Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wyatt Emmerich takes on DUI arrests

Wow. Northside Sun Publisher Wyatt Emmerich has a few things to say about DUI arrests in his column:

"Meanwhile, there were 33,153 Mississippi DUI arrests last year, an astounding number. If DUIs were randomly distributed, every driver in the state would get at least one during his lifetime.

A Colorado study showed that 20 percent of those arrested for DUIs had legal blood alcohol levels. The problem is that residual alcohol in your mouth can distort the results of the unreliable portable breathalyzers police often use to make an arrest.

Applying the Colorado study to Mississippi, 6,500 innocent Mississippians are arrested for DUI each year. Many lack the knowledge or money to fight the charge and just plead guilty.

For the innocent, the personal cost of an undeserved DUI is immense: Lost reputations, job opportunities and the 90-day license suspensions. Car insurance rates skyrocket. A DUI often ends up costing $15,000.

If police followed the rules, they would never give a breath test without waiting for at least 20 minutes. But Mississippi police are not that patient, especially when quotas need to be met and $30 million in fines is on the line.

Police often administer breath tests without probable cause: red eyes, the smell of alcohol, weaving within your lane, a bad taillight, making a wide turn, and other vague and arbitrary reasons are often used by police as probable cause, even though they don’t stand up to judicial scrutiny.

Police are routinely asking, “Have you been drinking?” even though drinking is a legal activity. If you answer yes, count on being tested.

The police need to concentrate on drivers displaying clearly erratic driving, slurred speech and inability to walk straight - these are the behaviors on which genuine probable cause should be based. These are the people who are a danger on the road.

Then there is the infamous “sobriety field test” where the police ask you to do various acrobatic stunts. Studies show perfectly sober people fail this test half the time.

In its eagerness to battle drunk driving, the U.S. Supreme Court has carved out a special place for DUI enforcement, suspending many of the typical civil rights protections afforded by the Constitution.

The clearest case of this is the road block, where drivers are detained for no probable cause. Many legal experts believe road blocks violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure. In allowing road blocks for DUIs, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled several state supreme courts, which found them to violate the rights embodied in state constitutions.

Legal experts on the Web say Mississippi and Georgia have the most backward DUI laws in the nation.

For instance, in Mississippi blowing a .08 is automatic proof of guilt, but blowing under a .08 does not prove you innocent. If you get on the wrong side of an officer, which often can happen just by protecting your rights, they can arrest you anyway, even if you are under the limit. The state Legislature should fix this.

Current Mississippi law gives drivers the right to a blood test, but the statute is watered down and police ignore it. Police should be required to inform drivers that a more accurate test is available. Then police should be required to assist the driver in getting a blood test if they so choose. Any emergency room can do it. The more accurate blood test would further convict the guilty, but it would save thousands of innocent people from getting a huge blight on their record.

Breath samples can be saved for later verification by an independent lab. The cost is about five dollars. But under Mississippi law, the police do not have to save the samples. In essence, they are allowed to destroy the very evidence used to convict.

Like any profession, there are good police and bad police. In this age of smart phones, it is simple to audio or video record your interaction with police. Incredibly, dozens of American citizens have been arrested for recording their encounters with police based on outdated eavesdropping laws. The Legislature needs to change this. Any citizen should have the right to record his interaction with police to ensure proper adherence to the law.

Research has shown that law-abiding citizens who go out to dinner on Saturday night and have wine with dinner are not the cause of alcohol related traffic deaths. The deaths are caused by chronic alcoholic repeat offenders. These are the dangerous people who are weaving down the road and running red lights. The police need to spend their time watching for the true menace and not randomly stopping the two-thirds of Americans who like wine with dinner.

I have never gotten a DUI. In fact, I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket nor been in an accident or been arrested for anything. But I do like wine with dinner when I go to a nice restaurant.

I was stopped once several years ago and tested with a breathalyzer. I passed easily, but I can tell you the Ridgeland police officer did not follow the law. He was the law breaker, not me.

When I asked the officer why he stopped me, he said I was “weaving.” When I immediately reacted with an incredulous, “What?” he said, “Well, weaving within your lane.”

The lanes on Old Canton Road are very narrow, with a few feet on either side. The real reason he stopped me was I was driving a red convertible late on Saturday night. That is an illegal stop, completely lacking in probable cause. This goes on all the time. The Legislature should specify erratic driving, slurring of speech and stumbling as the only legitimate probable cause for DUI testing in Mississippi.

If you must drink and drive, buy a breathalyzer and learn to use it. Some cost as little as $30. If you are above the legal limit, go have dessert. As a general rule, don’t consume more than one drink an hour. When dining with friends, pick a designated driver.

With 33,000 arrests each year, it’s high time the state Legislature passed some basic measures to protect its law-abiding citizens from false DUI arrest. With fewer breath tests to do on law-abiding drivers, maybe the police could keep a better lookout for the real drunks swerving down the road.
" Rest of column






81 comments:

Shadowfax said...

I read this article twice and can't find anything to find fault with. What am I missing?

Anonymous said...

In the middle of this mess now with my son. You can get a DUI in Mississippi without being tested based on the mood of the officer. My son most likely smarted off. He was not tested in any way (blood, breath, or acrobatics). He was allowed to leave the road block, but got a DUI ticket. We are already $2500 into fighting the "opinion" of the highway patrol officer.

Anonymous said...

Well, he's wrong about probable cause. Ever run into a drunk at teh concession stand at a football game, or in the bathroom? What do you see? A red-faced, red-eyed, booze smelling drunk. Its not rocket science to compute that information and deduce that the person is, to some degree, intoxicated.

No different for the LEO on the road. Are there pretextual stops? Yes! But you have a diminished expectation of privacy in a vehicle and a huge percentage of stops meet judical scrutiny.

Two ways to get convicted regarding alcohol: 1. DUI per se which is having .08 BAC determined by a test; or 2. DUI driving impaired by alcohol which is proven by the observations of the person's demeanor, smell, and mental acuity.

btw, there are only 3, as I recall, field sobriety tests that are official 1. walk and return 2. one legged stand 3. horizontal gaze. Officer are supposed to be trained to detect physical conditions other than alcohol that would make the first two a challenge to a sober suspect and to ask about contact lenses for the third.

this guy certainly has an axe to grind, maybe he didn't get a DUI, but its obvious someone close to him got one for whatever reason they don't think is justified.

Bet Mad Mothers don't buy that paper anymore!!

Anonymous said...

Who cares what MADD says or thinks? Their glaring absence throughout the entire Irby saga removed what little credibility they had to begin with.

Micah said...

I was arrest for taking a picture of a cop car at a DUI check point. I sat in jail for the weekend. Got to love Madison County flat foots...People have no rights anymore.

Shadowfax said...

I know of one person who 'lost' his 'lack of probable cause' defense when the officer, a Trace Ranger, said his cause was that he 'thought' he saw something shiney being thrown into a garbage can'. As it turned out, nothing shiney was thrown into a can. All the officer needed to say to the judge was that he 'thought something was.

In another case I'm familiar with, the officer's probable cause explanation was that the man he blue-lighted had weaved in his own lane and then waited almost a mile to pull over. Testimony showed the man could not have pulled over sooner due to the placement of orange cones along the roadway and that he had his blinker on, slowed to ten miles an hour and pulled off as soon as the cones ended. In both cases the judge bought bullshit testimony from the officers.

Challenging 'probable cause' is a no win effort as many dishonest officers as there are who are willing to fabricate testimony.

Anonymous said...

Considering the people tailed by ridgeland pd after the Lynn Fitch party, I think it's time someone said something about the overly aggressive police attitudes in regards to "random stops." fight the hoods and thugs not the random guy leaving a party in hope to maybe catch a .09.

sweeks said...

As the father of a 12 year old son, I dont give a damn whether its .02 or .2. If you drink and get on the road, I hope somebody pulls your ass over and gives you a lighted ride. Regardless if its wine or whiskey, beer or bourbon, call a friend, cab or relative. Theres always another way. Get on the road and expect it to cost ya.

Anonymous said...

@sweeks,

As a father myself, I'm glad you don't make the laws. The absurdity of arresting folks for a BAC of .02 can hardly be expressed in a comment.

I'm not for drunk driving, but I'm not for drivers losing rights either. I am not an expert on DUI laws so I can't comment on the claims made in the article.

I drink wine with dinner and that is the extent of my drinking and driving.

Anonymous said...

Nobody should be driving after drinking any amount of alcohol.
Wyatt Emmerich has some facts wrong. He perpetuates the popular myth that law enforcement officers are given "quotas." That was stupid of him. If he knows and can prove that quotas exist, he should publish his proof. The fact that people are put through hell because of DUI laws is a good thing. More people die in the U.S. EACH YEAR because of drinking and driving than were killed in the entire Viet Nam War.

Anonymous said...

@2:06pm speaking of facts and myth - I don't think "More people die in the U.S. EACH YEAR because of drinking and driving than were killed in the entire Vietn Nam War." is accurate - at least by the numbers I've seen on each of those. No need to exagerate to make your point.

Anonymous said...

He was probably pissed because Aaron was popped ... or maybe it was Uncle Omar's arrest that made him so angry. He does have an ax to grind. Now I know to stay away from his publication.

Anonymous said...

Wyatt has some courage to print this with all of the MADD momentum. Lowering the legal BAC was more about increasing revenue than saving lives. If someone is dangerously drunk and gets behind the wheel, by all means throw the book at them, but that's not always the case. I have a friend who recently got a DUI in Jackson after having two glasses of wine with a meal at a restaurant. In addition to the steep fine, suspended license, and other fees she also has to pay to go to "counseling" even though she doesn't have a problem and had never been an any trouble before. The person running the sessions pretty much admitted they only needed her cash and told her she didn't have to come back after the first time.

Justin said...

He makes complete sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I've been known to call a tow truck to a bar....$125.00 is cheaper than DUI.....

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that all the people that are so adamant that it doesn't matter if it's .0799 (you know, the legal limit) or lower are just as torked up about people dealing with children, talking on cell phones, putting on makeup, eating fast food, talking to others in the car, looking at anything other than the road in front, etc., etc., etc. Let's follow this to the only conclusion: nobody but the driver in the car, hands always at 10-2 (better not sneeze because we all close our eyes when we sneeze), eyes fixed firmly ahead, speed controlled by government installed throttle limiters, and so on. Life is full of risks, but if you're below .08 then the government doesn't care.

Anonymous said...

I can't speak for all LE Agencies, but I'm almost positive the MHP gets Fed dollars based on DUI #s. While that technically isn't a quota, it is damn sure getting there.

Additionally, are there that many people in this state that believe driving under the influence should be zero tolerance? As in, no driving after any alcohol, no exceptions. Just curious.

Anonymous said...

QUICK STORY - after opening a can beer and having three sips (honestly, no exxageration) of beer before going through a roadblock. I didnt even hide the beer, i was ticketed for dui. after arriving to the precinct i blew a .065 (seems high for three sips of beer) anyway the woman giving the test looked at me after i had passed and said she was going to perform a second test cuz the machine malfunctioned. huh yeah right. HERE IS THE KICKER - i was sent to jail and arrested for DUI. Judge laughed and apologized. SECOND - they took my 9mm for a year and half to test fire it to make sure it was clean.

And shadowfax i have been pulled over for swerving with in my lane it for real.

And Jackson hold on tight till Yo nu sheriff starts harrassing the middle aged white folks. You have not seen WHITE FLIGHT yet.

Anonymous said...

@2:22 Not an exaggeration. The stats are skewed because drinking is frequently not cited as the cause. As an example - A person with impaired driving runs a stop sign. Cause of the deaths is listed as "Running a stop sign." Back in the 80s the MHP checked their data and found that drinking alcohol contributed to three times as many highway-related deaths that they had thought.

Anonymous said...

@2:44 ANY alcohol is DANGEROUS. It makes no sense to operate a 3,000 pound piece of machinery after "having a few sips of beer." It's madness.

Anonymous said...

I smell a MADD hatter.

Anonymous said...

its a two lakes conspiracy

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Wyatt.

Anonymous said...

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), "A motor vehicle crash is considered to be alcohol-related if at least one driver or non-occupant (such as a pedestrian or pedalcyclist) involved in the crash is determined to have had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01 gram per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. Thus, any fatality that occurs in an alcohol-related crash is considered an alcohol-related fatality. The term 'alcohol-related' does not indicate that a crash or fatality was caused by the presence of alcohol."

In 2008, there were 13K alcohol-related vehicular fatalities in the US.

That's about half of the total fatalities resulting from accidental falls. Those falls were not alcohol-related, though.

Anonymous said...

@4:23 So you're saying don't looks at the stats because they're scewed, just take your word for it that they're wrong but high enough that you're not exagerating? If we can just take your word for it, why can't we just take Wyatt's word for it?

Anonymous said...

Lord knows there are problems with drinkers who drive, but Wyatt has,with much courage (the red cnv),made the point that the police should really be alert for the obvious ones we all see frequently who are obviously driving impaired. The police, God luv 'em, are as susceptible to abusing their powers as all of us have been since the Garden of Eden and in DUI land, many of them do abuse it. One can have no argument with Wyatt's logic as the "questionable" stops eat up hours of the officer's time and clears the road for the serious violators to weave alone.

Curt Crowley said...

"sweeks said...
As the father of a 12 year old son, I dont give a damn whether its .02 or .2. If you drink and get on the road, I hope somebody pulls your ass over and gives you a lighted ride."

sweeks, here's hoping someone plants an 8ball on you during a traffic stop and you get get a "lighted ride" for some shit you didn't do.

When someone is arrested that is below 08 and is not impaired, they have been arrested and deprived of their freedom for something they did not do. Attitudes like yours are the reason some officers think it's okay.

Anonymous said...

Crime stats and Emmerich is all that appears on this site now. Is that intended?

Lisa said...

Kudos to Wyatt and Curt. Obviously, half of the people posting on here have never encountered the RPD where they'd arrest your 80 year old grandmother for DUI even if she was stone cold sober. There are other things besides drinking that can make driving dangerous-texting, putting on makeup, playing with the radio, ADD, etc. I'd much rather be on the road with a good driver who is .08 than a stupid teenager texting.

Anonymous said...

Well phrased, Lisa

Lisa said...

Thank you, anon 8:37. I was a RPD victim. $5,000 and many hours of wasted time later, I was cleared and cop was fired for perjury in another case. I can assure you there are many other innocent victims out there like me. This is probably one of the reasons Ridgeland has become so crime ridden. The police are more worried about collecting fines than catching thugs and criminals.

Anonymous said...

You can get a DUI without the magic number of .08 BAC. Most cops are looking for anything once you are pulled over. You have no rights once you are in the clutches of the police, they will lie and find something to pin on you. We live in a police state where you have the illusion of freedom, but we have been yolked like cattle. The DUI laws are just the beginning, it will be gun owners then eventually "thought" criminals. Orwell was right all along.

Lisa said...

You're right 8:51. They will give you a DUI if they even think you're under the influence of anything. This is how dirty cops like Soto were able to arrest so many people every day. They bring in so much money that the mayor, chief of police, judges, etc. look the other way. However, it's catching up with Ridgeland. Look how much crime has increased because of their priorities.

Anonymous said...

I was a RPD victim. $5,000 and many hours of wasted time later, I was cleared and cop was fired for perjury in another case.

Jimmy Houston is best practices management Svengali!

Anonymous said...

DUI's are all about Money
Thank U. Wyatt !!! Good JOB

Rebekah said...

Ok...I read through the article until I got to the part where it reported about being innocent during a dui. No dumbass. If you get pulled over for drinking WHILE driving then you should get a dui. No penny in your mouth, no lack of food or even body weight should have anything to do with it. You drink...you get behind the wheel...you get pulled over then you get a dui. This whole bullshit is from defence dui attorneys who make huge amounts of money from their stupid clients. I have had a dui. Screwed my entire life up....of course, I was 21 but it sucked. If you drink and get behind the wheel then pay for whatever happens because of it. Not saying I haven't gotten behind the wheel after a few glasses of grape therapy...and if I did something STUPID to justify getting pulled over then I deserve a dui...Why does everyone have something to say about this? You drink...you drive....you are driving under the influence...case closed. You are guilty. Doesn't matter who you are...doesn't matter how much you have had to drink...Why is this such a hard topic to understand and comprehend?

Anonymous said...

Oxford is the worst. Spend an afternoon in municipal court listening to the officers testify. And now all the arrests are posted on the internet at the Oxford Crime Report site. I'm glad Wyatt is willing to speak out about the DUI racket.

Anonymous said...

Cops lie, end of story

Lisa said...

Rebekah, I know you've heard of Soto. I offered to blow and I blew hard and heard the machine working. He used that whole "you didn't blow hard enough so therefore you're refusing". Of course, he took me to a different police station because the one in Ridgeland was "broken". It was total BS. Before that, he did the sobriety tests and they were done incorrectly. He couldn't even count. To quote Sinatra, "He'll get his".
I've heard Oxford is really bad. I've heard they're stopping people outside restaurants with paper cups who aren't even in cars and arresting them.

Lisa said...

10:53 And, judges rarely go against their officers unless there's some type of really hard evidence as in the case where Soto was fired for perjury.

Curt Crowley said...

Rebekah: "This whole bullshit is from defence dui attorneys who make huge amounts of money from their stupid clients."

Actually, it's in us defense lawyers' economic best interest if the public doesn't find out about the cops' DUI racket. The Legislative reforms Wyatt advocates would result in fewer DUI arrests, which would cost us money. Look at it this way: If every officer were like Soto, I'd own a Learjet.

"You drink...you drive....you are driving under the influence...case closed. You are guilty."

Thank God that isn't the law. 80% of the population would be convicted of DUI if this was the standard.

The way the system works now, any driver can be convicted of DUI based on the subjective word of a dishonest officer. In my estimation, a person's freedom is too important to take a chance that an officer like Soto is running up numbers to win an award and make himself feel taller than he actually is.

Curt Crowley said...

When an officer asks "How much have you had to drink tonight?," there is a high probability he has made his mind up that you are under the influence and are going to jail. And yes this applies even if he asks this question immediately upon walking up to your window.

As Wyatt pointed out, there's nothing you can do to avoid being arrested for DUI. However, there are some things you can do to avoid being convicted.

1. Never, ever admit to drinking any amount of alcohol. None. Not 2 beers, not a sip-and-a-half, not wine with communion last week. Nothing.

2. Never, ever admit to taking any type of drugs--even prescription drugs

3(a). Never, ever say you are coming from a bar. I have actually heard the following on a dashcam before: Officer: "Where you coming from?" Driver: "Fire." Game over.

3(b). Wash that damn stamp off the back of your hand before you get behind the wheel.

4. Never, ever blow into a portable breath test. The PBT is the handheld roadside test. You are not required to blow into the PBT. Your license will not be suspended if you refuse. He's already made up his mind anyway, so why give him more evidence?

5. Never, ever perform any field sobriety tests. These are voluntary. No license suspension if you refuse. And you *will* fail them. How do I know you will fail the tests? Because I know who is grading them.

6. Don't worry about pissing off the officer by refusing these tests. If he gets pissed, what's he gonna do? Take you to jail? That's going to happen anyway.

7. Be polite. Don't curse or be an ass.

Follow these tips and you will make your lawyer's job a hell of a lot easier when your case goes to trial.

Anonymous said...

I offered to blow and I blew hard and heard the machine working. He used that whole "you didn't blow hard enough so therefore you're refusing". Of course, he took me to a different police station because the one in Ridgeland was "broken". It was total BS. Before that, he did the sobriety tests and they were done incorrectly. He couldn't even count.

Jimmy Houston is the best damn police chief this side of the Pecos! 'Integrity' is more than a concept to Jimmy, its his middle name!!

Anonymous said...

Assorted tip:

Demand a trial for any and all charges. If a critical mass of citizens would do this, the system would collapse, and we could have real penal code reformation. No, not everyone would do it - but it's like Uranium 235, you ain't gotta have it all, just enough to enrich for a critical mass. (My physics may be a little off, but I think that's right.)

If every charge from speeding to all liberty stealing drug possession crimes were tried - well, there just ain't enough resources.

You will never affect your legislators: they take money from AB, MADD, BAC, and every other ill intentioned source for a reason, and it isn't to serve you. But you're welcome to keep believing in the delusion they care about you; it's gotten our society so far in advancing justice, that I can see why you wouldn't give it up. /sarc

Yes, the judges and prosecutors will make examples with harsh sentences in hopes they can inspire fear, but the truth is if a critical mass just said, "fuck you", we could then have a criminal code that actually *gasp* dealt with real crime. They count on your fear.

Now you have collection agencies also known as municipal and justice courts (and cir.'s). Ask a lawyer who's practiced more than 30 days if he believes anything remotely "just" happens in justice or municipal court, and if they respond affirmative, my money says you're talking to a prosecutor.

So happy to see this debate. (And no, I don't have a financial interest, but I would like my kids to know the difference between being told they have liberty and actually having it.)

Anonymous said...

8. Stay the hell away from Victor Carmody. You'll pay his office roughly $10k and you'll be lucky if he even interviews you prior to trial. All he's interested in is whether or not the testing officer knew what he was doing or if the machine was not calibrated. Otherwise, he's a potted plant in the courtroom.

Lisa said...

I actually have a good cop story. My daughter was the DD for 3 other friends. She said she told them to throw out their alcohol. She went through a roadblock around Bay Pointe which I guess is in the PRV district. The cop shined a light in there and saw a beer can in the console and told her to throw it out before she got to the roadblock on Spillway Road. That would never have happened anywhere else in MS.

Anonymous said...

Hey Curt,

Good advice that a SOBER person will have no trouble following.

Problem is that drunks lose their JUDGMENT and do stupid things.

That's why its easy to observe someone that's had too much to drink.

Anonymous said...

6:19 ~ So, not only did the cop ignore the open container law, he encouraged the driver to break another law by littering. I'll suggest he was swayed by the giggling of four pretty girls, one of whom probably flashed him.

Anonymous said...

I guess the " shouldn't drive after a few sips of beer" folks think we should take a cab home from church after Communion.

There is a great deal of solid research on how alcohol affects the body. If one is going to weigh in on drinking and driving, one should bother to READ the research.

And, it's pretty clear that some are driving with " impaired judgment" without their lips having ever touched evil alcohol.

Lisa said...

Yes, 7:25, I suppose he did. It was actually a car with two couples. At least the driver wasn't drinking and 3 other young adults had a DD. He could have easily arrested all 4 of them. And, my daughter is the only person I know who was stopped by Soto and let go. She was probably going over the speed limit. He stopped her, saw that it was her and said, "Oh, it's you. Never mind".

Anonymous said...

Some thoughts here: 1. Someone obviously did some scientific studies that said .08 was the point where you shouldn't be driving, and I'm pretty sure that they were being safe in setting it at that point. Also, is that the limit for drivers under 21 is .02. 2. If driving after consuming less than the legal limit or anything at all is a problem, then they should haul people in for talking on their cell phones, texting, putting on makeup, talking with the passenger(s), listening to the radio, etc. All can impair someone's ability to drive at least as much as having a glass of wine or two with dinner. 3. It is about money. MADD gives cash awards to the officers with the most DUI arrests and there is funding for departments who reach certain levels. As in Lisa's case, the officer steered her to a bail bondsman who just happened to be at the police station when they got there. You can't tell me there wasn't some cash kicked back to the officer then. That kind of thing not only happened with Soto, but it's common with the Ridgeland PD, and probably others, and Jimmy Houston knew and did nothing about it.

Anonymous said...

MADD has a powerful lobby. No legislature wants to be on the hit list of anyone, especially MADD. (Term limits anyone?)

Cops enjoy arresting people. Cops like to wear their arrests on their sleeves. STORM was created to reward cops for DUI ARRESTS, not DUI CONVICTIONS.

The state courts are not going to piss off the cops nor MADD. They must be re-elected, too.

If you want to read an interesting case of a man arrested by an on-duty cop (Chief of Police) outside his jurisdiction, convicted at the trial court with no presentation of culpable evidence, and affirmed by the Miss Supreme Court, read Delker v. State and its waddle through the 'system.'

http://www.mssc.state.ms.us/Images/Opinions/CO66543.pdf

Anonymous said...

you leave out the drug and alcohol rehab industry that has flourished at the hands of the courts as an alternative to doing hard time.

Anonymous said...

I was once pulled over in Flowood in broad daylight before 8 am and asked if I had been drinking. As soon as he got a good look at me (and I assume smelled the inside of the car), he knew better than to try to get me for DUI. I'm just a bad driver, not a drunk one. :)

Anonymous said...

Anyone who defends drinking and driving is dangerous. Anyone convicted of DUI should be put in prison for a minimum of three years. Driving a vehicle is dangerous enough when everybody on the road is sober.

Anonymous said...

Really? Dangerous? Three years? What an asinine asshole you are.

Anonymous said...

@4:59 It is clear what kind of people enjoy watching innocent people die so rednecks can be irresponsible, selfish, drunken slobs.

Anonymous said...

Dangerous? I am.

I am dangerous to those that believe in pre-crime. I'm dangerous to those that think making a criminal out of an otherwise law abiding person stops crime. It's called the criminal justice system, not the criminal prevention system.

Crime is created out of law and the notion that removing freedoms of the whole in order to prevent crimes of the few has grown out of control. If someone drinks, drives and hurts another, that is the crime that should be punished. Otherwise, one should be punished for driving just as much as they should be for drinking since both are otherwise legal.

Drinking to the point that you can't control the vehicle is criminal. Drinking to the point that you hit a target number that's arbitrarily chosen and bears no idea of your actual impairment is simply making a criminal out of someone otherwise abiding by laws.

Anonymous said...

4:28, you are a damn idiot, alcohol is legal. Drinking and driving is legal as longs under . 08. Cops lie, having a cop give a field sobierty test is like having a prisoner hold court.

Lisa said...

Some of these zero tolerance comments are ridiculous. They're probably the same people yapping and texting on their cell phones, looking at themselves in the mirror, not paying attention, etc.

Anonymous said...

Beer in hand. No intention of driving. I liked the comment, "I've called a TOW TRUCK."

Drunk driving is stupid.

Punishing those who are responsible and had a glass of wine with dinner because there are too many drunks in this depressed place we call MS is what one might refer to as a "cottage industry". Think: Cops, Lawyers, Judges, Hospitals, Doctors, et al.

Anonymous said...

you can get a DUI if the cop thinks you are taking a legally prescribed substance, like a pain pill or anxiety medication. Should you be dumb enough to have a few pills in your pocket, you can get possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. My advice is never carry any loose pills and never admit to taking any substance, in fact, never talk to a cop unless spoken to, and limit your answers to yes or no. Not all cops are assholes, but the ones out at night giving DUIs at checkpoints are superdicks.

Anonymous said...

I'm ok with it being legal to .08.
Just throw the .09 and above in jail for two years.

Not one innocent person should be injured or killed because people are stupid and selfish.

Lisa said...

9:15 You are totally right. I have warned my friends not to carry their prescription pills around or worse, carry them around loosely without the bottle. Cops will make you think they can search your car and anything in it, including your purse. But, then, you leave that stuff at home and your house gets broken into like mine did 2 weeks ago and they take your prescriptions. The alarm has been reset.

Lisa said...

10:19, you're ok with someone drinking and driving at .08 but they should get TWO years in jail for .09? Are you serious? Do you know how little of a difference that is and how the machines can make results unclear? That's one of the dumbest comments I've heard today.

Anonymous said...

@10:19 said
Not one innocent person should be injured or killed because people are stupid and selfish.

Innocent people are injured or killed everyday because people are stupid or selfish. .09 isn't anywhere in the definition of stupid or selfish.

A person driving 56mph in a 55mph zone should just get thrown into jail for 2 years. Not one innocent person should be injured or killed because people are stupid and selfish.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, if you stop to think about it, there is NO ZERO reason why anyone should drink any alcohol and operate a 3000 pound moving object anywhere near another person.

Just ask yourself how we got to this point. What made any sane person think this should be permitted?

It's crazy!

And now we have a so-called journalist taking out a vendetta on the people who have to informed parents their children died in a car wreck because somebody "had a happy time."

Anonymous said...

If nothing else, this thread proves neo-prohibitionism is alive and well.

Lisa said...

I don't think a glass of wine with dinner makes you any more impaired than someone talking on a cell phone, yelling at their kids, taking anti-depressants, playing with the radio, texting, putting on makeup, looking away from the road, lack of sleep, etc. As I said, I'd much rather be on the road with a good driver who has had a glass of wine with dinner than a teenager texting or talking on the phone or a bad driver. There are plenty of bad drivers out there who are completely sober. If I wasn't such a good defensive driver, I'd probably have an accident everyday. Some stupid lady just pulled out in front of me 20 minutes ago. Had I not been paying attention, it could have been a bad accident.

Anonymous said...

Lisa...If you had been paying attention and drunk, your chances of having a bad accident would have been much greater.

I agree with you about cell phones and driving. I'm hoping there will be a lawsuit someday that will shut down the use of cell phones in automobiles...even if it means shutting down cell phones everywhere.

A lawsuit that makes the cell phone companies pay for accidents they cause would be fine with me.

Anonymous said...

Okay,
That's a couple of glasses of wine with supper, and cell phones.
Don't stop there, ban makeup in cars, kids in cars, other passengers in cars, radios in cars (or at least the ones with those pesky buttons, side windows in cars 'cause you just might not be looking at the road. Oh Hell, just go ahead and ban motor vehicles completely, and don't forget about those bicycles, horse buggies, you know anything that might pose any kind of risk to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to understand. When you are operating a motor vehicle it is perfectly alright to put on make up, talk on the phone, drink alcohol, et al. Makes sense to me. Police should not worry about enforcing the law and confine themselves to telling people their loved ones are dead because people have the right to act like fools.

Lisa said...

You risk your life driving or riding in a car everyday. Accidents happen and they can happen in a split second before you even know it. I will probably have to stop driving one day before I'm frail and elderly because I have narcolepsy. Even now, on some afternoons, I have to fully concentrate and put all of my attention into driving home in the afternoons for fear of dosing off even for a second. I can't drive long distances unless I have someone in the car to talk to me the entire way and share the driving. I had to drive to south Louisiana last night for a funeral. The last 30 minutes, I had to literally fight to stay awake. A lot of it was due to also having a cold that made me sleepier. I did not drive home because I wouldn't have been able to and it would have been more stupid to try to drive again. My point is, at any time, someone could have some sort of seizure, heart attack, stroke, doze off, etc. I thought I had read studies where it was shown that people who were really tired were more of a danger on the road than someone who'd had a couple of drinks. Nurses and doctors work long, hard shifts. They're extremely tired when they get off and I've heard some of them talk about how hard it is to drive home afterwards.

Anonymous said...

Distracted drivers are the number 1 cause of car accidents and speeding is 2nd. Drunk driving is third. The remainder are caused by those violating driving laws or who become physically impaired or who fall asleep behind the wheel.

Our policies and opinions on issues are driven by effective organization,advertising and promotion and not by reality.

I suspect that if we had film on "news" shows comparing a driver who has a .08 and a driver texting or talking/dialing a cell phone, the .08 driver would make it through the driving course more safely.

Anonymous said...

It's actually gotten so a fellow can't even enjoy a Sunday drive with cold beer between your knees and one more in the sack on the seat. These crackdowns are ruining all our aesthetic experiences.

Anonymous said...

KF, Didn't you post an article in the not so distant past about a Ridgeland cop that lost his job for falsely arresting people for DUIs? I seem to remember the cop received many accolades and incentives for his many DUI arrests. He got busted for false testimony, fired (or retired), and went to work in Tennessee as I recall.

There were many comments on that article that were quite opposite from many any this one. Can you pull that one up for old time's sake?

Anonymous said...

Found the corrupt DUI cop story
http://kingfish1935.blogspot.com/2010/04/more-on-soto.html

and this one
http://kingfish1935.blogspot.com/2010/05/another-soto-victim-comes-forward.html

I thought there was one more on Soto, but I can't find it.

Anonymous said...

It is about revenue raising and officers get medals for more DUI's. I got pulled over because the cop in Flowood had a crush on the girl that owned the car I was driving. Got a DUI. The Judge in Flowood has a 100% GUILTY record. The lawyers don't even bother to put the poor soul that got arrested on the stand. Just appeal to the next court. I was found not guilty because I had the money to pay a good lawyer and the head of the Mississippi Crime lab testified I could not have had any alcohol in me. But I dodged a pot hole and was found guily of careless driving what ever the hell that is or what the cop an ex mall cop made up. If you get a not guity then the state, city or county should have to pay the legal fees. It would stop this racquet.

Anonymous said...

If you don’t want a DUI in Mississippi, then move!!! More than likely whatever state you pick you will end up getting a DUI there. I have lost three friends in DUI related accidents. All three were hit by people who thought that they were ok to drive. I have personally watched one person die on the side of the road after being hit by a drunk driver. I have seen more people being hauled off in ambulances because of DUI related accidents than any person should. I have even stood beside a 19 year old girl as the doctor told her that she will never walk again because her intoxicated boyfriend ran his car off the road at 85mph (in a 35mph zone). If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a police officer. The most I have ever seen out of someone who is putting on the makeup, texting or messing with the radio is a minor fender bender.

I have people pass field sobriety tests all the time. I have let people call rides before because they had one to many. But, I can honestly say the ones I have taken to jail for DUI needed to be in jail for DUI. A person can be a fall down drunk at a .05 and a person that’s a .43 (on a blood kit not the Intoxilyzer) can walk the straightest line you will ever see. The first is a novice drinker and the second a thirty year drunk. People get mad at the police officer for issuing them a DUI and they get mad at the police officer for not finding the intoxicated motorist (that had the “one” glass of wine with dinner) before they hit their loved one.

There is a simple way of not getting a DUI. DON’T DO IT!!!!! If you have to ask yourself, “Am I ok to drive?” Then you are not ok to drive. Not only do you put other people’s lives at risk, you put your own. I could care less if I issue one DUI or a million, but if one person gets hurt or even killed in my jurisdiction while I’m working I failed. This makes me work harder. If you are dumb enough to put yourself in the situation, then you are dumb enough to suffer the consequences.

Try living with the things I have seen. Try coming home to your spouse after seeing somebody’s head that has been crush in a wreck and answer the question, “How was your day?” It’s easy to judge a cop but try being one.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article! I'd like to stress the added nightmare that the DMV imposes in most states, whether you are found guilty or not. For example, in Maine (known for its extremely tough DUI laws and punishments), the arrest alone triggers the forfeiture of your license, and it has nothing to do with the court. To get it back, you first can appeal to a kangaroo DMV civilian court (which will deny you), then you must submit to a 3-day "assessment" program to see if you need alcohol treatment. The website acknowledges that 50% of those in the program fail and are required to seek additional counseling at their own expense. The only counselors to choose from are approved/in bed with the program, and they typically recommend many sessions at upwards of $90 per hour. It takes months and thousands of dollars to be able to drive again: even if your charges are outright dismissed in court. Reform draconian DUI laws and stop making criminals out of ordinary citizens!

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is the Ridgeland Police Department is corrupt from the top to bottom. They are too afraid and stupid to go after real crime, they focus on petty crap. Nothing better than arresting an old lady shoplifting a box of macaroni because she is literally starving. Way to go RPD and Mayor MaGee. Y'all are all jokes and idiots.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS
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