Flutterby™! : Peeing in the jury pool

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Peeing in the jury pool

2008-09-05 12:35:19.444833+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

The Matlock Blog: Drink. Drive. Go to jail. Really?

Somewhere, a Texas prosecutor is smiling. It dawned on me. Those billboards are not about deterrence. Whoever came up with that slogan wasn’t thinking that the campaign was going to stop anyone from having a drink before driving. The purpose of these billboards is to contaminate the jury pool.

[ related topics: Sociology Law Wines and Spirits ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-09-05 13:09:51.799349+00 by: JT

There used to be this DUI attorney where I worked that had a really good track record. I was one of the two cops that had so much detail in their reports that he would shy away from going to court with us. The other cop, Joey, pulled over this attorney for suspicion of DUI one night.

As a quick background, after pulling someone over for suspicion, you have to do a battery of tests and observations which give you probable cause to take them to the station. After 30 minutes of observation to make sure they haven't eaten or consumed any liquids, you can compel them to take a breathalyzer to determine their breath alcohol content.

Back to the story... this attorney steps from his car as soon as Joey pulls him over, Opens up a little quart bottle of stoli vodka, then downs it completely. He then throws the bottle back into the car as Joey approaches him and says "You'd better call me a cab, after drinking that, I'm going to be roaring drunk in 30 minutes."

Joey towed his car (illegal to park on the interstate) and called him a cab. It was one of the most ridiculous and stupidest stories I'd ever heard of... of course, there was nothing that could be done at the time.

A year later, he was arrested in the neighboring town of Biloxi after rear-ending an ambulance carrying an injured person on Hwy 90 in front of a casino. Damn near killed the person and paramedic in the back... this time he didn't have the wherewithal to get out and chug his vodka bottle which was found in his glove compartment and used as evidence in court as finding alcohol in the vehicle. He's apparently used this trick on us, two times in Biloxi, and once in Long Beach, MS as well before this incident.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-09-05 13:17:17.596593+00 by: Dan Lyke

Huh, that's an interesting trick.

A friend of mine served on a jury in which the story was that the accused had a breakdown on the interstate, called a tow truck, while he was waiting for the tow truck he had a beer (or several), at some point someone else showed up and they decided to push the car to the closest exit ramp, and the guy who downed the beer did the steering. Police officer shows up at about that time.

I don't remember the details of California law as the friend explained that the judge had explained to the jury, but I seem to remember something about even if he hadn't been steering that the law supported his conviction in a way that would have made the lawyer in your story up the creek as well.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-09-05 13:48:23.491411+00 by: JT

We never used it, but according to Mississippi law, you could be drunk in a broken down vehicle which was stuck in the mud with your keys in your pocket and still be charged with DUI. It wasn't used in that way, but until an arrest was made, the law couldn't be changed... and no one was going to arrest someone for it because they knew it was a flaw in the way the law was written which could result in a personal lawsuit. Of course, it was also illegal for a woman to drive a horseless carriage in downtown gulfport after nightfall without her husband or father walking ten feet in front of her carriage waving a red lantern back and forth... no one was ticketed for that either.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-09-05 17:39:41.306568+00 by: Dan Lyke

Back in my hippy days I heard someone bemoaning that a friend of theirs had come out of a bar, drunk, decided he was going to sleep it off, but it was winter, so he got into his car and started it up to run the heater, and the inevitable happened when the policeman knocked on the window.

Writing laws is hard.