Maricopa County Court » az dui Sat, 18 Dec 2010 00:13:31 +0000 en hourly 1 Nebraska DUI Leads to Suspension from Huskers Football Team /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/nebraska-dui-leads-to-suspension-from-huskers-football-team/ /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/nebraska-dui-leads-to-suspension-from-huskers-football-team/#comments Mon, 13 Dec 2010 20:58:58 +0000 Fred

The University of Nebraska football team has suspended starting defensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler following an arrest for DUI in Lincoln. Police say the 21-year old was stopped around 1:45 Tuesday morning for driving without his headlights and for making a turn without signaling. Steinkuhler had a blood alcohol content of 0.115 percent. He is of legal drinking age but the threshold for intoxication while driving in Nebraska is 0.08%. Steinkuhler was booked for suspicion of drunk driving in Nebraska and is set to appear in Lancaster County court on January 4.

Coach Bo Pelini said that Steinkuhler will not join the football team for the Holiday Bowl in San Diego on December 30. The 6'6", 290-pound Steinkuhler has played a key defensive role for the Huskers this season, starting all 13 games and collecting 46 tackles and 3-1/2 sacks.

Have you been arrested for a NE DUI and are looking for legal help from a qualified Nebraska DUI attorney?

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MADD’s Futile “War on Drunk Driving” /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/madd%e2%80%99s-futile-%e2%80%9cwar-on-drunk-driving%e2%80%9d/ /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/madd%e2%80%99s-futile-%e2%80%9cwar-on-drunk-driving%e2%80%9d/#comments Mon, 13 Dec 2010 15:57:37 +0000 Lawrence Taylor MADD continues to claim victory in it’s aging "War on Drunk Driving", citing its own self-serving statistics.  See for example, Lies, Damned
Lies and Madd Statistics
, MADD "Statistics Again Debunked and A Closer Look at DUI Fatality Statistics.  But the reality is that unconstitutional laws, unfair procedures, Draconian penalties and rampant denial of due process have done little if anything to reduce the incidence of drunk driving.

40 Million in U.S. Driving Drunk or Drugged

Bloomberg Business News, Dec. 9 – Despite massive efforts to curb drunk driving, some 30 million Americans are driving drunk and another 10 million are driving drugged each year, federal officials report.

In fact, in some states the number of drunk and drugged drivers tops 20 percent, according to a report released Thursday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

"This is a pretty high percentage of people that are operating a motor vehicle under the influence of something," said Peter Delany, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality…

On the plus side, there has been a small drop in the rate of drunk and drugged driving in the past few years.

Data from 2002 to 2005 shows the annual rate of drunk driving has dropped from 14.6 percent to 13.2 percent, compared with data from 2006 to 2009. In the same time periods, the annual rate of drugged driving dropped from 4.8 percent to 4.3 percent, according to the report.

In all, 12 states had a reduction in drunk driving, and seven have seen lower levels of drugged driving…

Anna Duerr, a spokeswoman for the advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said her organization was pleased to see a decline in the numbers of drunk and drugged drivers. 

MADD is declaring victory in its "War on Drunk Driving" after a slightly more than one-percent drop?  As I wrote over four years ago, perhaps it’s time to take another approach to the drunk driving problem.  See
Time For a Change.

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Entrapment in DUI Cases /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/entrapment-in-dui-cases/ /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/entrapment-in-dui-cases/#comments Tue, 07 Dec 2010 13:03:10 +0000 Lawrence Taylor Suppose a police officer asks or orders an individual to drive a vehicle — and then arrests him for DUI when he complies?

This situation comes up more often than you might think. Take, for example, the following case that eventually made its way to the New Jersey Supreme Court….

The defendant asked his brothers at a wedding reception to drive him home because he was too intoxicated to drive. In the parking lot, however, the brothers got into a fight, attracting the attention of local police. One of the officers struck a brother with his nightstick. The defendant asked the officer to quit hitting his brother. The officer replied by ordering him to leave the parking lot. When the defendant did not immediately comply, the officer repeated the order and then forcefully escorted him to his truck. The defendant obediently got into the vehicle, started the engine — and backed into a police car.

He was arrested for drunk driving.

At trial, the judge ruled that the defendant had failed to prove entrapment or duress as a defense, and he was convicted. On appeal, however, the conviction was reversed on grounds of quasi-entrapment — that is, the defendant should have been acquitted if he could show that but for the officer’s order to leave in the vehicle he would not have driven. The prosecution appealed this reversal to the state’s supreme court.

Incredibly, the supreme court reversed the lower court and reinstated the conviction. Its reasoning? “Obviously,” the court said, “if the law were to permit [drunk drivers] to offer as a defense that they drove only because they reasonably feared that telling the police that they were drunk might lead to arrest, the invitation to offer a pretext would be clear”. The court continued its twisted logic:

No one ordered the defendant to get drunk and no one ordered defendant to drive drunk. The police did not coerce defendant into driving his vehicle through the use or threats of violence. The police officers merely ordered defendant to get in his truck and leave the scene of the fight…(Emphasis added.)  State v. Fogarty, 607 A.2d 624 (N.J. 1992). 

This “no win” scenario is fairly typical of what I repeatedly refer to as the “
The DUI Exception to the Constitution”.


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New Defense Unveiled /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/new-defense-unveiled/ /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/new-defense-unveiled/#comments Mon, 06 Dec 2010 16:18:02 +0000 Lawrence Taylor Not recommended here in the Colonies, but….

Huddersfield, England
.  A self-styled British witch doctor has been fined pound stg. 250 [$583] after refusing to give a blood test when suspected to be driving under the influence of alcohol.

Nyararia Mukandiwa, 33, was stopped after driving erratically in the West Yorkshire town of  Huddersfield last year, but refused to give officers a blood sample on the grounds that as a witch doctor it was likely to send him into a zombie-like state…

Sounded reasonable to me.

(Thanks to Jay Norton of Kansas City)


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The Field Sobriety “Eye Test”: Science…or Fraud? /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/the-field-sobriety-%e2%80%9ceye-test%e2%80%9d-science%e2%80%a6or-fraud/ /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/the-field-sobriety-%e2%80%9ceye-test%e2%80%9d-science%e2%80%a6or-fraud/#comments Wed, 01 Dec 2010 20:49:13 +0000 Lawrence Taylor The critical part of any pre-arrest drunk driving investigation is the administration of the "field sobriety tests" (FSTs).  These usually consist of a battery of excercises involving balance, coordination and mental agility — and are difficult to perform for even a sober person under ideal conditions (see "Field Sobriety Tests: Designed for Failure?"). 

Although there are many different tests (walk-and-turn, finger-to-nose, alphabet, etc.), an increasing number of law enforcement agencies are requiring their officers to use only the federally-recommended battery of three "standardized" FSTs.  The most recently developed of these three is horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), commonly known as the "eye test".  It is particularly effective in trial not because of its accuracy, but rather because it appears to jurors as scientific in nature.

As I have indicated in previous posts, however, HGN as a test for intoxication is fundamentally flawed and rarely understood or properly administered by police officers.  (See "Nystagmus: The Eye Test", "Nystagmus: The Eye Test (Part 2)", and "Nystagmus: The Eye Test (Part 3)".)

A recent scientific study has now investigated the scientific validity of the nystagmus test:

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test was conceived, 
developed and promulgated as a simple procedure for the determination of the blood alcohol concentration of drivers suspected of driving while intoxicated (DWI). Bypassing the usual scientific review process and touted through the good offices of the federal agency responsible for traffic safety, it was rushed into use as a law enforcement procedure, and was soon adopted and protected from scientific criticism by courts throughout the United States. In fact, research findings, training manuals and other relevant documents were often held as secrets by the state. Still, the protective certification of its practitioners and the immunity afforded by judicial notice failed to silence all the critics of this deeply flawed procedure….

In 1998 the integrity of the statistical evaluation of the original research upon which the validity of the tests rested was unfavorably reviewed [5]. In 2001 new research indicated that the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the cornerstone of the test battery was fundamentally flawed and that the HGN test was improperly conducted by more than 95% of the police officers who used it to examine drivers suspected of driving whileintoxicated (DWI) [6]. This summary critique demonstrates that it is scientifically meretricious and that the United States Department of Transportation indulged in deliberate fraud in order to mislead the law enforcement and legal communities into believing the test was scientifically meritorious and overvaluing its worth in the context of criminal evidence….

Deliberate fraud.  Pretty strong language for a scientific journal.  After reviewing the flawed and deceptive justifications for using nystagmus in DUI investigations, the researchers concluded that the test was essentially without scientific validity.

The state’s argument for the field sobriety tests does not rest on proof of merit, but upon qui tacet consentit reasoning that those tests have been so widely accepted they must have been subjected to some kind of review prior to adoption in the many jurisdictions where they are used, that somewhere along the way someone would have spotted the flaws and shortcomings. Considering that the student manual was originally considered to be a confidential state document and was only obtained through an Open Records Act request, silence from the scientific community cannot be considered an endorsement of the program.


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Another Vigilant “DUI SuperCop” /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/another-vigilant-%e2%80%9cdui-supercop%e2%80%9d/ /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/another-vigilant-%e2%80%9cdui-supercop%e2%80%9d/#comments Mon, 22 Nov 2010 16:56:57 +0000 Lawrence Taylor I’ve posted repeatedly in the past about so-called "DUI Super Cops".  These are officers who rack up record numbers of drunk driving arrests — and are rewarded with MADD awards, departmental awards, promotions and astronomical overtime pay for court testimony. See, for example, Super Cops…and Super Cons, How To Be a DUI Super CopAnother DUI Super Cop and The Latest DUI Super Cop.


Cop Arrests Biker With Cerebral Palsy for DUI

Salt Lake City, UT.  Nov. 9
– A Utah man who suffers from cerebral palsy, epilepsy and other disabilities was stopped while riding a motorized bicycle and charged with DUI after admitting he takes medication. 

As CBS Affiliate KUTV correspondent Chris Jones reports, Mike Tilt was pulled over by Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Lisa Steed on October 28 and asked to take a field sobriety test. 

Tilt, whose left leg is shorter than his right, told the officer that he would likely fail the test (which requires him to put one foot in front of the other), and he did. Tilt told Steed he did not have a driver’s license – he’d given it up 15 years before due to his seizures. 

After asking Tilt if he took medication for his epilepsy, she handcuffed him. 

According to Tilt, when he asked if he were being arrested, Steed replied, "Yeah, for DUI." 

Ironically, Tilt had forgotten to take his medication that night.

In defending the trooper’s actions, Utah Highway Patrol told KUTV that many people drive under the influence of prescription medications. 

They also praised Steed, who was named Trooper of the Year in 2007 for her arrests of drivers suspected of being under the influence. Over the past eight she has made nearly 800 DUI arrests, roughly half that in 2009 alone…

Tilt’s daughter, Courtney Tilt, told Jones, "If she’s proud of taking in an epileptic patient for a DUI, I don’t know what to think of her and her character." 

But further investigation by KUTV found cases where Steed was chastised by judges for allegedly disregarding UHP procedures, in one instance calling her actions "especially troubling." Another judge said she "lacks credibility." 

In some instances (though not in Tilt’s case) Steed conducted field sobriety tests out of view of her police car’s dashboard camera, counter to UHP policy. 

Defense attorney Glen Neeley, who has represented several people stopped by Steed, said to Jones that Steed’s goal is to pull over as many people as possible with the goal of making DUI arrests. 

After KUTV began looking into Steed’s record, UHP contacted the station, telling them they’d started their own inquiry of the trooper’s actions. 

"Was it consistent with what we’re trying to do with our overall perspective of DUI enforcement and review of it? No, it wasn’t," Capt. Mike Rapich told the station of the Tilt case. "This individual is not to be prosecuted for DUI." 

So Tilt is off the hook – but so is Steed. UHP stands behind Steed’s other DUI arrests, saying they "conform to prescribed procedure and the law." 


Whatever happened to ethics, fairness and plain common sense in drunk driving cases? 

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New Police Tactic /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/new-police-tactic/ /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/new-police-tactic/#comments Thu, 18 Nov 2010 20:49:48 +0000 Lawrence Taylor In today’s news, the latest insanity from the front lines….

Huntington Beach Might Post DUI Arrests on Facebook

Huntington Beach, CA.  Nov. 18
– Huntington Beach is considering a new tactic in its crusade against drunk driving: public shaming on Facebook.

The city’s Police Department is looking into posting the names of suspected drunk drivers on Facebook, said Lt. Russell Reinhart…

Reinhart said the Police Department began looking for a new way to publicize drunk-driving arrests after the Huntington Beach Independent, a community newspaper published by The Times, stopped running listings of the arrests.


Note:  the police are destroying people’s reputations — based upon an arrest, not a conviction.  There is nothing in the plans for retractions when those arrested are acquitted or have their cases dismissed.  

Note #2: Huntington Beach is not some quirky little town, but a metropolitan city of over 200,000 in Orange County, California – about 10 miles from my law offices.

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MADD Lobbying for Breathalyzers as Standard Equipment in All Future Cars /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/madd-lobbying-for-breathalyzers-as-standard-equipment-in-all-future-cars/ /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/madd-lobbying-for-breathalyzers-as-standard-equipment-in-all-future-cars/#comments Mon, 15 Nov 2010 17:49:17 +0000 Lawrence Taylor In the wake of their recent success in requiring mandatory ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in the cars of drivers who have been convicted of drunk driving, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been planning the next push: requiring IIDs in all cars. In other words, no car could be sold in the U.S. without devices which would require you to pass a breath test every time you wanted to start the vehicle.  See All U.S. Cars To Have Ignition Interlock Devices?

I’ve posted in the past about how such devices are, at best, inaccurate and problematic. See, for example, Will Ignition Interlock Devices End Drunk Driving?  These are not the expensive, constantly-calibrated high-tech machines used in police stations, but rather assembly-line equipment made by car manufacturers, subject to endless sources of false readings and failures — which can, ironically, cause accidents.  See Ignition Interlock Devices: Dangerous But Profitable.

And I’ve documented that 3 of MADD’s 6 biggest corporate contributors are auto manufacturers who stand to make big profits from mandatory IIDs (another of the 6 major contributors is MADD’s telemarketing company).  See The Truth About Ignition Interlock Devices..

MADD is now finally making their push for federal legislation.  And based upon past successes with legislators unwilling to oppose MADD, the their chances are good.  In today’s news:

MADD Lobbying for Device to Keep Cars From Starting in Driver is Intoxicated

Dallas, TX.  Nov. 15
— …Now in its 30th year, MADD has a new plan and wants to end drunken driving for good. The nonprofit is pushing for the development of alcohol-sensing technology that prevents cars from starting if the driver is intoxicated.

Some say the group is going too far. The $60 million proposed federal legislation to develop the technology has led to the latest round of charges that the group is "neo-prohibitionist."…

And the American Beverage Institute, a restaurant industry group, criticized MADD’s fund-raising techniques this year. MADD relies heavily on expensive telemarketing, which led to poor marks from two charity watchdog groups…

MADD is lobbying Congress to pass an amendment to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act to provide the $60 million needed over five years for the sensor technology. Cars would not start if the driver has a blood alcohol level above the legal limit, at .08 or higher…

MADD’s top critic, the American Beverage Institute in Washington, D.C., says the group is now going after social drinkers.

"They are no longer a mainstream organization," said Sarah Longwell, the institute’s managing director. "Many of their policies are extremely fringe at this point."

The institute fears the alcohol sensing technology will be used against people just having a drink or two.

"When they talk about alcohol sensing technologies, ultimately what it does, it eliminates people’s ability to drink anything before driving," Longwell said. "It’s not about drunk driving anymore, it’s about trying to demonize any drinking prior to driving."…

Would you trust Detroit to mass-manufacture sophisticated breathalyzer technology for your dashboard?


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Should We Punish Drivers Who Pull Over To Sleep It Off? /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/should-we-punish-drivers-who-pull-over-to-sleep-it-off/ /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/should-we-punish-drivers-who-pull-over-to-sleep-it-off/#comments Wed, 10 Nov 2010 13:59:40 +0000 Lawrence Taylor I continue to receive queries concerning a news article I commented on a long ago, "Parking Under the Influence". And the answer is….Yes, you can be arrested in many states for "sleeping under the influence" in your parked car — on the shaky theory that you were probably driving some time earlier and were probably intoxicated at the time.

What was unusual about that Alabama story was that those asleep in their cars had admittedly never driven — but were arrested because they might.The response of MADD and government has been that this helps prevent DUI-related fatalities. As the Alabama sheriff said, "What if they woke up at 2:00am…and decided to drive?" What is frightening, of course, are the obvious ramifications: Where do we stop once we decide to punish folks for what they might do?

In any event, despite the rhetoric about preventing traffic fatalities, the real concern seems increasingly focused on punishment rather than prevention:

Question: If an individual begins driving home from a restaurant and realizes he has had too much to drink, what do we want him to do — if we are truly interested in preventing an accident?

Answer: We would like to see that person pull over and sleep it off.

Question: How do we encourage that conduct?

Answer: We don’t punish him for doing it.

Question: Then why do police continue to arrest and the courts to convict these folks for drunk driving?

There are two issues involved. First, the legal issue: Although under the influence, was the individual driving? The various states have slightly different definitions of what constitutes "driving", but they usually involve "operating" or being "in physical control" of a motor vehicle. Second, the public policy issue: Shouldn’t we encourage conduct that seeks to avoid danger to the public and/or commission of a crime?

Looking at the legal issue first, how can a person be "operating" or "in physical control" of a vehicle if he is asleep? Well, in their stampede to "get tough" on drunk drivers, many states have stretched their definitions of "driving" to the breaking point — and beyond. In State v. Lawrence, 849 S.W.2d 761, for example, the Tennessee Supreme Court held that a defendant who was asleep on the driver’s side of his parked vehicle with the keys in his pants pocket was in "physical control" within the meaning of the DUI statute — and thus guilty of drunk driving. Similarly, in State v. Peterson, 769 P.2d 1221, the Montana Supreme Court held that the defendant was in "actual physical control" of the vehicle when he was found parked off the roadway, asleep in the driver’s seat with the keys in his pocket. There are, fortunately, other courts which have held that this does not constitute driving. See, for example, State v. Bugger, 483 P.2d 404 (Utah).

Most courts do not address the second issue: legalities aside, as a public policy matter should such conduct be punished? This is possibly because judges may feel that is a matter for the legislature to address. But consider the holding of an Arizona court in reversing a DUI conviction:

The interpretation we place on the legislature’s imprecise language is compelled by our belief that it is reasonable to allow a driver, when he believes his driving is impaired, to pull completely off the highway, turn the key off and sleep until he is sober, without fear of being arrested for being in control. To hold otherwise might encourage a drunk driver, apprehensive about being arrested, to attempt to reach his destination while endangering others on the highway. Arizona v. Zavala, 666 P.2d 456.

Makes sense. Of course, angering MADD is not a good way to get reelected to the bench.


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Is the Tide Turning? /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/is-the-tide-turning/ /maricopa-county-courts/maricopa-criminal-court/dui-arizona/is-the-tide-turning/#comments Sat, 06 Nov 2010 23:56:53 +0000 Lawrence Taylor  I’ve railed long and hard in the past about MADD’s neo-prohibitionist goals and its costs to our Constitution.  And it is no coincidence that the organizations’s founder, Candi Lightner, resigned years ago in disgust, saying that MADD had strayed from its original goal of saving lives and become prohibitionist.

Perhaps the public is beginning to awaken to the damage being done by this organization.  In the staff editorial of today’s Toronto Sun:

Have They Gone Madd?

Toronto, Canada.  Nov. 6 –  What was once a maternal grassroots movement to warn of the perils and tragedies associated with drinking and driving, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has sadly devolved into the WCTU.

It must be losing its grip.

The stridently puritanical Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, which brought its tea pot to Canada in 1874, believed even a sniff of demon alcohol caused unemployment, disease, prostitution, poverty and immorality.

And it wanted this "evil" not just restricted but abolished.

Is this MADD’s next mission?

The anti-drunk-driving crusaders, not satisfied with the successful RIDE campaigns they helped launch, are now demanding legislation that would allow police to stop anyone on the pretext of conducting random roadside breath tests (RBT) — anywhere and anytime.

That’s right, without cause, as in a police state — claiming their Ipsos Reid polling has 77% of Canadians support RBTs.

We find this impossible to believe.

The CEO of MADD Canada is Andrew Murie, the same exec who defended a Toronto-area police force last year that, to us, was sending a mixed pre-Christmas message by handing public-intoxication tickets to bar goers waiting on the sidewalk for their prearranged designated driver service.

Instead of congratulating the bar goers for not drinking and driving, and being responsible, however, Murie congratulated the police for busting them, and then laid blame on the bars for over-serving.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is supposed to be against drunk driving, not the act of having a drink or even having one too many drinks.

But it now appears to be against drinking altogether — and this could put its charitable Project Red Ribbon campaign in peril.

The public can only take so much lecturing, hectoring and infringement of its civil liberties.

And we, for one, have had our fill.

MADD had best go back to its maternal grassroots before the public cashes them out as over-bearing, self-important zealots.

We loathe drinking and driving, and we say this without reservation. We are in the news biz, after all, and we daily see far too many tragedies across this country not to agree with MADD’s original cause.

But, unlike MADD, we have not gone temperance.

Nor do we advocate police statism.

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