on DUI charges earlier this year following a car crash.

In November, long-time Broward Judge Cynthia Imperato was arrested for DUI in Boca Raton…

Want to bet whether this judge, like so many other judges, cops, prosecutors and legislators, will get nothing more than a slap on the wrist — if that?

(Thanks to Matthew Kensky.)


Report a Drunk Driver, Receive Reward

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Memorial Day provides weekend warriors the three-day weekend to remember those who died while serving our country. However, as the unofficial kick-off to summer, it also provides three full days to barbeque and indulge in some pre-summer drinks.

If you happen to be in Illinois, you could earn yourself a cool $100 for reporting a drunk driver. Or you could find yourself the target of a DUI investigation because someone else thought they could make an easy $100.

Chicago’s WBBM’s Steve Miller reported that, this Memorial Day weekend, the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorist (AAIM) will be paying tipsters $100 for reporting a drunk driver in the state of Illinois.

“The tragic consequences are heartbreaking when somebody decides to get into a car and they think that they’re OK to drive. And they’re not,” said Rita Kreslin, the executive director of the AAIM. “We have paid out over $486,000. That’s 4,866 people that have been drinking and driving that have been removed from the roadways.”

She also said AAIM has taken some criticism for this approach, but “the majority of those people are probably the same people that would drink and drive and not think twice about it.”

Sorry Rita, not true.

I’m giving this approach flak because it creates the possibility of innocent people being stopped and investigated for drunk driving. How many people were reported who weren’t drunk? How many people will be stopped simply because it was a possibility that the tipster be paid $100? Unfortunately, I can’t answer these questions.

More importantly, how many of the tipsters actually know that a driver is drunk? This one, however, I can answer.


Forget tipsters making completely false reports. Let’s say there is a reason for the tip. Tipsters will be reporting mistakes in driving, not drunk driving. And we all know there is a multitude of reasons why someone can make a mistake in driving other than intoxication. But that’s not going to matter, is it? With a $100 incentive, driving error equals drunk.

Fortunately, we’re all the way over here in California and about 1,700 miles away from AAIM’s incentivized witch-hunt. But it begs the question: Does the tip even give the officers the authority to pull someone over when they, themselves, saw nothing that would indicate a DUI?

Unfortunately, in California (…and the rest of the country) the answer is yes.

Recall my colleague, Lawrence Taylor’s post

The United States Supreme Court recently held that an anonymous tip is sufficient to justify a police stop for the purpose of investigating a DUI even though there is no way to verify the truth or reliability of the anonymous tip.

So much for the 4th amendment and probable cause. And in Illinois, people actually get paid for their participation in the undermining the Constitution!