“A lawsuit alleges a Mississippi casino served so much alcohol to a man taking powerful prescription painkillers that he died on the floor of his hotel bathroom.” Additional dimension of pathos: he was at the casino spending the proceeds of a lawsuit settlement. [AP/Jackson Clarion Ledger]
How to be gentlemanly in a cease-and-desist. [Mashable, Popehat]
Raised on Hoecakes catches a NHTSA impaired-driving program telling a whopper:
“THE DAYS OF BEATING A DRUNK DRIVING ARREST HAVE BEEN RULED EXTINCT….
“If you are arrested, you will be prosecuted and likely lose your license, money and car.”
As Raised on Hoecakes says:
“Cool, huh? Only one problem: it isn’t true. Someone missed the memo telling judges to make arrests for DUI a resulting conviction 100% of the time.” In Florida, to take one state he says is representative, there were 55,722 DUI tickets and 33,625 DUI convictions in 2011, and although not all cases are closed the same year they begin, the estimated conviction rate still must run closer to 60 percent than 100 percent. Nor is it true that all arrests result in prosecution: prosecutors decline to press some charges where they deem the evidence in hand to be weak, and almost everyone, with the possible exception of certain hosts of TV crime shows, agrees that’s as it should be.
I suppose the generous way to interpret untruths like the ones on this poster would be as a fancier way to say, “Don’t drive drunk, you’ll get caught.” But they also send a rather more disturbing message: “If arrested on DUI and you believe the government’s case against you is weak, better not fight, just take a plea. Because it doesn’t matter how strong your defense is, a judge won’t save you.”
Presumably that second message is unintentional. [More: Scott Greenfield]
“I don’t care what the law says, you’re getting a summons,” says the officer. But property rights turn out to have their day. [Vivian Lee, NY Times "City Room"] More: Above the Law interview with Brooklyn Law student Andrew Rausa.
A little while back, Mayor Bloomberg’s crew in New York City floated a trial balloon about restricting liquor sales, pursuant to the now-familiar “public health” rationale. After meeting with instant public outrage in that entertainment-intensive city, the idea was quickly scrapped. Perhaps it is sheer coincidence that scholars at the mayorally endowed Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University are now helping to promote proposed measures in Baltimore cracking down on liquor stores, which Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has now endorsed. One initiative would close approximately 100 of the city’s liquor stores; another would ban stores with a substantial liquor business (20 percent or more of sales) from selling any item to minors, such as milk or batteries. Among stores targeted by the city for uncompensated closure is one that was voted “Best Wine Store” by City Paper readers a few years ago: “Health and planning officials are targeting stores that they say are in mostly poor neighborhoods and are a public health nuisance because they have been linked to violent crimes. … But at least four of the five stores in north Baltimore are longtime businesses, whose owners say they are in relatively crime-free communities and get along with their residential neighbors,” notes the Sun. More advocacy for the bans here (columnist Dan Rodricks suggests owners transform some of the shuttered stores into “bakeries or small restaurants”) and here (“Park Heights Renaissance” group).
Maryland blogger Tom Coale (HoCoRising) responds:
As I’ve said many times before, these laws that appear facially valid and high-minded almost always end up with unintended consequences. In this case, I can certainly foresee a 15 year old being prohibited from buying his family food while his two parents are at work, and having no where else to make this small part of their family unit work. There are some exemptions to address this, but I can’t see this Council considering every circumstance across Baltimore. If you don’t want kids at liquor stores, work on building the business community and rehabilitating neighborhoods.
“The Spokane City Council voted [unanimously Feb. 27] against a settlement in which a Spokane police officer fired in 2009 after a DUI and hit and run, would have been rehired and received $275,000. … Councilmember Mike Fagan said during the City Council meeting, ‘I not only say no, but I say hell no.’” [KREM] Attorney Bob Dunn, representing former officer Brad Thoma, said “his client was fired after the city refused to accommodate Thoma following a doctor’s diagnosis of alcoholism. ‘Disability law clearly identifies that alcoholism is just that a disability. Washington follows the ADA.’ The case started in 2009 when Thoma hit another vehicle while driving drunk then fled the scene.” Dunn said he would file a $4 million suit on behalf of Thoma. [same]
Brian Sullivan in the ABA Journal recounts the Northern California saga (earlier) of fake winery events, honeytrap Match.com paramours and other ploys by which detectives hired by angry spouses would try to entrap hubbies into DUI arrests, with police connivance.
In Jefferson County, Colorado, police have filed misdemeanor charges against a substitute bus driver for allegedly heading into a crosswalk against the right of way, hitting three middle school students. After questions were raised about the school’s having hired the driver in October — “He was convicted on a DUI in 1992 and he was going through alcohol rehabilitation treatment as recently [as] 2009″ — a spokesman for the school district cited the following: “It is illegal under state and federal disability laws to deny employment solely on the basis of a history of treatment for alcohol or substance abuse.” There is no indication in the article that alcohol was a factor in the bus accident. [KDVR via Brian Martinez]
“An American Indian tribe sued some of the world’s largest beer makers today, claiming they knowingly contributed to devastating alcohol-related problems on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.” The Oglala Sioux tribe is asking for $500 million. [AP; Lincoln Journal-Star; Don Surber] More: Jacob Sullum, Ted Frank.
“A New Jersey man who got so drunk playing beer pong at a Greenwich Village pub that he thought walking across a busy highway was a good idea cannot sue the bar over his injuries, a judge has ruled.” [Dareh Gregorian, NY Post]
“D.C. United’s Charlie Davies is suing the owners of a Washington nightclub and the drink company Red Bull for $20 million, claiming they are responsible for a fatal car crash that ended the MLS player’s hopes of joining the 2010 U.S. World Cup team. Davies, now 25, was a passenger in the car driven by a woman who has since pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving in the 2009 one-car crash that killed a second passenger.” Perhaps his theory will be that the nightclub had an obligation to assess how drunk the woman was, but he didn’t. [AP/ESPN]
“Jeffrey McCave was sentenced in a county court to thirty days in jail, two years of probation and a $1000 fine for listening to music in an undriven car parked on his father’s driveway while drunk. The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday used the case to clarify that the charge of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) does not apply in a personal driveway.” [The Newspaper]
“A whistle-blower tells how a private detective arranged for men to be arrested for drunk driving at the behest of their ex-wives and their lawyers — and that entrapment using decoys was only one of many alleged misdeeds.” [L.A. Times; Contra Costa County (Bay Area), Calif.]