Brickbat: Forget the Hands, Here's a Finger


A judge in British Columbia, Canada, has found Patrick Henry Grzelak guilty of violating the province's "hands free" driving law even though Grzelak didn't have his phone in his hand. In fact, the phone was not only property stored, it had a dead battery. But Grzelak had his earbuds in and they were plugged into the phone. Justice Brent Adair said if the earbuds were plugged in that makes them part of the phone, so Grzelak was in fact holding the phone for the purposes of the law.

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  1. what if he had the phone shoved up his ass?

    1. That’s only an issue if it’s on vibrate.

  2. Nice find!

    As brickbats go, that is some impressive stuff! A dead phone, not in hand is being held…. by his ears? Just… uh… Wow!

    It is always impressive to watch the lengths that the judiciary will go to ensure that the state wins the day.

    ““In my view, by plugging the earbud wire into the iPhone, the defendant had enlarged the device, such that it included not only the iPhone (proper) but also attached speaker or earbuds,” Adair wrote.”

    That is some impressive rationalization.

    The judge combined this with an earlier ruling that said that holding a phone in your hand constituted using the phone, even if it was turned off or even inoperable.

    That’s some Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better territory right there…

    1. It reminds me of the lengths dictators will go to for an appearance of the rule of law. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and all the lesser ones, all maintained some sort of constitution and legislature to pass laws. Chavez and Maduro did and do it. The Castros did it.

      Heck, even kings of old did it after a fashion, all having decrees and councils to bolster their legitimacy. It’s all so weird. It’s ok to chop someone’s head off, for any squalid reason whatsoever, as long as you pass a post-facto decree first.

    2. Here’s what happened. Cop attended a morning meeting where he was reminded about the law regarding hands-free calling. Now on alert he sees a driver with ear buds in. Thinking he’s using the phone, he pulls the driver over. Discovers the phone is off and even has a dead battery.

      Here’s what happens. THE COP IS EMBARASSED! So he writes the ticket anyway, knowing full well that nice progressive judges in Canada always side with the cop. End of story.

  3. BC doesn’t have a earphone prohibition they could have used instead?

  4. If only the phone had been plugged into the car charger, it would have been considered part of the car and therefore not only allowable but necessary for the driver to be in contact with and control of.

    1. Or it means the driver has to operate the car “hands free”.

  5. Hey Judge , hold this!! { grabs crotch with my hand }.

  6. It is a good thing the driver didn’t have a dog in the backseat with headphones on plugged into a phone with no batteries.


    Jack tossed me off twitter for ‘harassing’ a so-called journalist.

  8. Unfortunately there are a lot of people out there with a drunk driving conviction based on similarly stretched interpretations of the law. Many of us have heard of a person sleeping it off on a cold night with the car idling. A few of those ‘drivers’ were even in the back seat. I know of at least one case where the person was changing the tire, and that was considered to be ‘operating the vehicle’.

    There is very little public support for those who drink and drive, or for those who text (or generally use a smartphone) and drive, so this isn’t going away.

    1. Yeah… the idea of “having access” being the same thing as driving should be blatantly beyond the pale for any citizen, let alone jurist. But they are not impartial arbiters of justice, now are they? You don’t even have to have the car idling to be “drunk driving” if the wrong guy comes along. Simply having the keys can count, even if the car never moves or even gets started.

      One would think that it would be a requirement that one actually be operating a motor vehicle in order for laws against operating a vehicle while impaired to imply.

      Similarly, one would expect one to be operating a phone in hand in order to be violating a law that says you can only operate a phone in hands-free mode. Another version is getting someone for “texting while driving” if they check a text while sitting at a stoplight. Kinda goes against the spirit of the law there too.

      All of which serves to raise the question… what is the purpose of these laws? Is it really safety, or are we actually talking about revenue generation. Because it really, really feels like the revenue is on their minds with a lot of this stuff.

      1. I wonder if this sort of bullshit came first, or if it evolved from the ATF’s notion of “constructive possession”.

    2. A roommate of mind once got stopped with an open can of beer and a bag of cocaine. The cocaine earned him two weekends picking up trash. The beer cost him his license and year of weekends.

      1. “A roommate of mind…”

        They have pills for that. 🙂

  9. “”Because it really, really feels like the revenue is on their minds with a lot of this stuff.””

    That and respect my authoritah

  10. In 1994 After multiple break in to steal my car radio I bought a new car sans radio and used a Walkman instead. I was pulled over by a cop who told me that was illegal because I could’t hear normal traffic noise. I didn’t get a citation and have no idea if there was an actual law. How would deaf people be allowed to drive in that case?

  11. Yeah, but you can buy weed legally. Let the oppressors beat the minions just a little longer…

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