Posts tagged ‘DUI’

Utterly Without Class

Well, the execreble Sheriff Joe Arpaio, America's most-desirous-of-PR-exposure lawman, is at it again.  Phoenix will be mobbed by the press in a couple of weeks when the MLB All-Star Game comes to town, and of course Sheriff Joe will be hurt and depressed if he doesn't get himself in front of all those cameras.

So this is apparently his plan for doing so:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio's publicity stunt of choice for All-Star weekend: a female chain gang that probably will make a stop at Chase Field to pick up garbage as the national sporting press tries to cover a baseball game....

This particular gang is comprised of women convicted of DUI. They will be decked out in the standard striped uniforms. However, they will also be wearing pink T-shirts with messages about DUI.

Because nothing says "thoughtful and humane treatment for alcohol problems" like parading prisoners in front of national TV audiences like a modern remake of Cool Hand Luke.

We give special, unique powers to use force to the police, and it is horrifying to see them used for personal aggrandizement.

By the way, I will share my secret fear.  As you may know, Apriao enjoys leading raids on businesses that hire Mexican immigrants.  His MO is to zip-tie everyone with brown skin or an accent until they can produce proof of citizenship.  My deep fear is that he will run a raid of the concession operations at the ballpark during the game.

More Crazy Joe Arpaio Sh*t

I totally missed this angle on Sheriff Joe, though to be fair our major paper in town never runs anything negative about him, so you have to ferret this stuff out from other sources.  Sarah Fenske observes, relevent to Sheriff Joe's deputy who was cited for contempt for swiping papers from the defense table during a trial and refusing to appologize for it:

Yesterday, the Maricopa County Sheriff's deputy accused of brazenly swiping -- and photocopying -- a defense lawyer's paperwork reportedly checked himself into jail, as ordered by Judge Gary Donahoe.

Deputy Adam Stoddard had refused to apologize for his actions, which ignited a firestorm from defense attorneys across the country. That put him in contempt of Judge Donahoe's order, and that meant jail time.

But as astute readers may recall, everyone in Maricopa County knows there's jail time -- and then there's jail time for Friends of Sheriff Joe.

For at least five years, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has maintained one jail for the hapless pre-trial detainees and Mexicans he boasts about tormenting -- and another one, a posh place New Times dubbed the "Mesa Hilton," for his supporters and celeb friends.

Any guesses which jail might now be housing Deputy Stoddard?

She links to an older John Dougherty article, who has been a long-time pain in Arpaio's backside:

Rather than serving time in hellish Tent City, Arpaio allows his special guests to serve their sentences in private, climate-controlled cells at the Mesa Hilton. The lucky inmates are also allowed to bring luxury personal items into the jail, including cell phones, musical instruments, computers and takeout meals.

Arpaio knows that the genteel class is willing to do just about anything to avoid having to serve time in the tents, where inmates are packed in like rats to swelter in the summer and get chilled to the bone in the winter.

It's not uncommon for those who serve jail sentences in the Mesa Hilton to do substantial favors for Arpaio.

Country-western singer Glen Campbell served his DUI sentence in the Mesa facility last July. On his last day in jail, Campbell threw a concert at Tent City that got Arpaio's smiling face on news shows across the globe.

Professional-sports mogul Jerry Colangelo's daughter, Mandie, also served her DUI sentence at Mesa, after which dad hosted an extravagant fund raiser for Arpaio that raised $50,000 in one day.

Likewise, Phoenix businessman Joseph Deihl served time in the Mesa jail on a solicitation conviction after his father donated $10,000 to Arpaio's reelection campaign.

Because Minor Drug Cases Weren't Clogging the Courts Enough

The civil courts of Maricopa County (which includes Phoenix) are being overwhelmed by photo-radar cases from state photo-radar trucks on state highways.

In the 2008 fiscal year, ending June 2008, the total annual filings in the justice courts amounted to 435,014, which included DUI, traffic, misdemeanor and civil cases, according to the county. Since November 2008, speed-camera cases have flooded the justice courts, averaging 42,326 cases a month, accounting for 50 percent of the filings. Administrators for the justice courts expect the total might reach 600,000 this fiscal year.

Of course the solution proposed is not to get rid of the photo radar but to raise fees to cover the administration.  But you could have guessed that without me telling your, couldn't you?

What, Was Ralph Nader Busy?

Per Overlawyered:

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is anything but an uncontroversial organization, as the Washington Times, Radley Balko, and our own archives make clear. Among the bad, sometimes awful ideas with which it has been identified are a reduction of the blood alcohol limit to 0.4 (meaning that for some adults a single drink could result in arrest), blanket police roadblocks and pullovers, the 55 mph speed limit, traffic-cams, and the imprisonment of parents who knowingly permit teen party drinking, to name but a few. Of particular interest when it comes to the policies of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it has backed proposed legislation demanding that costly breathalyzer-ignition interlock systems be foisted on all new cars, whether or not their drivers have ever committed a DUI offense; it's also lined up with the plaintiff's bar on various dubious efforts to expand liability.

Now President Obama has named MADD CEO Chuck Hurley to head NHTSA. Drivers, car buyers, and the American public had better brace themselves for a season of neo-Prohibitionist rhetoric, nannyist initiatives, and efforts to criminalize now-lawful conduct. It won't be pretty.

Olson has tons of history linked on his site.

Public Shaming

Over the last week, I have heard about 20 commercials from our local prosecutor's office informing me that there is a web site I can visit with pictures of drunk drivers.  Uh, why?  Is this supposed to somehow help me, driving down a street at night, such that I might just recognize the oncoming driver from 300 yards away, despite his headlights, as being someone I saw on the web site?

Actually, no.  The prosecutor believes that the criminal justice system does not impose harsh enough penalties, so he is using his office and public funds to add an additional penalty not specified by the court or the legislature: Public shaming.  I was happy to see that Reason picked up this issue today:

Taking Thomas at his word, he is imposing extrajudicial punishment,
based on his unilateral conclusion that the penalties prescribed by law
for DUI offenses provide an inadequate deterrent

In addition, Mr. Thomas is very likely emulating the example of our self-aggrandizing county Sheriff, Joe Arpaio.  Sheriff Joe has built a PR machine for himself at public expense, in large part through extra-legal get-tough-on-criminals show-campaigns like this one. 

Simply Outrageous

Via Cato@liberty, comes this really outrageous incident:

The Gilpin County Sheriff's Office was
apologizing Monday after a weekend effort to help a research group led
to complaints about what appeared to be a DUI checkpoint - but wasn't....

Bob Enney said deputies assisted the Pacific Institute for Research and
Evaluation in stopping motorists at five sites along Colorado 119 for
surveys on any drug and alcohol use. Surveyors then asked the motorists
to voluntarily submit to tests of their breath, blood and saliva. At
least 200 drivers were tested, Enney said....

They were greeted by "youthful, college" surveyors dressed in jumpsuits and blue generic caps.


had a 10-year-old in the back who's tired, we tell them thanks but no
thanks, we have to get this child back home to bed," Sequeira said.

He said a worker persisted, saying that the researchers would assist in driving the family home if they needed assistance.


When the Sequeiras again demurred, a supervisor offered them a $100 money order.


say, 'No, thank you, we have to get our child home,"' Sequeira
recalled. "At this point, both clones start chortling at us and
ridiculing us."

The problem in this case is that many people don't take the time to even take a 5-minute survey over the phone, much less to pull over on the roadside and donate bodily fluids.  Every market researcher understands this problem, and tries to deal with it.  But the government has one tool in its bag that ordinary private firms do not have:  The coercive power of the government.  Whether they were tested or not, motorists who were in complete obedience to the law were forced to pull over by government law enforcement officials merely to increase their survey response rate.  This is such a typical government solution that I think most people are desensitized to it.

I R Stoopid

About a year ago, after years of driving cleanly, I had a spate of 3-4 traffic tickets, mostly photo radar (in the same dang spot!) plus this silly one.  I received a warning that further tickets in the next year would lead to revocation of my license for a year.  Gulp.  So I have been driving like a grandmother, until yesterday when I got nailed for 45 in a 30, while arguing with my kids in the back seat. 

Now I will have to see if there is any way to mitigate or reduce the threatened punishment.  A one year's revocation, which by the way is longer than they give first time DUI's in this state, is a pretty harsh and financially burdensome penalty.  Especially given my small business requires a lot of driving to our remote locations and I contribute a lot to driving our kids.  I'll let you know how it goes, but if anyone is experienced with these situations in Arizona, feel free to comment or email.