Lamar Odom, new Hawks coach each get DUIs this week

There are two new high profile NBA DUIs in the news:

According to TMZ, Lamar Odom was stopped by the California Highway Patrol after driving slowly and in a serpentine manner.  He is alleged to have failed field sobriety tests and acted in a manner consistent with being impaired by both alcohol and drugs.  He is said to have refused all blood, breath or urine tests.

ESPN reports that new Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer was pulled over after driving without working tail lights.  According to the police report, he had a strong odor of alcohol, bloodshot and watery eyes and mumbled speech.  He agreed to perform a field test but refused a breath test.  He admitted drinking a glass of wine earlier, but denied being under the influence of alcohol.

Should all school buses have interlock devices installed?

There has been a push in New York to have all school buses fitted with alcohol ignition interlock devices to prevent any bus from being driven by an intoxicated driver.

Many parents are all for this legislation, especially after several incidents of drunk school bus drivers.

The drivers are not happy.  According to this story, “bus drivers’ unions call the mandates discriminatory. ‘Having my drivers have to go through a process that’s only reserved for people that have been convicted of a crime,’ Paul Mori of the New York School Bus Contractors Association.”

In Illinois, any bus driver who commits a DUI in a school bus transporting persons under the age of 18 is guilty of a Class 4 felony.  Also, if a person has a school bus driver’s permit and gets a DUI or reckless driving in a personal vehicle will have his or her bus permit disqualified for three years.

This is an example of competing values in conflict — on the one hand, extra precaution and safety for our children and on the other, a willingness to make the insulting presumption that school bus drivers have a high likelihood of coming to work drunk and that they do not care about the well-being of the children they transport, plus the public not giving much weight to the inconvenience of making bus drivers provide breath samples every time they start their vehicles and every time the device calls for a “rolling re-test.”

What do you think?

More proof that the “War on Drugs” has gone too far

So you are pulled over for a traffic violation, and the police find a small amount of marijuana in your car.

Of course, being forcibly injected with a muscle relaxer, then intubated with a breathing tube and having the police probe your buttocks is just what you expected to happen next.

Oh you didn’t?  What country do you live in?

From RT.com:

Police violated a suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights when, in an attempt to find drugs on his person, they temporarily paralyzed him and administered an anal probe, a US federal court has ruled.

Felix Booker and his brother were driving through Oak Ridge, Tennessee in February 2010 when police stopped their vehicle. Smelling marijuana, police brought a K-9 unit to the scene, which alerted them to drugs in the car. Even though police are only authorized to give a ticket when finding less than 14 grams of marijuana, officers arrested Booker after finding .06 grams in his car.
The suspect was booked for felony possession of marijuana and strip-searched at the police station. At that point investigators noticed Booker was “fidgeting” and a doctor threatened to temporarily paralyze him if he did not consent to an anal probe.
Booker, who was handcuffed and naked except for a thin hospital apron, consented but doctors later testified that he still “clenched” during the invasive search. He was injected with a muscle relaxant with a tube forced down his throat to regulate his breathing.
Dr. Michael LaPaglia then found 10.2 grams of crack cocaine hidden in Booker’s rectum. The doctor estimated that Booker had been physically incapacitated for under ten minutes and strapped to a breathing machine for an hour. He was convicted of possession with intent to distribute and sentenced to five years in prison.
The US Court of appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in a 2-1 ruling Monday, overturned his conviction and said that police could not use the drugs obtained from inside Booker against him because the paralysis, intubation, and anal probe were in clear violation of Booker’s Fourth Amendment rights.
An attorney for the police said LaPaglia, not officers, was responsible for the cavity search. The court, not entirely disagreeing, said police frequently took suspects to LaPaglia when they suspected drugs were in an individual’s rectum and that they “effectively used Dr. LaPaglia as a tool to perform a search on Booker’s person.”
The judges, as quoted by Think Progress, said a medical procedure of this sort does not “immunize the procedures from Fourth Amendment scrutiny” and that such cooperation between police and the doctor “is one of the greatest dignitary intrusions that could flow from a medical procedure.”
In another recent incident of police testing the limit of “reasonable search and seizure,” two Texas state troopers were indicted earlier this year for sexual assault and oppression after they were recorded searching a woman’s anus and vagina when she threw a cigarette out of her car window.

New Law will require Police to video record interrogations in certain felony cases

Apparently, the Illinois legislature is concerned about wrongful convictions in cases besides murders.

Under a new law signed by Governor Quinn, police will have to record interrogations in eight violent felonies.  Police have been required to do this in homicide investigations for the past ten years.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Illinois police will have to record more interrogations of criminal suspects under legislation Gov. Pat Quinn signed Monday that aims to prevent false confessions and wrongful convictions.

The law expands on legislation passed in 2003 mandating the recording of homicide interrogations. The new requirements will take effect in phases over the next three years, and by June 2016, police will have to record interrogations of people suspected in any of eight violent felonies, including aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated battery with a gun and armed robbery…

A decade ago, Illinois was the first state to pass a law requiring recorded homicide interrogations, a fix enacted as the state dealt with faulty death penalty cases. Other states soon enacted more sweeping rules, and Illinois’ new law will make it the 17th state that — along with the District of Columbia — requires the recording of interrogations for crimes other than homicide, Sullivan said.

Illinois has carved out an unwanted reputation as a leader in wrongful convictions, with the bulk coming from Cook County and surrounding areas. Drury, a former federal prosecutor, represents part of Lake County, where four defendants have been exonerated by DNA since 2010. Three of those suspects confessed after long, aggressive interrogations that were not recorded.

Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim, who took over the office after those cases fell apart, said he supports the new law, though he said he would support an even broader bill that would call for the recording of all interrogations.

“I hope that’s where we’re headed. I think (that’s) where we should go,” he said.

Read the whole story here:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-ct-met-videotaped-interrogations-law-20130827,0,4894506.story

Cook County prosecutors to get fuller driving records beginning next month

Starting next month, a big change for a few drivers is coming to Cook County Traffic Court.

Prosecutors will be gaining access to defendant’s full driving records, from across the country.  Currently, they only have access to Illinois driving records, and in some courtrooms, only Cook County records.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Cook County judges overseeing Chicago and suburban traffic courts will now have access to driving records from across the country when they sentence offenders in hundreds of thousands of minor traffic cases.

Prosecutors, who are responsible for informing judges of a defendant’s criminal history, have long had access to national court records in DUI or other felony cases. But for speeding tickets, only Cook County records were available for the thousands of cases judges hear each day.

That made it more difficult to comply with a state law limiting a special type of probation called court supervision to no more than two per year per driver, officials said. That law was passed after a Naperville family’s son was killed in 2004 by a chronic speeder.

After two supervisions for speeding, a driver should receive a conviction for a third speeding offense in the same year. Licenses can be suspended for three speeding convictions in a year.

The Tribune reported in 2010 that nearly 8,000 illegal court supervisions were handed out by Cook County judges between 2007 and 2009. In one case, a driver received nine illegal supervisions over a two-year period.

Those illegal supervisions represented only about 1 percent of the total number of cases, but officials have said they wanted to close the gaps.

“This should help address that,” said city prosecutor Lynda Peters, who supervises Chicago’s traffic court prosecutors.

What seemed like a relatively straightforward fix required cooperation from the Illinois secretary of state, the Cook County clerk and the county judiciary, she said. The biggest hurdle was getting the computer systems used by the secretary of state and clerk’s office to communicate with one another.

Peters said she began meeting with Chief Judge Timothy Evans in 2012 to discuss the legal and technological hurdles in making more complete driving records electronically available to prosecutors.

Under the new process, which is scheduled to begin next month, the county clerk’s office will electronically transmit the names and driver’s license numbers for all the minor traffic cases to the secretary of state’s office, which will run the information through a national database.

Prosecutors will then have the information available to present to the judge when the defendant appears in court. Peters said there are so many cases that there was no way for prosecutors to manually search each defendant’s record in the broader database.

“This is a tremendous leap forward in (judges’) ability to help keep the public safe by keeping dangerous drivers off the road,” Evans said Friday in a statement.

Illinois makes dropping a cigarette butt on the ground a misdemeanor

I am not a fan of littering, and I really hate when I stumble across a pile of butts and ashes in a parking lot, but this is just ridiculous.

Come next January 1, the Illinois Litter Control Act will include cigarettes in the types of material that, if improperly disposed, would constitute littering.  Littering is a class B misdemeanor (punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500).  So you can become a criminal if you toss a butt to the curb.  Yikes!  Here is the text of the amended statute.

Proposed rules for drivers licenses for undocumented persons announced

The Secretary of State has proposed rules for “temporary visitor drivers licenses” (TVDL).  They seem very cumbersome and I don’t know if many people will be able or willing to go through all this for a license.

From The Flinn Report:

The SECRETARY OF STATE proposed amendments to “Issuance of Licenses” (92 Ill. Adm. Code 1030; 37 Ill Reg 13339) implementing Public Act 97-1157 that provides for temporary visitor driver’s licenses (TVDL) and in-struction permits to be issued to un-documented immigrants…To apply for a TVDL, an un-documented immigrant must make an appointment at a designated SOS facility and present a valid passport or unexpired consular identification document from his or her country of origin (rather than the U.S.-government-issued photo identification required of legal immigrants). Applicants also must submit acceptable documents verifying their written signature, name and date of birth, current Illinois residence address, and Illinois residency of more than 1 year. Examples of acceptable and unacceptable documents are listed. A verification of residency for and a letter from the Social Security Administration verifying the applicant’s ineligibility for a Social Security number are also required. All TVDLs must include the license holder’s picture and will be mailed to the applicant directly from SOS instead of being issued at driver’s services facilities.  Applicants for TVDLs or temporary visitor’s instruction permits are subject to the same testing requirements as other driver’s license or permit applicants. Unmarried applicants underage 18 are subject to general requirements for parental consent, instructional permits and behind-the-wheel instruction prior to receiving a license.  Male TVDL applicants ages 18-25 are not exempt from the general requirement of registration with the Selective Service system. TVDLs expire 3 years from the date of issuance (sooner for applicants age 81 and older) and are not renewable; upon expiration, TVDL holders must reapply for new licenses and submit all necessary documents again. Those affected by this rulemaking include undocumented immigrants seeking driver’s licenses
and businesses who employ them in duties that involve driving.
Questions/requests for copies/comments through 9/30/13: Brenda Glahn, SOS, 298 Howlett Building, Springfield
IL 62756, e-mail:TVDLrules@ilsos.net
Thanks to Springfield attorney Theodore Harvatin for providing this link.