Jaguars Running Back Bernard Pierce pleads guilty to DUI

pierceFrom the Baltimore Sun:

Former Ravens running back Bernard Pierce will be under probation supervised by Baltimore County Circuit Court for the next year, but avoided a conviction on drunk driving charges on Tuesday through a plea agreement.

Pierce, now of the Jacksonville Jaguars, was released by the Ravens on March 18, hours after he was pulled over on Dulaney Valley Road in Towson and charged with driving under the influence of alchohol, plus three related offenses.

According to a police report, Pierce predicted his release when talking to the arresting officer and passed out at the police precinct as he was being processed.

After lengthy discussions with state’s attorneys Tuesday, including a change of courtroom that allowed more time to negotiate, Pierce’s attorneys, Warren Alperstein and Sandy Steeves, entered a guilty plea on the DUI charge for Pierce. The other charges were dropped as a result.

Judge Mickey Norman, citing Pierce’s cooperation during his arrest, his community service, and his participation in post-incident evaluations for possible substance addiction, said Pierce deserved to be held to the same standards as anyone else. Probation before judgment would fit the situation were he not an NFL player, Norman said, especially for someone with no record of such incidents.

He struck the guilty verdict from the plea agreement, meaning there’s no conviction on Pierce’s record.

“There’s no doubt in my mind this is an aberration,” Alperstein told the court.

Norman mandated that Pierce pay a $250 fine, plus court costs, and said the NFL’s third-party drug testing provider must send monthly reports on Pierce to the court. Under the NFL’s substance abuse program, which Pierce entered following the arrest, players can be randomly tested up to 10 times per month.

Read the entire story here:  http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/ravens-insider/bal-former-ravens-running-back-bernard-pierce-enters-guilty-plea-avoids-conviction-for-dui-20151027-story.html

Oklahoma State Homecoming Parade Crash is one of the most stunning and outrageous DUIs ever…or is it?

Over the weekend, we were all horrified by the aftermath of deadly crash at the Oklahoma State Homecoming Parade, which took the life of four people (including a two year old toddler) and injured 44 people.

Adacia Chambers, a 25 year old was arrested and initially charged with DUI.  Later, the charges were upgraded to Second Degree Murder.  Bond has been set at one million dollars.

But is it a DUI?  Results of toxicology have not been released yet.

The New York Daily News reports that:

Blood samples taken shortly after Chambers’ arrest will determine her alcohol toxicology at the time of the deadly collision, though witnesses have suggested she was distraught from losing her job — not drunk.

Chambers was reportedly fired from her part-time job at Stillwater’s Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, leaving the fast food franchise in tears a half hour before the crash, witness Justin Denoya told the Stillwater News Press.

“She didn’t appear to be under the influence,” Denoya said. “She was walking in a straight line and didn’t seem intoxicated.”

The suspect’s attorney, Tony Coleman, contends Chambers was by no means drunk. He smelled no trace of booze on Chambers during a jailhouse visit and did not believe the young woman to be in a “drunken stupor.”

“I absolutely can rule out alcohol,” Coleman added.

He suggested Chambers may have a “mental illness” or “blacked out,” a medical condition that only added to her confusion after the crash. She only remembers being taken out of her wrecked vehicle.

A photo of Chambers’ arrest at the scene shows her still wearing her black Freddy’s T-shirt.

“She doesn’t remember a whole lot about what happened. There was a period where I think … she could have even blacked out,” Coleman said.

Chambers was initially charged with driving under the influence, but police have not released any detail about her alleged intoxication.

Adacia Chambers' mug shot

Adacia Chambers’ mug shot

This is her mug shot.  She does not appear to have red, watery, glassy or blood-shot eyes, or a flushed faced, both of which are typical descriptions of drunk or drug impaired drivers.

Here is some more from CNN.com:

Chambers’ attorney Tony Coleman told CNN on Monday that his client was not drunk, though he said he’s making that determination based on meeting with her hours after the incident.

“I didn’t detect any signs nor was there an odor of alcohol coming from her body,” he said.

His client had a standard field sobriety test, he said. “Her poor performance” on that test led officers to believe she was “impaired,” he said.

Coleman said he believes she may have a mental health issue. During the hour he met with Chambers, he said, she gave “inappropriate answers” to his questions. He also said she had a “flat affect” when reacting to his description of the car crashing into the parade.

On Sunday, Coleman said that mental illness runs in his client’s family.

He also told reporters Sunday that “there have been warning signs coming from Ms. Chambers for quite some time, for the past few years.”

Coleman wouldn’t elaborate on what he meant by warning signs, but said the first thing he will request when Chambers appears before a judge Monday is a mental health evaluation.

I suggest that we all wait until the toxicology report comes out before making any initial conclusions.  Even then, we should wait until her defense attorney has had a chance to review all the evidence, including the details of how the toxicology tests were conducted.

Cook County Public Defender’s stunning Tribune interview slams Alvarez, Rahm and Secretary of State

The new Cook County Public Defender, Amy Campanelli, gave a stunning and remarkable interview to Chicago Tribune reporter Steve Schmadeke, which, since it is important, impacts public policy and effects people’s lives, is of course behind the Tribune’s paywall so people can’t read it.  As a public service, I am going to liberate a few choice sections below.

In my interpretation of Ms. Campanelli’s comments, she believes that too often Illinois laws are determined by scared politicians who are trying to curry favor with the most vocal and emotional segments of the electorate, and the results are laws or policy positions that are not effective, not in the best interests of our communities, and are often immoral.  In other words, she sounds a lot like me.

Which is not to say that I agree with her on each and every point, but it is nice to have someone with some authority speak these things so openly.  Enjoy this while it lasts, because usually when someone speaks this openly about these subjects, the system smacks them down so hard and fast that it can be breathtaking to behold.

Here are the excerpts:

Campanelli ripped how the secretary of state’s office handles first-time drunken-driving offenders and how she said Chicago police make arrests on nearly every domestic call.

“That’s bad policy!” she said. “Bad policy!”

Campanelli also took issue with Emanuel over his recent comments that Chicago police officers have gone “fetal” amid increased scrutiny of their work. She said her office has seen no sign that police have slowed down their efforts or arrests.

“The only way things will change is if we hold police accountable,” she said. “You’re damn right they’re going to be watched, and they should be watched every single minute to stop what has been decades and decades of abuse in the Chicago Police Department. And obviously very failed leadership.”

Campanelli recalled several encounters she, as an assistant public defender rising through the ranks, had with Detective Michael Kill, an underling of the disgraced police Cmdr. Jon Burge who she said put a rubber band on his belt for every person he sent to prison.

“He walked around with his belt full of rubber bands,” she said of Kill, the recent subject of a front-page Tribune article. “He was proud of putting people in prison. Proud. That’s a detective who never should’ve made it out on the streets. That’s a guy who tortured people.

“Just think if he’d had to wear a body camera. Just think if someone was videotaping him,” she said. “And the mayor says they’re afraid — of what, being transparent? Being accountable? When a police officer’s out on the street, every minute of what he’s doing should be viewed.”

She reserved some of her harshest remarks for the secretary of state’s office, citing a case handled by her husband in which a union electrician, unable to get his license back despite a single DUI conviction 18 years ago, was pulled over and charged for driving on a suspended license. He was sentenced to three years in prison, she said.

“What are we doing here? Because of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving you want to put people away for a suspended license?” she said. “I say put them in a class and help them get their licenses back. Why do they have to go to prison? That’s absurd. I can’t tell you how many clients are going to prison on suspended licenses. And again, what kind of client is it?

“The secretary of state — forget them, forget them. They’re not helping anyone. … I don’t know what they’re doing over there, but they’re not helping our clients get their licenses back. Those hearing officers — it’s a joke. Nobody’s getting their licenses back. Nobody’s waiving fees for the indigent. Nobody’s thinking outside the box to solve these problems.”

Campanelli, though, praised how some long-sought criminal justice reforms — ending mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders, for one — are finally winning bipartisan political support.

“It’s amazing!” she said. “I step back and I think about the last 30 years I’ve been doing this and I think — I’m shocked that people are talking about this. I mean we’ve been doing this every day in court, saying our client has a drug problem, please give him drug treatment. And the judge says, no, he’s going to the penitentiary. Years and years and years of this.”

“Fabulous!” she exclaimed as she read a press release on a reporter’s phone about Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, at a news conference Wednesday with police chiefs from around the country, calling for major changes in how the criminal justice system handles low-level offenders. “This is spot-on!”

If you have a Chicago Tribune subscription, click here to read the entire story:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-public-defender-amy-campanelli-met-20151023-story.html

Shannon Twins, who dated Hugh Hefner, involved in accident; sister Kristina charged with DUI

shannontwinsFrom the New York Daily News:

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s former twin girlfriends were hospitalized, and one was charged with DUI, after they wrecked their SUV en route to get their nipples pierced.

Kristina Shannon and her twin sister, Karissa Shannon, were taken to a hospital Monday with scratches and bruises after the rollover accident, TMZ reported Friday. Police charged driver Kristina, still in a hospital gown, with misdemeanor DUI.

Rescuers reportedly hoisted Karissa out of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class through the windshield, and firefighters sliced open the roof to pull out Kristina.

The twins have had a hard time coping with the recent death of their mother, a source told the Daily News.

John Stamos charged with DUI, allegedly had used GHB

stamosFrom Radar Online:

John Stamos Thursday was officially charged with DUI in Los Angeles, RadarOnline.com has learned.

The 51-year-old is charged with a misdemeanor count of driving while under the influence of drugs, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, after concerned onlookers reported his bizarre behavior and bad driving to police.

As Radar previously reported, Stamos was using the substance GHB to enhance his fitness and “lean out body mass,” as it’s taken by some bodybuilders.

The ER hunk last month told TODAY host Matt Lauer he feels better than he has in a decade after entering rehab in the wake of his June 12 arrest, adding, “I’m good … I’m very, very good.”

The handsome Fuller House actor told Lauer that adding that he’d been struggling since his mother, Loretta Phillips Stamos, died last year, as “she was the love of my life.”

The star’s arraignment is slated for Friday at 8:30 a.m. PT at the Airport Courthouse in Los Angeles. Because it’s a misdemeanor, the actor does not have to show up for the hearing.

If convicted, he could face up to six months in custody, authorities said.

Florida Woman streams her drunk driving on Periscope

From The Raw Story:

A 23-year-old Florida woman was arrested and charged with drunk driving after streaming video of herself and outright saying that she was driving under the influence, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The footage, which was aired on her phone through the video app Periscope, shows Whitney Marie Beall saying, “I am f*cking drunk, and this is horrible. I don’t even know where the next gas station is, this is horrible.”

Police in Lakeland, where the woman was driving, began receiving emergency calls not long after Beall started her 10-minute broadcast. One officer used his own Twitter account to locate her by using local landmarks as a guide.

WTSP-TV reported that authorities spotted Beall’s Toyota Corolla with a flat left front tire. When they tried to initiate a traffic stop, she allegedly ran into a curb with her other front tire but failed to brake.

Beall was taken to jail after failing a field sobriety test and refusing to take a breathalyzer.

“I got to tell you I was a little shocked,” police spokesperson Sgt. Gary Gross said. “After 30 years of law enforcement I hadn’t seen anything like this before.”

To view the TV report of this click here:  http://www.rawstory.com/2015/10/florida-woman-busted-after-broadcasting-herself-online-driving-while-fcking-drunk/

The “dog did it” excuse for a DUI is tried again with the same results as before

dogdriver2Here is a weird story from Florida:

A suspected DUI driver who was taken into custody after hiding in a church bathroom told deputies his dog had been driving his car, a West Palm Beach television station reported.

Reliford Cooper, 26, was arrested on Wednesday night and booked into Manatee County jail the following day on suspicion of driving while intoxicated with damage to a person or property, inmate records showed.

Cooper allegedly led deputies from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office on a chase through a residential area Wednesday evening, traveling through two ditches before crashing into a home, WPTV reported.

He then ran behind homes before going into a church, where he was found hiding in a bathroom and forced out by churchgoers, according to the station.

He was then taken into custody.

After handcuffing the man, a deputy reportedly smelled alcohol and marijuana. According to WPTV, Cooper then allegedly said, “My dog was driving that car. I ran because I wanted to. You ain’t gonna find no drugs or guns on me.”

At that point, the suspect threw up and told the deputy his back was injured, the station reported.

Cooper remained in custody on Sunday and was being held on more than $25,000 bail, according to jail records.

When I saw this story, I thought it sounded familiar.  Sure enough, I had blogged about someone else using the “dog did it” excuse last year.