Drug driving arrest as tree hits car

A35 tree strike

A falling tree injured two men when it crashed through the roof of a car in Hampshire during Storm Eleanor.

The driver and passenger were travelling on the A35 through Hinton Admiral when the tree fell on to the Ford Focus shortly after 03:00 GMT on Wednesday.

Police said both men were taken to hospital.

The road was closed by the Cat and Fiddle pub for more than three hours while the tree was cleared.

Police initially reported the driver had been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.

Hampshire Constabulary later said: “We are investigating the full circumstances, but no arrests have been made.

“Apologies for any confusion after what was tweeted in the early hours of this morning.”

A35 tree strike

The Environment Agency had issued flood warnings and alerts across Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight, with coastal areas under threat from a combination of a high tide and large waves.

There were numerous reports of fallen trees blocking roads across Dorset in the wake of the high winds.

Dorset Police said there was “a morning of chaos” across the county on Wednesday.

The Met Office said gusts of up to 89mph (143km) were recorded on the Isle of Wight at about midnight.

Dorset tree downhttp://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-42551369?intlink_from_url=&link_location=live-reporting-story

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

Woman arrested for driving on frozen river

According to state police, Jamie English was driving under the influence in Curwensville Borough around 8 p.m. on New Years Eve, when she drove her car down a boat launch and into the Curwensville River.

That’s when her car allegedly became stuck on the ice, and officials discovered that she had been driving drunk.

Officials tell us she will be charged with driving under the influence.

http://www.wearecentralpa.com/news/woman-arrested-for-driving-on-frozen-river/896935048

Weapons, ammo found in resident’s room in Hyatt Regency Downtown

Houston police have arrested a man who was initially going to be charged with drunk and disorderly conduct at a downtown hotel, until officers discovered an arsenal of weapons in his room.

 

Houston police uncovered a small stash of weapons and ammunition Sunday morning after showing up to arrest a drunk man at a downtown hotel that hosts one of the city’s largest New Year’s Eve parties.

After hours of investigating, police charged 49-year-old Russell Lawrence Ziemba with assaulting a peace officer and trespassing.

“This was not Las Vegas,” said an official familiar with the case. “There was not an arsenal.”

Chief Art Acevedo took to Twitter to reinforce that sentiment.

“Situation from this morning at downtown hotel is contained,” he wrote. “No specific threats.”

Staff at the Hyatt Regency Houston initially called for police around 1:30 a.m. for help handling a highly intoxicated man at the hotel bar.

At first, security at the 1200 Louisiana hotel tried sending the argumentative guest to his room, but he started fighting with them, officials said. So security called the Houston police.

The first officer planned to arrest him for trespassing, but discovered the man was drunk and belligerent.

When the officer spotted ammunition lying around Ziemba’s hotel room, he decided to call for backup.

While gathering up the suspect’s belongings, police reportedly found an AR-15, a shotgun and a handgun, with many rounds of ammunition. But it wasn’t immediately clear why Ziemba brought guns and ammo to the hotel, and investigators had to wait for the alcohol to wear off before getting answers.

“He’s intoxicated so they won’t be able to interview him till he’s sobered up a bit,” Lt. Gordon Macintosh said early Sunday. The FBI confirmed it assisting with the case, but declined to offer any statement.

Authorities said they’d found and towed his truck to look for more weapons. Police said they questioned Ziemba until early afternoon.

“Based on limited amount of ammunition, interview and other investigative findings no unlawful intent found,” Acevedo tweeted just after 2 p.m.

An official familiar with the case said it appeared all three guns were legally owned, despite earlier reports to the contrary. Ziemba didn’t make any threats, the official said.

At the time of his arrest, the Tomball man was out on bond following a Dec. 23 misdemeanor arrest for allegedly carrying a handgun in his car, court records show. Previously, he’d been convicted twice for drunk driving.

Hyatt officials said the hotel will still hold its New Year’s Eve party featuring a 50,000-balloon drop at midnight from the top of a 33-story atrium. About 2,000 people are expected to attend.

“The safety and security of our guests and colleagues is our top priority, and consistent with the hotel’s prepared security plans, heightened measures are in place on New Year’s Eve,” hotel manager Tom Netting said in a statement. “We are fully cooperating with authorities on an investigation, and further questions should be directed to the Houston Police Department.”

 Houston police have arrested a man who was initially going to be charged with drunk and disorderly conduct at a downtown hotel, until officers discovered an arsenal of weapons in his room.
Media: Metro Video

One Hyatt guest who said he observed the arrest said the hotel didn’t tell him anything about the incident, though the police presence didn’t have much impact on the lobby crowds as patrons came back from nearby bars.

“There wasn’t a big disruption,” said 32-year-old Zedshan Zakir, who had returned from a wedding reception when he spotted a man in cuffs on one side of the atrium.

By mid-morning Sunday, the police presence had died down and the Hyatt lobby was quiet even as the hotel geared up for a big night ahead.

“Heightened security measures, including support from local authorities, are in place and will continue through the hotel’s New Year’s Eve celebration this evening,” the company said in a statement.

Acevedo said Sunday that police and SWAT teams will be heavily deployed throughout the city.

“Proud of officers & Hyatt,” he wrote. “As always be vigilant & report suspicious activity to authorities.”

With amped up security, Houstonians went about their days downtown, some still making plans to attend the celebration.

Kelly Persaud said she anticipated turning out for the hotel’s festivities as she has in years past.

“They caught him,” she said. “You can’t live in fear, right?”

http://www.newstimes.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Arsenal-found-in-resident-s-room-in-Hyatt-Regency-12464555.php

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