Didaaaye Ever Tell You Guys I Looove the Ninth Ammement? Serrusly.

|

A man taken into custody at a Waltham, Mass., party is suing to assert his constitutional right to get blitzed at a friend's private home. Based on the description in the story, the court may not need to reach the question of whether the Constitution's emenations and/or penumbras extend to beer bongs, though: The law stipulates that police may hold persons whose intoxication makes them a danger to themselves or others. It sounds as though here, the cops just resented being videotaped and used the cameraman's intoxication as a pretext to stop him filming.

Advertisement

NEXT: Love, Property, & Hitchens

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.

  1. Glad to see Globish is catching on.

  2. The journalist should reported what homeowner friend thinks, even if friend has no comment. What the homeowner thinks matters in this case.

  3. “The law stipulates that police may hold persons whose intoxication makes them a danger to themselves or others.”

    And, hey, an open-ended law like that isn’t just asking for abuse. Nope. Never. Next up on the legislature floor: a law which would give officers the power to hold persons who are “behaving incorrectly”.

  4. Forget getting blitzed, we should have a constitutional right to videotape cops.

  5. a law which would give officers the power to hold persons who are “behaving incorrectly”

    Ah Evan, you mean like every Brit’s new friend, the ASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Order)?

  6. police may hold persons whose intoxication makes them a danger to themselves or others.

    Every cloud has a silver lining. Maybe they will visit Ted Kennedy’s house.

  7. Police are kind of in a bind in these situations, they can be sued if someone does something while intoxicated/inebrieted/psychotic whatever, but it is hard to disagree that it is sometimes just a ruse to take away people who are annoying the police at a given time.

  8. Couldn’t he win this on the same grounds as Lawrence v Texas? Couldn’t you legitimately claim that sodomy among gays should be illegal because of a higher incidence of AIDS? But since Lawrence said the right existed for gays (although I forget if that decision was on equal protection grounds) then the right exists for drunks as well?

  9. I was really disappointed you didn’t tag this thread with the headline “You gotta fight! for your right! to Paaaarty!”

  10. Police have been sued for failing to take people into protective custody who later died from alcohol poisoning or killed others in drunken-driving accidents.

    This is how it begins, “my nanny didn’t take care of me” lawsuits. What I don’t see is how being locked in a cell keeps someone from dying of alcohol poisoning. I doubt most cops would know the difference between someone sleeping it off, dead in the cot or “in a state of shock, lying motionless in a pool of vomit.”

    If interested here is the relavent title and section.

  11. Police are kind of in a bind in these situations, they can be sued if someone does something while intoxicated/inebrieted/psychotic whatever, but it is hard to disagree that it is sometimes just a ruse to take away people who are annoying the police at a given time.

    The article says nothing about the outcome of these lawsuits; Since it’s been repeatedly established in state and federal courts that police aren’t responsible for failing to protect individuals, I’d guess they were dismissed. No, the only lawsuit these cops are thinking of is the civil rights suit they’ll face if the guy with the video camera catches them kicking the shit out of someone.

  12. I think Grummun nailed it.

  13. “The law stipulates that police may hold persons whose intoxication makes them a danger to themselves or others.”

    So they should be able to arrest the entire legislature once they get back from lunch, right?

  14. from the August 10, 2001 edition of the Christian Science Monitor

    For police, attitudes toward drinking change

    ….But experts say the high levels of stress, a “macho culture,” and the odd working hours make police more vulnerable to alcohol and drug problems than many other professions. While data are scarce, studies estimate that rates of alcoholism among police officers are as high as 25 percent. For the general population, the rate of alcoholism is about 7.5 percent…..

    http://www.peeniewallie.com/2005/07/waltham_ma_poli.html

  15. The cops shouldn’t have a problem with being videotaped. After all, if they’ve done nothing wrong they’ve got nothing to fear.

  16. I posted a comment here yesterday that has not been included. I received a notice that it would be reviewed for “hatefulness” or some such.

    My comment wasn’t hateful. It didn’t call anyone names. It didn’t even address any particular comment by someone.

    It merely questioned the criticism of a law that allowed an officer to make an arrest if there was reason to believe that a drunk was dangerous to himself or others. I simply asked, assuming the elements of the law were met, would you rather the officer do nothing.

    When I posted last week on the issue of reporter privilege, there was a lively debate, but no filter.

    As I look at this comment string, there is no disagreement, but as of yesterday there was a filter in place.

    My comment yesterday wasn’t posted. I’m a neo-lib so I usually agree with Reason’s positions on stuff, but surely Reason isn’t demanding 100% agreement. Is the filter to remove disagreeing opinions?

  17. And I see today there is no filter.

    Maybe I was drunk. But am I dangerous?

  18. “Forget getting blitzed, we should have a constitutional right to videotape cops.”

    There was a funny article in Liberty magazine a month or two ago about a guy, his teenage son, and his young adult daughter photographing themselves in front of the National Security Adminstration gate in Washington DC. The spooks didn’t like that at all.

    The guy gave up his digital camera, and the spooks eliminated the pictures. But it turns out the NSA website apparently has a big ol’ picture of the very same sign:

    http://www.nsa.gov/gallery/photo/photo00031.jpg

    Then the spooks asked for picture ID. The young adult daughter (apparently active in the Libertarian Party) said she didn’t have any. The spooks then threatened to throw her in jail. It was a weekend, so the daughter asked if the hearing would be Monday. Suddenly, the spooks didn’t want to throw her in jail anymore.

    Very interesting and funny article. One thing, for people who won’t be able to read it: the guy said the spooks weren’t rude or anything. They were just very burly and armed men, and not used to people questioning *them.*

  19. Is the filter to remove disagreeing opinions?

    The Reason staff is amusingly arbitrary when it comes to filtering, banning, and other such activities that run contrary to the flow of ideas — stupid or not — that the foundation supposedly embraces.

    On topic, Massachusetts has a nasty knee-jerk reaction to alcohol. A puritanical legal foundation (four or more unrelated women in one house constitutes a brothel, and this is no blue law…it is still enforced in many Boston-area communities) combined with few high profile college deaths and also perhaps the knowledge that alcohol kept one of the few surviving Favorite Sons of the Commonwealth out of the White House has resulted in a very silly attitude towards alcohol. There are no happy hours or ladies’ nights, and one of the arguments against extending the public transportation system to run past the closing of bars (2 in the morning) was that it would inspire people to stay out and drink…as opposed to the current approach, where peopls stay out and drink anyway, then hit Route 1 at 85 mph.

  20. “Is the filter to remove disagreeing opinions?”

    “My comment yesterday wasn’t posted. I’m a neo-lib so I usually agree with Reason’s positions on stuff, but surely Reason isn’t demanding 100% agreement. Is the filter to remove disagreeing opinions?”

    I don’t think you should take it personally!

    I’ve gotten that message a grand total of *one* time here at Reason.

    It was on a comment I made regarding an article by Ron Bailey. I wondered, “What the hell?!!” (See, not deleted by censors.)

    I was really, really surprised, because it said something like, “We hold first time posters to check for hate speech…” or some such thing.

    I was really surprised, because: 1) it was no where NEAR my first time posting, and 2) I didn’t write anything that could be remotely considered hateful.

    It turned out (I think) that a Reason computer shot down my post, due to the nature of a link I included. I included a link to a Google “cache” site, and the computer didn’t like that. (That’s what I assume was the problem, because I didn’t get that message when I cut out that link.)

    Did you have any links in your message? If so, that might have been the problem. My thought was that somehow Reason’s computer is programmed to try to block those damned (see, not blocked by censors) Internet gambling sites. (Boy, I hate those things.)

    If you have a problem, and you have links, try removing them.

    Mark

  21. “…that alcohol kept one of the few surviving Favorite Sons of the Commonwealth out of the White House…”

    Yeah, that’s it. Demon alcohol. It definitely wasn’t anything for which that Favorite Son should take any responsibility.

    P.S. Or maybe it was his passenger’s fault. Or the design of the car. Or the failure of the Massachusetts DOT to put up a sign, “Bridge Ahead”…

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.