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Motion filed in Lake Tulloch boat injury case

Motion filed in Lake Tulloch boat injury case
Dean Allen Payne

A motion was filed in Calaveras County Superior court on Dec. 26 that seeks to alter the guidelines surrounding the case of man accused of striking two women with his boat while under the influence of a controlled substance last year.

Dean Allen Payne, 53, of Copperopolis, is awaiting trial for allegedly striking and injuring two women with his boat in the waters of Lake Tulloch on July 24, 2016, while under the influence of a controlled substance.

Robin Tsai and Rachael Pringle, the two victims in the case, fell into comas due to injuries sustained during the incident.

The first item on the motion requested that the jury be allowed to inspect the boat that Payne was allegedly controlling during the collision. According to the motion, the boat is currently being held at the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office, adjacent to the courthouse.

“The best way to demonstrate the size and nature of the defendant’s vessel is to let the jurors look at it,” the motion reads.

The second item in the motion sought to admit photographs of the victims before and after the date of the alleged offenses.

“Similarly, the photographs in this case, while highly relevant, depict severe trauma to the human body,” the motion said.

The photographs, according to the motion, are relevant to each count following Payne’s not guilty plea.

“While the people anticipate introducing testimony by medical doctors describing the injuries, the photographs will aid the jury in understanding that testimony, and corroborating evidence, should not be excluded as cumulative,” the motion reads.

The motion also seeks to limit the use of the word “accident.” According to the motion, the word accident carries various connotations and opens the door for “misuse” by the defense and the jury.

Accident, per the motion, can be used in two different ways: to infer a “state of mind” and to infer an “event.” The motion seeks to keep the term accident close to the “event” definition, and not the “state of mind” of the person who allegedly committed the crime.

“Jurors, upon hearing the word ‘accident’ will no doubt conjure up ideations congruent with the lay definition of accident. Even if prior to deliberations the court instructs the jury that ‘accident’ means something very different in the eyes of the law, the people will have already suffered undue prejudice,” the motion reads.

The prosecution is also attempting to bar the testimony of defense expert Michael Braun unless a report or statement is issued.

“If Braun prepared (prepares) a written report regarding the subject of his testimony, the people are entitled to a copy. If Mr. Braun does not prepare a written report, the people are entitled to discovery of the handwritten or typed notes of Mr. Braun.”

The motion also said that if the defense fails to comply with the discovery obligations, the defense should be barred from calling Braun as a witness.

The final two portions of the motion involve prior convictions for driving under the influence. According to the motion, Payne’s prior convictions should be allowed to be admitted as evidence. Payne was previously convicted for driving under the influence on O’Byrnes Ferry Road.

Payne is currently scheduled to return to court on Jan. 9 for a trial readiness conference before returning to court on Jan. 16 for a trial confirmation conference. According to court records, a 10-day jury trial is expected to begin on Jan. 17 at 8:30 a.m.

http://www.calaverasenterprise.com/news/article_1f7879be-f1af-11e7-ab37-7ff69c1c2a46.html

Man with green tongue can’t beat conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana

A motorist whose tongue was green when a state trooper pulled him over has failed to beat his conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana.

A state Superior Court panel made that call in upholding the DUI conviction a Lancaster County judge slapped on 33-year-old Donyai Corbett of Coatesville.

In the state court’s opinion, President Judge Emeritus Correale F. Stevens rejected Corbett’s claim that the county judge prevented his lawyer from asking a relevant question during his nonjury trial.

Corbett fell afoul of the law by failing to signal while making a turn on Nov. 16, 2015. Trooper Peter Minko pulled him over and claimed he noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from Corbett’s car.

Although Corbett registered no alcohol intoxication from a breath test, he failed field sobriety testing, and showed visible signs of intoxication, including bloodshot eyes and “a green tongue consistent with recent marijuana use,” the trooper said.

During Corbett’s trial before county Judge Margaret C. Miller, the defense attorney asked Minko whether he had asked Corbett for permission to search his car.

The prosecutor objected to that question, claiming it was irrelevant to whether Corbett was intoxicated. Miller sustained the objection.

Corbett claimed on appeal to Stevens’ court that the question was relevant in that the failure to even try to find any marijuana in his car could have bolstered his argument that he was not in fact under the influence of the drug.

Stevens didn’t bite. Instead, he found the absence of marijuana didn’t prove Corbett’s innocence, especially since physical signs of his intoxication were evident to an experienced trooper.

“The lack of contraband in a vehicle reasonably leads only to the inference that the visibly impaired driver must have ingested the marijuana at some moment before the stop,” Stevens wrote.

The state court ruling also affirms Corbett’s 72-hour to 6-month prison sentence.

https://articles.pennlive.com/news/2018/01/man_with_green_tongue_cant_bea.amp

Sessions’ Weed Adviser Wants Doctors to Drug-Test Everyone

A top adviser on marijuana policy to Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to see doctors make drug testing a routine part of primary care medicine and force some users into treatment against their will, he told The Daily Beast.

Dr. Robert DuPont was among a small group of drug policy experts invited to a closed-door meeting with Sessions last month to discuss federal options for dealing with the rapid liberalization of state marijuana laws. California became the sixth state to allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use on Jan. 1.

DuPont, 81, is one of the most influential drug warriors of the past century. He began his career as a liberal on drug control in the 1970s, calling then for the decriminalization of marijuana possession and launching the first U.S. methadone treatment program for heroin in Washington, D.C. in 1971. By the 1980s, he shifted to the right, popularizing the claim marijuana was a “gateway drug.”

At the Dec. 2017 meeting with Sessions, DuPont was slated to present on “the effect of marijuana on drugged driving,” a topic on which he has proposed some radical ideas.

A national model bill he helped write in 2010 called on law enforcement to test anyone stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence for all controlled substances, and arresting them if any trace at all shows up in their system—regardless of the amount. While the bill includes an exemption for drivers who consumed a drug pursuant to a prescription, it would not apply to medicinal marijuana users since doctors are not currently allowed to prescribe pot, only offer a recommendation for its use.

The bill’s language makes clear that these people will still face sanction even if they live in a state where medical marijuana is legal.

“[The] fact that any person charged with violating this subsection is or was legally entitled to consume alcohol or to use a controlled substance, medication, drug or other impairing substance, shall not constitute a defense against any charge,” it reads.

But even that’s not the worst of it.

The bill includes a section prohibiting the “Internal Possession of Chemical or Controlled Substances.”

“Any person who provides a bodily fluid sample containing any amount of a chemical or controlled substance…commits an offense punishable in the same manner as if the person otherwise possessed that substance,” it reads, adding in a footnote: “This provision is not a DUI specific law. Rather, it applies to any person who tests positive for chemical or controlled substances.”

Asked to comment on whether Sessions was aware of DuPont’s proposal to penalize drug users who may not even be under the influence behind the wheel, and if he supports it, a Justice Department spokesperson chose to focus on the dangers of driving while intoxicated.

“The Controlled Substances Act was enacted by Congress to comprehensively restrict and regulate numerous drugs, including marijuana,” said DOJ Spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam, in a statement provided to The Daily Beast. “Further, the Attorney General agrees with the Center for Disease Control that driving while impaired by marijuana is dangerous as it negatively affects a number of skills required for safe driving.”

‘Futile’ for Addicts to Help Themselves

On closer inspection, DuPont’s proposal is part of a plan to expand the use of drug testing technology to root out users, and the threat of prosecution to compel them into treatment where they will be tested even more.

Early last year, The Daily Beast conducted a lengthy interview with DuPont as he was shopping around a radical proposal to address America’s festering overdose crisis called the “New Paradigm for Long-Term Recovery.” It would include a massive expansion of drug testing in addiction medicine.

“Drug testing is the technology of addiction medicine, but it’s under-utilized,” he said. “We want [drug screens] to be routine in all medicine. The health care sector in general should approach addiction in the same way as diabetes, and that includes monitoring. Doctors already check for things like cholesterol and blood sugar, why not test for illicit drugs?”

Calling his platform “the opposite of harm reduction,” DuPont said the goal of his plan is to promote “long-term results…and greater accountability” in the treatment sector.

Among other things he proposed giving doctors the authority to compel suspected substance abusers into treatment against their will. Once in treatment, patients could face up to five years of monitoring, including random drug tests.

“People don’t understand that referral to treatment is futile for an addict on their own,” DuPont told The Daily Beast. “Right now the public really thinks that if we provide treatment the addicts will come and get well…that’s not true. So let’s use the leverage of the criminal justice system, that’s what the programs in the New Paradigm want to do.”

Turning a Profit Off Drug Testing

DuPont presents his proposal as evidence-based, but it’s hard to separate his strong promotion of drug testing from his close personal and financial connections to the drug testing industry.

In the 1970s he was the nation’s drug czar under Nixon and Ford, and was the first Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, until his increasingly radical views (he called for drug testing all parolees and sending them back to prison if they failed) forced his resignation in 1978.

After leaving federal service, DuPont joined the former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Pete Bensinger, to cash in on urine testing. The firm they founded, Bensinger, DuPont & Associates, provided drug testing services to some of America’s largest corporations.

In 1991, while running the firm, DuPont introduced the idea of mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients in a policy document published by the Heritage Foundation. DuPont recommended “not only testing the adults on public assistance but also their children.”

Later that decade, DuPont co-authored research with the founder of a firm called Psychemedics promoting the company’s new hair testing technology.

In 2000, while he was a shareholder and a paid consultant for the company DuPont testified before a Food & Drug Administration panel on drug testing where he advocated for expanding hair testing into federal workplaces. Dismissing the appearance of a “conflict of interest” DuPont told the panel: “I don’t think of myself as an employee or an advocate particularly for Psychemedics, but for drug testing generally.”

The FDA approved the company’s first hair follicle test two years later, and today Psychemedics is a multi-million dollar a year business that’s in the process of a profitable expansion into South America.

This is a running theme for DuPont. For instance, Stephen Talpins, an attorney who helped DuPont author his model drugged driving bill, formerly was a vice president at Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc., which makes the SCRAM alcohol and location monitoring system used by many courts.

Now DuPont is listed as a scientific adviser on the website of global drug-testing startup called CAM International Ventures. That company was founded in 2013 by David Martin, former president of the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association, and includes among its staff other prominent members of the drug testing industry.

Still, DuPont rejects the idea that there is any financial motivation behind his fixation drug testing.

“I find it bizarre to think that my interests after all these years were financial,” he told The Daily Beast. “I just think, there is a financial incentive in drug testing, but the reason I’m interested in drug testing is that there is an interest from the disease standpoint.”

With a dozen more states expected to consider legal marijuana measures in 2018, and even Republican lawmakers like Trey Gowdy questioning the federal government’s hard stance on the drug, it’s unlikely even a die hard anti-pot crusader like DuPont can turn back the tide, but that doesn’t mean he can’t make a few more bucks trying.

https://amp.thedailybeast.com/jeff-sessions-marijuana-adviser-wants-doctors-to-drug-test-everyone

Democrats running for Massachusetts governor in 2018 hope to repeal mandatory minimum sentences

The Longmeadow Democratic Town Committee hosted the three Democratic candidates for Governor Wednesday night. Committeee chair Candy Glazer, second from with the candidates Jay Gonzalez,left, Bob Massie and Setti Warren, right.The event was held at the Greenwood Center.   (MARK M.MURRAY/THE REPUBLICAN)
The Longmeadow Democratic Town Committee hosted the three Democratic candidates for Governor Wednesday night. Committeee chair Candy Glazer, second from with the candidates Jay Gonzalez,left, Bob Massie and Setti Warren, right.The event was held at the Greenwood Center.

All three of the Democrats running for governor in 2018 support repealing some mandatory minimum sentences, but they differ on exactly which ones to repeal.

Criminal justice reform is going to be a major priority for the Legislature in 2018, even before voters decide whether to replace Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who is running for re-election. The House and Senate both passed versions of a criminal justice bill that, among other things, would eliminate some mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.

But where the Democratic candidates stand could be relevant if the House and Senate fail to reach a compromise next year or if activists push for further changes in 2019 or beyond.

Newton Mayor Setti Warren favors a similar policy to what lawmakers are considering: repealing mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. These are typically drug dealers.

“As opposed to putting them in the criminal justice system, let’s put people in treatment,” Warren said.

“What we know is evidence-based research that shows that mandatory minimums do not reduce criminal activity nor does it address the crisis in opioids we have here in the state of Massachusetts,” Warren said.

Former health insurance executive and state budget chief Jay Gonzalez wants to go further and eliminate all mandatory minimum sentences except for murder. These would include firearms crimes, operating under the influence and stalking, which all have mandatory minimums under certain circumstances.

“We should eliminate all mandatory minimum sentences except for murder and let judges do their jobs and take the individual circumstances of every particular case into account in determining the right sentence for that person,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said the current system is not rational. For example, there is no mandatory minimum sentence for rape but there is for less serious offenses.

“The truth is we have them for some and not for others,” Gonzalez said.

He noted that there is also a significant racial disparity, where the people most likely to be hurt by mandatory minimum sentences are black and Hispanic.

Environmentalist and entrepreneur Bob Massie said he opposes mandatory minimum sentences, except “maybe” for the most violent crimes. “Discretion should belong to the judge,” Massie said.

In general, all the Democrats support policies that would result in fewer people being incarcerated.

Warren said it is important that people with nonviolent drug problems are diverted out of the criminal justice system and into treatment. He wants to ensure that people in jail have access to any necessary mental health or substance abuse treatment. And, he said, it is important to provide support services, such as help finding jobs, to people who have been released from jail.

Gonzalez said although Massachusetts has one of the lowest incarceration rates in the U.S., rates are still higher than in many countries. “We need to be focused much more on addressing the underlying causes of crime,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez supports investing more money in diversionary programs and specialty courts to keep people who need services like drug addiction treatment out of the criminal justice system. He supports more programming to help former inmates be successful when they reenter society.

Gonzalez also supports eliminating cash bail and reforming fees and fines to make sure the state is not incarcerating people solely because they are poor.

Massie similarly favors reforming the justice system in ways that lock up fewer people and make it easier for prisoners to rejoin society. “We need to rethink what it is we expect prisons to do — lock people up or move them through a process where they can re-enter society,” Massie said.

Massie wants to see more addiction treatment and education in the prison system. He believes solitary confinement should be eliminated as a “form of torture.”

Warren and Gonzalez both opposed marijuana legalization, but now say the state must act to implement the law as efficiently as possible. Massie supported legalizing marijuana.

https://articles.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/12/democrats_running_for_governor_3.amp

Boy, 11, loses arm when dad, accused of 4th OWI, crashed early Christmas morning

An 11-year-old boy lost an arm when his father, who is accused of driving under the influence, crashed into trees early Monday morning.

Jeremy Froemming, 38, told an officer he took three different types of pills Sunday afternoon.

He crashed into trees near Highway 67 and Highway D in the town of Ottawa at about 1:30 a.m.

Both Froemming and his son were trapped inside.

The boy was flown by Flight for Life to Children’s Hospital, where he remains, but doctors were unable to save his arm.

Court documents show Froemming has three prior OWI offense. He is charged with intoxicated use of a vehicle — great bodily harm and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated — fourth offense, with a minor child in the vehicle.

http://www.wisn.com/article/boy-11-loses-arm-when-dad-accused-of-4th-owi-crashed-early-christmas-morning/14512190

Simulator aims to help police test whether a person is too high to drive

The new year will mark the official start of recreational marijuana sales in California, and there are fears it could lead to more impaired driving. Among U.S. drivers killed in crashes who tested positive for drugs, more than a third in 2015 had used marijuana.

At the University of California San Diego, researchers are trying to help police detect whether a person is too high to get behind the wheel.

ctm-1220-recreational-pot-ucsd-driving-test.jpg
At the University of California San Diego, researchers are using a simulator to help police detect whether a person is too high to get behind the wheel.CBS News

When you drive on Marcotte’s simulator, he’s not checking how good a driver you are – but how bad a driver you may become high on pot.
 
“The idea of the off ramp is actually something that the police suggested to you,” CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen said.

“Because in their estimation, that’s one of the areas that are most difficult for impaired drivers to handle,” Marcotte responded.
 
The real test subjects light up, some with a real joint, others with a placebo. Then they are put through the simulator challenges like deciding whether it’s safe to drive through a yellow light. They also face a multi-tasking test: finding the right circle.

It’s all designed to eventually create a tool, perhaps a tablet test, that police can use roadside to determine if someone is too stoned to drive.

“The ultimate outcome is to see whether or not we can really help law enforcement separate those people who are impaired due to cannabis or those people who may have cannabis in their system and are not impaired,” Marcotte said.

Unlike alcohol, there is no accepted marijuana breathalyzer. Blood tests can be inconclusive depending on when the test is taken. To make it more complicated, pot affects different people differently.

“There are indications that the more experienced you are, the more tolerance you develop,” Marcotte said.

“So a person who smokes a lot might actually have less effect when it comes to driving?” Petersen asked.

“That’s correct. Because their body is adjusted to it, they know what to expect,” Marcotte said.

California Highway Patrol’s Sgt. Glen GlaserJr. teaches officers how to recognize a driver under the influence.

“How much does this end up making a kind of a judgment call, if that’s the right word?” Petersen asked.

“Well, I think it very much is a judgment call because we want our officers only arresting people who are impaired,” Glaser said.

Right now officers mostly rely on subjective observations like walking the line and “is there a pot smell in the car?”

While a lot of Californians are looking forward to January 1 when recreational marijuana goes on sale, Glaser and police across the state are braced.

“The big scare is going to be those people who are going to try for the first time come January 1 and not knowing how it affects their body,” Glaser said.
 
One day, the simulator may lead to an answer and help catch someone impaired by pot before getting too high gets someone hurt.

https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/california-recreational-weed-driving-high-ucsd-test/

Police to be first in state to try new test for drug-using drivers

Police face an increasingly common challenge: how to tell if a driver is high.

As states legalize marijuana use, opioid abuse runs rampant, the methamphetamine crisis continues and new synthetic drugs hit the streets, law enforcement authorities say it’s more common than ever to encounter motorists who are under the influence.

In response, police are pioneering a new generation of chemical tests designed to detect drugs quickly in drivers’ bodies, eventually during a roadside stop. They’re like breath tests for alcohol, but they use mouth swabs to screen for at least a half dozen other drugs.

One west suburban department plans in the coming months to start testing suspect drivers for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines and opiates like heroin.

Carol Stream police, who are known for their aggressive enforcement of drunken-driving laws, say they’re expanding their attention to drugs because they see the effects on drivers but aren’t always sure which drug is involved. It’s believed to be the first agency in the state to try the new driver drug tests.

“If it’s going to be like a breath test, that’s a game-changer,” Sgt. Brian Cluever said. “If we can make our roads safer, we want to do that.”

Police in California, Colorado, Kansas and Michigan, as well as Australia and many European countries, are already using or testing such devices. But critics, like some marijuana proponents and civil rights advocates, question how well the tests work and whether they’ll be used properly.

Defense attorney Don Ramsell, for one, is skeptical. He says judges have yet to certify that the tests are accurate.

“They might just as well hand somebody a bag of nachos and see if he eats it,” said Ramsell, who specializes in driving under the influence law. “That’s just as valid.”

Ultimately, the debate over whether roadside drug tests can be used to help arrest drivers will probably end up in court.

Unprecedented rise in drugged driving

Alcohol has long been the leading mind-altering hazard on the road, involved in about 10,000 driving deaths each year. A lengthy public campaign to reduce drunken driving and increase the use of seat belts and air bags has cut the number of deaths by half since the early 1980s.

A variety of devices were invented to test drivers for alcohol, including the Drunkometer, Intoximeter and Breathalyzer. Police began widespread use of portable breath-testing devices in the 1980s.

But in 2015, for the first time, the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes nationwide who tested positive for drugs surpassed the number of drivers who had alcohol in their systems, according to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Some states that legalized marijuana use saw marked increases. After Colorado made cannabis legal for medical and recreational use, the number of drivers in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana more than doubled since 2013, according to published reports.

Those numbers do not prove the drivers involved were impaired, because remnants of marijuana can remain in the body for days or weeks after use. Only some of the drivers involved in crashes were tested, and the amount of drugs present might not have been enough to play a role.

But traffic officers say they increasingly see people on the road who appear to be on something — in many cases prescription drugs, which are also illegal if they impair driving.

Looking at fatal crashes in Illinois, it appears more people are driving with drugs in their systems. While the percentage of crashes involving alcohol dropped 30 percent from 2007 through last year, the number of drivers who tested positive for marijuana tripled in that same time, to almost 15 percent, according to Illinois Department of Transportation figures.

As a result, companies like Draeger, headquartered in Germany, and Alere, owned by north suburban Abbott Laboratories, are marketing testing devices to law enforcement.

The companies claim a high degree of accuracy. A 2015 study in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology found the Draeger DrugTest 5000 accurately predicted the presence of a drug 93 percent of the time. But other studies have found varying degrees of success, depending on the device.

In Michigan last month, state police started a one-year pilot program of saliva roadside testing in five counties. State lawmakers passed a law authorizing the program, with a fine for drivers who refuse the test, Michigan State Police First Lt. Jim Flegel said.

Police will compare the test results from the Alere DDS2 device with a second swab that will be tested at an independent laboratory, and with a blood draw, which if refused can lead to a license suspension. The program is off to a promising start, and if testing proves accurate after one year, it can be continued and expanded to other counties, and hopefully ultimately introduced as evidence in court, Flegel said.

A ‘game-changer’

Under current Illinois law, police may seek a blood, urine or breath sample if they suspect a driver is impaired by a controlled substance, and a driver can face a one-year license suspension for refusing. But such tests are cumbersome, expensive and time-consuming, often requiring a trip to the hospital, and often take an hour or two, by which time the body may have eliminated the drug.

In contrast, the new type of test is designed to be easy, quick and portable. And rather than simply giving a positive or negative result, as many current blood tests do, the device that Carol Stream police plan to test, called P.I.A.2 , gives measurements for the amount of drugs present.

That’s important, because while Illinois used to define impairment as having any amount of cannabis or other controlled substance in the body, last year lawmakers raised that minimum threshold to 5 nanograms per milliliter in the blood, and 10 ng/mL in other bodily fluids.

But the Illinois State Police crime laboratory is not certified to give such precise measurements, and local police agencies say it can take months to process a request. Therefore, police sometimes send samples to private labs, which can be quicker but also costlier.

That’s where the new field test comes in. For drivers who submit to a blood draw, Carol Stream police plan to ask them also to volunteer for the mouth swab, not for use in court, but simply to compare its accuracy to the lab test. The department plans to conduct at least 100 comparisons over the next year, beginning around March.

Testing devices can cost $3,000 to $6,000, but the manufacturer of the unit in question, a German company called Protzek, will provide it for free to the village. Officials claim its accuracy is comparable to state-of-the-art laboratory techniques.

Len Jonker, president of Judicial Testing Systems, the distributor for Protzek here, said he is in talks about supplying the device to other law enforcement agencies in Illinois as well.

The tests have been challenged in some state courts but have been upheld as a preliminary step to establish probable cause to make an arrest, according to the National District Attorneys Association.

Still, the tests cannot yet be used as conclusive evidence in court, and still require a blood draw for confirmation, the prosecutors reported.

Dan Linn, executive director of the marijuana advocacy group Illinois NORML, said he welcomes the test for accuracy.

“We advocate for legalizing cannabis, but that does not mean we advocate people driving impaired by cannabis,” he said. “The bigger question is, who is driving impaired, and who just has cannabis in their systems.”

Illinois law has zero tolerance for driving on controlled substances other than marijuana, meaning any amount is enough to convict someone of DUI.

Yet unlike alcohol, which has been shown to cause impairment at a blood alcohol level of 0.08, no numeric levels have been established to show impairment from various drugs, because their effects vary so widely from person to person, depending in part on the user’s tolerance.

That’s why Linn believes it’s better to have trained police officers try to assess from direct observations whether a driver is impaired.

Police and prosecutors agree, and for that reason call for more training of officers as drug recognition experts, or DREs. While the standard field sobriety test — where drivers are asked to walk in a straight line and turn around, stand on one leg and close their eyes and touch their nose — was designed primarily to detect the influence of alcohol, the DRE test uses more subtle signs to try to detect drugs.

Dilated or constricted pupils, incomplete or repetitive speech, tremors in the eyelids or hands, odors, high pulse or body temperature, nervousness or lack of inhibition may all be considered signs of impairment from various drugs.

Processing a DUI arrest is time-consuming, and the new law that set the cannabis intoxication standard on driving under the influence states that police must take a blood sample within two hours. Police say that’s often impractical or impossible, especially in rural areas far from a hospital.

That’s why interest is so high in finding a quick technological fix.

‘If they can prove it … then bring it’

Police are free to try out drug-detecting devices, but to get them authorized for use as evidence, they typically have to be assessed by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, then be approved as administrative rules changes by the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules, state police Master Sgt. Matthew Boerwinkle said. That process could take months or years.

In addition, to be accepted in court, any new type of scientific evidence in Illinois generally must pass a Frye test, a judicial hearing to establish whether the technique is generally accepted as reliable by the scientific community in that field.

But Ramsell, the DUI attorney, cautions that many types of prior forensics evidence, from shoe prints to bite marks to signs of arson, have been undermined, and any new test deserves rigorous research by scientists, not police.

“If they want to turn citizens into rhesus monkeys, I am not volunteering,” Ramsell said. “But I’m all for science. If they can prove it in court, then bring it.”

He also accused police of wanting to raise more money in court fines. Last year, Carol Stream, which prosecutes many DUI cases itself, reported collecting $261,000 in court fines from DUI cases, plus another $300,000 in towing fees and $363,000 in circuit court fines for a variety of offenses.

While suburban police do not have to fight the amount of violent crime seen in Chicago, Cluever said his officers prioritize aggressive traffic stops to save lives and prevent other crimes, not to raise revenue. Initially, the tests will be done at the police station, but eventually, officers hope to use them on the roadside.

“If you’re driving impaired,” Cluever said, “we’re doing everything we can to keep you off the road.”

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/ct-met-police-drug-driving-test-20171205-story,amp.html

A plume of marijuana smoke, erratic driving lead to arrest in Westport on drugged driver charge

WESTPORT — Police arrested an Acushnet man on charges of driving under the influence of marijuana after a motor vehicle stop Monday night in Westport.

The arresting Westport officer, Jarrod Levesque, is a certified Drug Recognition Expert trained to focus on drug-related impairments, said Westport police Detective Jeff Majewski.

“DREs are becoming more valuable in recent months since marijuana legalization has increased recreational drug use, which has carried over to an increase locally of drugged driving,” Majewski said in prepared remarks.

Majewski said Raymond Morin, 35, of 16 Helen St. in Acushnet, was charged with operating under the influence of drugs and issued a $500 dollar violation for having an open container of marijuana inside a vehicle.

Around 7:35 p.m. on Monday, Majewski said Levesque observed a vehicle traveling west on State Road with its left directional on for several hundred feet passing four possible turn offs or breaks in the median. The vehicle was traveling approximately 28 miles per hour in a posted 55-mile-per-hour zone, Majewski said.

At the intersection of Gifford Road and State Road, Majewski said the operator turned south onto Gifford Road. Just as he passed the driveway to CVS, Morin then allegedly stopped his vehicle abruptly in the travel lane blocking the road.

Levesque approached the driver, who when he lowered the window “a cloud of marijuana smoke plumed from the vehicle.” Majewski said the officer also saw marijuana crumbs and residue in the driver’s lap.

Morin allegedly had difficulty producing his Registry of Motor Vehicle documents and was instructed to exit the vehicle to perform roadside assessment tests. Morin told the officer that he had smoked a marijuana blunt. He was arrested when he failed the sobriety tests, Majewski said.

Inside Morin’s vehicle, the police located a small quantity of marijuana in a Tupperware container, Majewski said.

Majewski said Levesque completed an in-depth evaluation of Morin. Majewski said indicators of drug impairment include the presence of body tremors, eyelid tremors, poor perception of time and distance, dilated pupils, elevated blood pressure, elevated pulse and poor completion of hand eye coordination assessments.

http://www.heraldnews.com/news/20171212/plume-of-marijuana-smoke-erratic-driving-lead-to-arrest-in-westport-on-drugged-driver-charge

Cannabis sales must avoid mistakes made by alcohol deregulation

University of Alberta professor Dr. Elaine Hyshka says the Alberta government needs to make sure it sets proper regulations for looming cannabis legalization.

University of Alberta professor Dr. Elaine Hyshka says the Alberta government needs to make sure it sets proper regulations for looming cannabis legalization. (The Canadian Press)

As the province begins developing a framework for legalizing cannabis, a University of Alberta doctor said she hopes Alberta learns from past mistakes with alcohol deregulation.

Dr. Elaine Hyshka said the government has some decisions to make before legalization takes place on July 1.

“I’ll be watching to see how government maintains control over things like price, advertising and marketing, the density of outlets and other factors that really are critical for really trying to encourage moderate use,” Hyshka told CBC’s Radio Active Wednesday.

Hyshka is speaking at the University of Alberta Thursday about what the Cannabis Act means for Canadians. The presentation at 5 p.m. will be livestreamed on their website.

She said Alberta’s cannabis price point can’t be so low people are encouraged to use it, nor can it be so high that users turn to the black market for cheaper prices.

Ontario has proposed a $10 per gram price, which, with the proposed federal tax plan, would cost $11 in Alberta. A mid-level dealer in Calgary told CBC News in October that he typically sells for anywhere between $6 and $8 a gram.

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci has rejected the federal cannabis tax plan and the Alberta government has not set a price yet.

Hyshka said she’ll also be watching how many stores selling cannabis will be allowed in a particular area. She said the amount of liquor stores on every corner, some of which are open until 2 a.m., is a mistake the government shouldn’t repeat.

Elaine Hyshka

Hyshka says restrictions should be placed on marketing and advertising cannabis. (CBC )

“Although cannabis as a substance is less harmful than alcohol, we’d be wanting to see some new restrictions put in place that really set the standard for how we regulate psychoactive substances,” she said.

She also hopes marketing of the product is restricted to prevent influencing a new generation of cannabis users.

“[Hopefully, we] don’t go out of the way to stimulate a new market or stimulate a new demand for what is not a harmless substance,” she said.

Cannabis still ‘liberally available’

Hyshka said that though there are documented benefits of cannabis, such as for those in chronic pain, that doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful — or, in the case of impaired driving, dangerous.

But she said concerns raised recently by the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police about impaired driving, while valid, are not new.

“It’s important to remember that cannabis is liberally available right now through the illegal market and many people are using it and some people are driving while impaired,” she said.

“Enforcing cannabis impaired driving or other sorts of infractions is not new.”

But Hyshka and the police chiefs place importance on a common, primary goal: discouraging those who don’t use cannabis from starting.

“I think that’s a main objective,” she said. “[And] if you are going to engage in cannabis use, how can you do so responsibly in a way that is going to try to, as much as possible, protect your health.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/cannabis-marketing-advertising-legalization-1.4415063

Health warnings, plain covers for pot packs under proposed regs

OTTAWA — Health Canada offered hints Tuesday about the government’s plans for legal pot, including, plain packaging and stern, stark health warnings like those found on tobacco products.

The department released a set of proposed regulations that, among other things, would limit colours and graphics on cannabis packs and establish a system to trace pot through the distribution system.

It said the warnings should highlight risks, including the dangers associated with cannabis use during pregnancy, drug-impaired driving and what can happen when alcohol is mixed with marijuana.

The department’s so-called consultation paper is now open to public feedback for the next two months.

Speaking outside the House of Commons, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said the government is studying other proposals including a tracking system to monitor the cannabis supply chain and help prevent pot being diverted into and out of the legal market.

Health Canada also said Tuesday the proposals seek to elaborate on elements including what can be displayed on a package and what can’t, including anything that might entice youngsters.

“Text and graphics used in brand elements could not be appealing to youth and would be subject to the packaging and labelling restrictions in the proposed Cannabis Act,” the department said.

“Health Canada is also considering establishing standards (such as limiting use of colour and size) of these brand elements.”

Government officials said late Tuesday the proposals attempt to elaborate on what can be displayed on a package to ensure the legal industry can keep itself distinct from the black market, while competing with it.

Producers would be allowed to display brand elements, the officials confirmed, saying they are talking to legal producers about packaging.

The officials also said Health Canada sees its plans as consistent with what the federally appointed task force on pot legalization recommended: plain and standard packaging.

The proposed regulations would also require that cannabis workers get valid security clearances issued by the minister of health. Individuals with connections to organized crime, or criminal records or shady associates could be denied clearances.

Earlier Tuesday, Statistics Canada said it plans to start measuring the economic and social impacts of recreational pot — even before it becomes legal.

The agency said it wants to gradually develop the capabilities to capture and report information on non-medical cannabis.

It says collecting data both before and after marijuana becomes legal will allow Canadians, governments and businesses to form a clearer picture of the economic and social consequences of lawful pot.

The Liberals also faced criticism from the opposition Tuesday for limiting debate on their cannabis legislation, which is currently before the House of Commons.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould defended the move, saying the government has long been up front with the House and with Canadians about the plan to legalize pot by July 2018.

Health warnings, plain covers for pot packs under proposed regs