From the DWI Files

A few DWI-related stories from the past few weeks...

• As more and more states are now allowing police officers to forcibly extract blood of DWI suspects, the New Jersey State Supreme Court recently took the practice a step further. The court ruled that not only may police forcibly draw blood, they may use extreme force in doing so, including force that inflicts permanent physical damage on the suspect.

• The California Highway Patrol was recently forced to turn over the largely pre-written police reports officers use in DWI cases. The templates come already completed with boilerplate language like, "As I spoke with the driver I smelled the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his/her breath. I noticed that the driver had red watery eyes, as well as slow and slurred speech," and "eyes showed lack of smooth pursuit, distinct nystagmus at the extremes and an onset prior to 45 degrees."

Last spring, the U.S. Marine Corps commandant announced that marines on base who were over 18 would be permitted to consume alcohol on special occasions, such as upon returning from an overseas deployment. You can probably guess who objected.

When James Bludsworth began to have a diabetic episode while driving, he pulled his truck over to the side of the road, and passed out behind the wheel. Police in Ozark, Alabama were called to the scene and, when Bludsworth didn't respond to orders to get out of the car, they used a Taser on him. They then arrested him and threw him in a jail cell on charges of resisting arrest and driving under the influence. Though Bludsworth blew 0.0 on a breath test and had no prior criminal record, those charges against him remain. The arresting officer will not be disciplined.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Obviously some of us over here need to redeploy and forcefully implement democracy and freedom back in the States.

  • ||

    Hey Radley, do you have any data on the accuracy/precision of breathalyzers vs. blood tests? I've always been told that it's a good idea to request a blood test in lieu of a breath test (which supposedly is an option in Ohio).

  • ||

    And shenanigans like this don't give me any faith in the quality of breathalyzers.

  • ||

    Not enough to start the week off with the parking ticket shakedown eh Radley. DAMN now I wish I never got out of bed.

  • ||

    "The court ruled that not only may police forcibly draw blood, they may use extreme force in doing so, including force that inflicts permanent physical damage on the suspect."

    So, the cop can shoot you, and then mop up some of the blood with a sponge.

  • ||

    Radley, you just are spoiling my morning. :-)

    Hot Tip: Always Say NO! Never stand up for what you believe in if you are stopped by a cop and you have been drinking, have a bag of dope in the trunk, or a loaded .357.

    Last time I got stopped at one of those unconstitutional police DUI roadblocks it went like this:

    Cop: Good Evening Sir. Have you been drinking?

    TWC: No.

    TWC (on the inside): Fargin' A right, I just had a bottle of great wine with Mrs TWC here, don't she look hot tonight?

    Cop: Fine sir, can we just have a look at your license?

    TWC: Yes, it's right over there in my wallet [points to the console]. May I have permission to get it?

    Cop: Yes, go ahead.

    TWC: [hands the license to the cop]

    Cop: Thank you sir, you can go now. Have a good evening

    TWC: Thanks, you too.

    TWC (on the inside): Where's the probable cause? WTF, you got no crime here in Murrieta? Waste all these police resources……….yada, yada, ad infinitum.

  • ||

    Last spring, the U.S. Marine Corps commandant announced that marines on base who were over 18 would be permitted to consume alcohol on special occasions, such as upon returning from an overseas deployment. You can probably guess who objected.

    MADD vs. the USMC (the Toys for Tots guys and gals). MADD has bitten off more than they know. As a retired squid who constantly belittles jarheads, let me say this, Do Not Fuck With the US Marine Corps!!! I believe that MADD is about to get it's ass handed to them on a platter. Contact them here. Please watch your language. Remember they ARE mothers.

  • ||

    When did MADD become Benedict Arnolds Against Drinking (BAAD)?

  • ||

    Remember they ARE mothers.

    Yeah, mutha fokkers

  • ||

    Like good mothers, MADD said thank you for my comment. Of course they haven't read it yet.

  • ||

    J Sub, I was taught that there were only two kinda squids. One kind was Corpsmen, who were held to be sort of honorary Marines. The other kind, well, we don't talk like that anymore. :-)

    I didn't get along with This Man's Marine Corps very well but if you have go to a hot shooting war those are the guys that you want at your back. Never got closer to war than Camp Pendleton myself, but......

  • ||

    Oh no! Cops rarely perjure themselve on the stand. Those are "isolated incidents" It's after 12:00, go ahead.

  • ed||

    Is there a MAMADD?
    If the two groups met, would there be a matter vs. antimatter cataclysm?

  • ||

    Shit!

    The templates come already completed with boilerplate language like, "As I spoke with the driver I smelled the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his/her breath. I noticed that the driver had red watery eyes, as well as slow and slurred speech," and "eyes showed lack of smooth pursuit, distinct nystagmus at the extremes and an onset prior to 45 degrees."

    Oh no! Cops rarely perjure themselve on the stand. Those are "isolated incidents" It's after 12:00, go ahead.

  • ||

    Hey, one of the Brickbats in the new issue is about a guy experiencing insulin shock, who was dumped from an Amtrack train in a state park and two miles from the nearest road. The Amtrack staff thought he was drunk.

    Apparently the new prohibitionism doesn't bode well for diabetics. I guess they deserve it for eating all that sugar and high fructose corn syrup anyway.

  • ||

    J Sub, I was taught that there were only two kinda squids. One kind was Corpsmen, who were held to be sort of honorary Marines. The other kind, well, we don't talk like that anymore. :-)

    TWC, I was a fire controlman. Does NGFS (Naval Gunfire Support) ring a bell? Semper Fi.

  • ||

    Remember MADD, the grunts have M-1s, Bradleys, A-10 warthogs, automatic weapons and all sorts of other fun stuff.

  • ||

    Is there a MAMADD?
    If the two groups met, would there be a matter vs. antimatter cataclysm?


    I don't know about a MAMADD - but there used to be a DAMM - Drunks Against MADD Mothers...

  • ||

    Fvck MADD. I am not a Marine, but I have respect for them, anyone who can handle fully automatic weapons responsibly can handle a beer, give me a break.

    We need to set a single age for all adult privledges, driving, tobacco, drinking, voting, military service, being tried in adult court, etc... What we have now is ridiculous. 18 for most things, 21 for alcohol, 19 for tobacco in some places etc. How can a 20 year old be a child wrt alcohol, but a 12 year be tried as an adult?

  • ||

    J Sub LOL. Yessir.

    Off Topic, it always amazed me to see those old films of things like the assault on Iwo where the Navy ships would fire the guns and the recoil was so huge that the ships would rock up out of the water and you could see the bottom of the hull. Always wondered why they didn't tip over.

    More Off Topic, an old, old friend of mine used to do the same job and then somehow eventually ended up managing San Clemente Island (bombing range). Now he does roughly the same thing, only as a civilian.

    On Topic, thanks for the link to MADD, I sent them a note, no profanity, in essence saying I was MADD at them (subject line: MADD v USMC) and that anybody who manhandled an M-60 in Iraq had very much earned the right to enjoy a cold beer. Also mentioned that 18 = adulthood for everything else.

  • R C Dean||

    The arresting officer will not be disciplined.

    I think we're ready to go full metal acronym on this. From now on, when I see TAOWNBD, I'll know what it means.

  • ||

    TWC, Off topic #1 - I got to see the Missouri fire broadsides up close. Impressive as hell.

    Off topic #2 -I was on a tin can (USS Waddell) headed to the yards for an overhaul. The captain, figuring it's easier to unload 5 inch rounds throught he barrel, got with the Corps and we stood off San Clemente for two days "training Marine spotters". Much fun was had by all. ;-) It IS the best way to clear out a magazine.

  • ||

    You must understand.Anyone that drinks a beer and drives must have his or her life ruined no matter the cost to freedom.That's why the standard for DUI has been changed 3 times in the last 20 years.You are guilty,accept the plea ,pay the fine and go to jail.Rudy says to be free is to submit.This from a life long[reformed] republican.

  • Hmmm||

    I can see no reason why the Marines should be allowed to break the law.

    IF they want Marines under 21 to be able to drink, they need to change the law across the board. Nothing less is acceptable.

  • ||

    MADD has morphed into WCTU.

  • ||

    ...they need to change the law across the board. Nothing less is acceptable.

    Hmmm, First you get a small concession, then you get another. Repeat. That's right out out of the nanny stater playbook. It works. Learn from your enemies.

  • Ramsey||

    There is no law in the military regarding legal consumption. In most cases the commander chooses to follow the law of the area of operation (deployed or around post). I remember the drinking age magically becoming 16 during a joint jump with the British.

    But I agree, that is one law that has to go. MADD has fewer mothers now-a-days than the Army Infantry. They should get sued for false statements.

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    This weekend at Cop Talk one of the macho po po's was hoping his state's courts would give him forcible blood draw. I didn't know what he was talking about. I didn't know any states did that. Now I know, I guess.

  • Thebes||

    Yet more proof that that we no longer maintain any vestige of freedom or liberty.

    What ever happened to "Live Free or Die", "Don't Tread on Me", etc? Now its just liscense plate slogans, and so much clap trap.

    Jefferson had said "God forbid we go 20 years without such a rebellion", now we have gone 220.

    Freedom = Slavery
    War = Peace
    Ignorance = Strength

    Orwell was just off a couple of decades.

  • ||

    Dothan Eagle Nov. 9, 2007
    OZARK - A driver apparently suffering from a diabetic episode, which was mistaken for intoxication, had some of the charges against him dropped, but none of them were the legal ones.


    Ozark Deputy Police Chief Myron Williams said it was the towing charges on 54-year-old James Bludsworth's Nissan truck that were dropped on Tuesday after Bludsworth was booked into the Dale County Jail, not the charges of driving under the influence and resisting arrest.


    Williams said his initial interview with officers led him to believe the DUI and resisting arrest charges were those that were dropped, but that the charges will not be dismissed until after the arresting officer recommends such to the court system during Bludsworth's court date in December.


    Bludsworth was released from jail on Tuesday after posting a $1,000 signature bond and blowing a .00 on a breathalyzer.


    Bludsworth had been arrested and a Taser was used on him by Ozark police officers for non-compliance after Bludsworth refused to get out of his vehicle around 4 p.m. Tuesday. Bludsworth had been reported slumped over the steering wheel of his vehicle at the side of the Highway 231 and Marley Mill Road intersection.


    Williams said at least three officers responded to the scene. He defended the department's decision not to discipline any of the officers involved based on video and audio evidence of the incident.


    "The officers were looking for a medical alert bracelet that would signify some medical condition, and he didn't have one... The officer asked (Bludsworth) how much had he been drinking and he said 'a whole lot,'" Williams said.


    "The officer also asked him did he need an ambulance and he said 'no.'"

  • lunchstealer||

    How can a 20 year old be a child wrt alcohol, but a 12 year be tried as an adult?

    QFT

  • Paul||

    Radley, I read your blog post. It needs some reworking.

    Give MADD its due credit. They've managed to shred the Bill of Rights almost single-handedly, with little more than a brilliant, two-decade public relations campaign. Even the drug warriors have to be envious.



    I agree with the above except one thing. You suggest that the drug war (drug warriors) and MADD are of two unique animals, so to speak.

    They're not. They're one in the same. MADD and drug warriors share 100% of their DNA.

  • ||

    City police in Ozark start at $17,900/year. not like they are attracting the best candidates. and when the responding officer started his career, Governor Wallace was still in charge and he certainly knows everything he needs by now.

  • Paul||

    He defended the department's decision not to discipline any of the officers involved based on video and audio evidence of the incident.

    Can we see this video and audio?

  • cgee||

    Radley, re the NJ case, one correction -- this was not a NJ Supreme Court case, but rather a NJ Superior Court, Appellate Division decision. So it is not necessarily the law in the entire state of NJ (yet).

  • ||

    I think I recall that several websites (NRA?, Packing.org, etc) have lists of various state laws regarding gun rights. Does anyone have a list of state laws (and practices) regarding blood draws and blockades?

    I'm wondering which states to avoid when traveling by car...

  • ||

    There is no law in the military regarding legal consumption. In most cases the commander chooses to follow the law of the area of operation (deployed or around post).

    Actually, there is, sort of. It says that the commander must follow whatever the local law is with two exceptions:
    1) If you're within 50 miles of a jurisdiction that allows a lower age (e.g. Mexico or Canada)
    2) 'Special occasions'

    For (1) all the service secretaries have, over the last ten years, prohibited installations from invoking this exception in any CONUS installation.

    For (2), the secretaries have required installation commanders to get higher authority approval.

    So, it looks like the Commandant is the only person that would actually be able to accomplish this; a base commander would not have such discretion, and would probably not take the effort to deal with such a pain in the ass.

  • ||

    5) Under the influence of any substance which impairs the mental or physical faculties of such person to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely driving.

    This is Alabama law on DUI. Is there person present that can say if they can make this applicable to a diabetic episode?

  • ||

    brotherben-

    If you wanted to stretch it, you could say that he was under the "influence" of whatever it is he ate/drank that caused the diabetic episode. It's a stretch, but I wouldn't put it past them.

  • ||

    I like the D.A. here but it will be interesting how he does in a situation where the local P.D. needs to cover their asses. This is the old south still, and there is a lot at stake.

  • ||

    Dude, what's with Tasing people that are asleep or passed out. since they're incapacitated, what need is there to further incapacitate them?

  • R C Dean||

    Dude, what's with Tasing people that are asleep or passed out.

    It's fun. There they are, all sleeping and shit, and then WHAM! the voltage hits 'em. Talk about rolling on the floor laughing your ass off.

  • ||

    I tased a man in Reno, just to watch him twitch.

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    Dude, what's with Tasing people that are asleep or passed out. since they're incapacitated, what need is there to further incapacitate them?

    Pain compliance. Choke holds, arm twisting and all that has long been a matter of uncertain Constitutional status. I think police sometimes shy away from these traditional pain compliance techniques because these were a matter of dispute pre-9/11 and, in those times, there was some idea that the public was not totally comfortable with pain compliance. Still, th Supreme Court has never really made clear what is allowed on pain compliance and what is not.

    The new wrinkle is that Tasers did not come into widespread use until after 9/11. Now the public views the police differently and wants them to have power. So the police are starting to go crazy with the Tasers and seeing how far they can push it.

    I think that the public is getting over 9/11, and there is going to be a pushback on the Taser thing soon, but that might be too optimistic.

  • It can\'t happen here||

    earlier this year, there was a woman slumped over the wheel, stopping up traffic in front of the fair

    I was there

    the authorities treated her like a diabetic,
    all the way up until the paramedic pronounced her drunk

    then, ut was off to jail

  • ||

    It's fun. There they are, all sleeping and shit, and then WHAM! the voltage hits 'em. Talk about rolling on the floor laughing your ass off.

    That is a really fucked up statement. You're saying the law enforcement officers would engage in maltreatment and torture for amusement. The fucked up part is that you're absolutely correct.

    Cop defenders, don't even get started. As a community, LEOs have lost every smidgen of credibility and are no longer deserving of my respect for being a cop. There may be a few I would respect, but that would be in spite of their profession.

  • Tym||

    There may be a few I would respect, but that would be in spite of their profession.

    True the (very) few I have known and actually liked, it has been like there OK, even thougth they are cops.

  • ||

    Here's another arrest of a sober (0.0) driver who will, apparently forever, have a DUI arrest on his record despite charges being dropped.

    Some relevant passages:

    The ongoing investigation into Corvallis Police Officer Dave Cox at least in part concerns the DUII arrest earlier this year of a Corvallis man who was completely sober.

    Cox has been on administrative leave since Sept.14 while the department investigates potential policy violations, according to Lt. Dave Henslee. The department has remained silent about the specific reasons for the investigation, but Henslee confirmed that one factor was Cox's arrest of a man whose blood alcohol level proved to be 0.00 percent and who also tested negative for drugs.

    . . .

    Cox has been widely recognized for the number of DUII arrests he has made. Of the 35 DUII arrests made by Corvallis police in the month of May this year, 27 were made by Cox.

    However, six of the 27 people arrested by Cox that month had blood alcohol levels under the legal limit and were not found to have been using drugs. And about one-quarter of the people he arrested were either not prosecuted by the District Attorney's Office, or had charges dismissed by the court.

    But all of those people still have the DUII arrests on their records. State law says arrests for motor vehicle violations cannot be removed from a driver's record - even if the individual was never actually charged or convicted.

    . . .

    Even though the man was not intoxicated, Cox described the man's eyes as "extremely watery, bloodshot and glassy" and said he was moving and talking slowly and was slurring his words and that he had a dazed look on his face.

    Twenty-two of the 27 DUII arrest reports filed in May by Cox repeated the same observations, almost word for word. In four others the only difference in the description by Cox was the drivers were "moving and talking quickly," and were arrested for DUII drugs.



    Hmmm word-for-word huh? I guess California isn't the only place they use templates for DUI arrests.

    The good news in this, I suppose, is that his behavior actually prompted a suspension and investigation. And a bit more good news is that the investigation has since prompted the officer in question to resign. Not much consolation, however, for those with unjustified DUI's on their records because of this guy.

  • ||

    "I can see no reason why the Marines should be allowed to break the law."

    They can die for freedom, but their country won't give them the freedom to have a sip of beer.

  • R C Dean||

    I can see no reason why the Marines should be allowed to break the law.

    I'm not sure of the extent to which civil law applies on military reservations. Meaning, I'm not sure serving a beer to an 18 year old Marine on base is actually breaking the law.

  • ||

    However, six of the 27 people arrested by Cox that month had blood alcohol levels under the legal limit and were not found to have been using drugs. And about one-quarter of the people he arrested were either not prosecuted by the District Attorney's Office, or had charges dismissed by the court.

    This would be really fun.
    Have Police Officer Dave Cox stationed outside the meeting hall for the next MADD convention.
    Offer him a performance bonus.
    Sit back and enjoy.

  • Dave Woycechowsky||

    The good news in this, I suppose, is that his behavior actually prompted a suspension and investigation. And a bit more good news is that the investigation has since prompted the officer in question to resign.

    Not quite. A civil lawsuit prompted the investigation and the resignation.

    Hug a lawyer today.

  • ||

    "I think that the public is getting over 9/11, and there is going to be a pushback on the Taser thing soon, but that might be too optimistic."

    I think we'll get tired of pushing because we'll be too busy pulling those taser pellets out of our taser pellet riddled bodies.

    "I tased a man in Reno, just to watch him twitch.

    de stijl wins the thread, I'm still laughing.









    Interesting hypothesis;

  • ||

    Interesting hypothesis to test;

    I have never seen any DWI enforcement in the vicinity of professional sports events. Does anyone have any knowlegde of any enforcement of DWI rules after people leave the event.

  • ||

    zig zag-
    Apparently not. From this site (whose creators have the vapors that people drink beer and watch football at the same time. )

    The risks created when sports venues fail to implement basic elements of responsible beverage service policies can be compounded by insufficient police enforcement. The same Inside Edition report found only five of the 51 police departments with an NFL stadium in its jurisdiction deploy, additional DUI enforcement on game days. Only one of these same police departments had conducted sobriety checkpoints in conjunction with games, but one-third admitted they have a problem with football fans driving under the influence.



    Now, remember Inside Edition was the uterus for the embryonic O'Reily factor, but I would guess that the above is reliable because it goes against their bias.

  • ||

    Tym | November 12, 2007, 12:27pm | #

    Fvck MADD. I am not a Marine, but I have respect for them, anyone who can handle fully automatic weapons responsibly can handle a beer, give me a break.


    Sorry TYM - been there and done that! The analogy is fine until you see a bar full of young drunken sailors

  • Phubducked||

    Hey everyone has the right to get phubducked.

    Check out www.phubducked.com

    Just party cool.

  • ||

    If you're old enough to die for your country, you're old enough for beer.

  • ||

    Kenny;

    Thanks for the interesting link. It confirmed my suspicion that it is truly about the money. I have attended many professional and college games and I observed many people were stumbling drunk by the end of the game. The ones that didn't get busted for fighting could've been driving home after the event.

    I grew up in a time which the police had discretion when it came to a DWI conviction. The officer would pull you over for swerving or something and if you had been drinking, no biggie, just make sure you go stright home or sometimes the officer would drive you home.

    Now it's not the case. The proles are the ones who pay for the DWI Inquisition.

    disclaimers: I rarely drink alcoholic beverages.

    //One of my campaign planks for state office was specifically against DUI /DWI sobriety check points as wasted time and funding. I want police actively looking for the block heads that are really making driving hazardous. I was labeled as soft on DWI.

  • sathi2000||

    I smelled the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his/her breath. I noticed that the driver had red watery eyes, as well as slow and slurred speech," and "eyes showed lack of smooth pursuit, distinct nystagmus at the extremes and an onset prior
    http://www.mirei.com

  • Austin Remodeling Contractors||

    How surprising. People who suck at doing science losing their scientific jobs and not getting grants.

  • ||

    a consistent principled position on the bailouts. He has railed against them like the crazy old coot that he is. Good for Bunning.
    Austin Roofing Contractor

  • ||

    Stick to Ron Paul posts, Edward. Those are your bread and butter.
    Mother's Day Flowers

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement