Marijuana DUIs Are Still Too Subjective Say Cops. Why No BreathTest?

Scientists Still Seek A Reliable DUI Test For MarijuanaListen· 5:245:24QueueDownloadEmbedTranscriptFacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailJuly 30, 20177:14 AM ETHeard on All Things ConsideredRAE ELLEN BICHELLAlthough consuming cannabis is legal in Colorado and several other states, driving while under the influence of the drug is not.Nick Pedersen/Getty ImagesThis spring, 16 state patrol officers from Colorado and Wyoming took a couple days off their usual work schedule to do something special. They assembled in a hotel conference room in Denver. As instructed, they wore street clothes for their first assignment: going shopping at nearby marijuana dispensaries.”It’s a brave new world,” said instructor Chris Halsor, referring to the years since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana.There are now more marijuana dispensaries in Colorado than there are Starbucks shops, said Halsor, a Denver lawyer and former prosecutor. And though consuming cannabis is legal across the state, driving under its influence is not.The cops in that conference room, with their buzz cuts and Mountain Dew, are all part of the force charged with keeping the roads safe. But first, they needed a formal pot education — to learn how to identify various marijuana products and paraphernalia when they pull over a driver they suspect is under the influence.Here’s the rub: Despite the increasingly legal use of cannabis in many states, cops still don’t have the equivalent of a reliable alcohol breathalyzer or blood test — a chemically based way of estimating what the drug is doing in the brain. Though a blood test exists that can detect some of marijuana’s components, there is no widely accepted, standardized amount in the breath or blood that gives police or courts or anyone else a good sense of who is impaired.Yessenia Hinojos, a budtender at a Denver cannabis dispensary called The Green Solution, describes marijuana strains to A.J. Tarantino (left) and Philip Gurley. Both men are officers with Colorado State Patrol.Rae Ellen Bichell/NPRA number of scientists nationally are working hard to create just such a chemical test and standard — something to replace the behavioral indicators that cops have to base their judgments on now.”We like to know the human error and the limitations of the human opinion,” said Tara Lovestead, a chemical engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo., who is working on setting standards for what a marijuana detection test might require.It’s actually really hard for Lovestead to do this kind of research because she works in a federal lab; federally, cannabis is considered a Schedule 1 substance, “a drug with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” So even though Lovestead is in Colorado, getting hold of a sample for research purposes is just as hard as getting hold of heroin.”We cannot use the stuff down the street,” she said.Aside from being a bureaucratic mess, coming up with a standardized blood or breath test is also a really tricky chemistry problem because of the properties of the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.In states like Colorado, there is a THC blood test that law enforcement can use to show “presumed” impairment. If a person has more than 5 nanograms of delta-9-THC per milliliter of blood, a court or jury can infer that they are impaired, according to Colorado law (this is called “permissible inference” in legalese).SHOTS – HEALTH NEWSHigh On The Highway: Scientists Try To Build A Marijuana Breath TestBut Lovestead and others maintain that, scientifically speaking, that cutoff doesn’t actually mean anything.”We just don’t know whether or not that means they’re still intoxicated, or impaired or not,” she said. “There’s no quantitative measure that could stand up in a court of law.”Turns out it can be a lot harder to chemically determine from a blood or breath test that someone is high than to determine from such a test that they’re drunk.Ethanol, the chemical in alcoholic drinks that dulls thinking and reflexes is small and dissolves in water. Because humans are mostly water, it gets distributed fairly quickly and easily throughout the body and is usually cleared within a matter of hours. But THC, the main chemical in cannabis that produces some of the same symptoms, dissolves in fat. That means the length of time it lingers in the body can differ from person to person even more than alcohol — influenced by things like gender, amount of body fat, frequency of use, and the method and type of cannabis product consumed.In one study, researchers had 30 frequent marijuana users stay at a research facility for a month without any access to drugs of any sort and repeatedly tested their blood for evidence of cannabis.”And it shocked everyone, including ourselves, that we could measure, in some of these individuals, THC in the blood for 30 days,” says Marilyn Huestis, a toxicologist with the University of Maryland S

Source: Marijuana DUIs Are Still Too Subjective Say Cops. Why No BreathTest? : Shots – Health News : NPR

Want 30 Days Jail Credit ? Get a Vasectomy.

Nashville’s News Chanel Five reported yesterday of one Tennessee judge’s unusual method to reduce one’s jail sentence. White County Tennessee General Sessions Judge Sam Benningfield entered a standing court order granting 30 days of jail credit to those serving jail sentences. The catch to getting the jail credit is to agree to have a vasectomy or the have a birth control device implanted.It strikes me as an extreme abuse of judicial power. Judges in Tennessee determine the jail sentence if no plea bargain is entered into. The court holds the keys to the jail cell once a sentence is imposed. It puts the court in an unfair bargaining position. Everybody in jail wants out of jail. To force one to have themselves robbed of their ability to reproduce is a practice that should not be tolerated. To his credit, the local District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway agrees. Here is his statement from the report. District Attorney Bryant Dunaway, who oversees prosecution of cases in White County is worried the program may be unethical and possibly illegal.“It’s concerning to me, my office doesn’t support this order,” Dunaway said.“It’s comprehensible that an 18-year-old gets this done, it can’t get reversed and then that impacts the rest of their life,” he added.The American Civil Liberties Union also took a position.”Offering a so-called ‘choice’ between jail time and coerced contraception or sterilization is unconstitutional. Such a choice violates the fundamental constitutional right to reproductive autonomy and bodily integrity by interfering with the intimate decision of whether and when to have a child, imposing an intrusive medical procedure on individuals who are not in a position to reject it. Judges play an important role in our community – overseeing individuals’ childbearing capacity should not be part of that role.”In Davidson County Tennessee, it is common to work out a probation violation case on the condition that the defendant will enter a drug or alcohol program and be released upon the condition that they complete the program. This is completely different than court sanctioned sterilization. While the court’s actions may be well intended, it is simply wrong. No Tennessee law sanctions this type of conduct by the courts to reduce jail time.I suggest we watch this story and see how it develops.

Source: Want 30 Days Jail Credit ? Get a Vasectomy. : Nashville Criminal Law Report

Walks Into a Bar… Taxidermy Joke

A Yankee walks into a bar in Alabama and orders a cosmopolitan. The bartender looks at the man and says, “You’re not from ’round here are ya?””No” replies the man, “I’m from New Hampshire.” The bartender looks at him and says, “Well what do you do in New Hampshire?””I’m a taxidermist,” says the man. The bartender looks bewildered, so the man explains, “I mount dead animals.”The bartender stands back and hollers to the whole bar, “It’s OK, boys! He’s one of us!”

Source: Funny Jokes | Walks Into a Bar… Taxidermy Joke | Comedy Central

School Board member arrested, charged with driving while intoxicated at 1 a.m. Saturday

Roscoe D. Cooper III, a member of the Henrico County School Board, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated early Saturday.

According to Sgt. Stephan Vick with Virginia State Police, Cooper, 43, was stopped just before 1 a.m. on westbound Interstate 64 just west of the Gaskins Road exit.

He was then arrested and transported to Henrico County Jail, where he posted bail at 4:30 a.m.

State police declined to release Cooper’s blood alcohol content.

Cooper, who represents the Fairfield District, was elected to the board in 2015 after winning a recount by 42 votes. He currently serves as vice chairman of the board.

“Board members are aware of Mr. Cooper’s personal situation,” said Beverly Cocke, School Board chairwoman, in a statement. “We’ll be better able to respond once more details are available. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Cooper family at this time.”

Cooper did not immediately respond to attempts to reach him.

A Richmond native, Cooper has been pastor at Rising Mount Zion Baptist Church in Henrico since 2003. He holds a bachelor’s degree in religion and philosophy and a master’s degree in divinity from Virginia Union University, along with a doctorate in divinity from Richmond Virginia Seminary.

A hearing date has not yet been set, according to online records.

70-year-old pedestrian hit by car in Springfield

The driver was later arrested for OUI and leaving a pedestrian accident

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – An elderly person is in the hospital after being hit by a car in Springfield Saturday night.

Springfield Police Sergeant John Delaney told 22News, police were called to the intersection of State and Oak Streets at 9 p.m. Saturday night for a pedestrian accident. When they arrived, they found a 70-year-old pedestrian who had been hit by a car. The driver sped off after the accident.

The victim was taken to Baystate Medical Center with serious injuries to their head and stomach area.

Police later found and arrested the driver, who was identified as 47-year-old Clinton Taylor from Springfield. He is being charged with operating under the influence and leaving a pedestrian accident.

70-year-old pedestrian hit by car in Springfield

What is a Lesser Included Offense, and Why is it Important?

Lesser included offense laws can play a significant role for the defense in a Texas criminal case. However, they can also be used by the prosecuting attorney to secure an advantage at trial. If you’ve been charged with a crime, the key to success with lesser included offenses is proper strategy, which requires an in-depth, meticulous understanding of how the law works. An experienced Collin County lawyer can tell you more about the application of these laws to your unique situation, but it’s helpful to review the basics and recognize the potential advantages.Lesser Included Offense Under Texas LawAccording to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, a lesser included offense is one that:Can be proved by the same facts, or less than all of the same facts, that would prove the crime actually charged by the prosecution;Is only different from the crime charged, in that it involves a less serious injury or risk of injury to the person, property, or public interest;Is different from the crime charged, in that it involves a less blameworthy mental state of mind; OR,Bears the characteristics of an attempt to commit the crime charged or an otherwise included crime.EXAMPLEA common scenario used to describe the concept of lesser included offenses is the crime of strangulation, which falls under Assaultive Offenses in the Texas Penal Code. Assault is knowingly causing or threatening to cause bodily injury to another person, and it’s a Class A Misdemeanor.Choking someone is a type of assault; however, there’s the added element that it involves stopping the airflow of another person. The assault crime of strangulation is elevated to a Third-Degree Felony.Based upon this example, assault would be a lesser included offense to strangulation. It can be proved by less than all of the same facts because, for assault, it’s not necessary to establish that the defendant stopped the airflow of another person.Implications of a Lesser Included Offense at TrialThe Texas statute on lesser included offenses can be part of an effective strategy in defending your rights in a criminal case. Ultimately, your goal is to get the option of a lesser included offense before the jury when they go to deliberate.Not a Separate Charge: When a lesser included offense is an option in your case, it will not come as a separate charge. Only a judge can order the jury to consider whether to convict you for a crime that’s not part of the official charges against you, and he or she would do so through jury instructions.How Jury Instructions Work in Texas: When the prosecutor has presented the evidence against you and you have presented all facts and arguments for your defense, the jury will deliberate about the case. However, they receive instructions from the judge before heading off to discuss your guilt or innocence, such as the essential elements of the crime.Prosecuting and defense attorneys submit their requests for jury instructions; if they’re approved by the judge, the jury is required to adhere to them when making a decision.Getting the Lesser Included Offense Before the Jury: A specific instruction on a lesser included offense is necessary to ensure the jury considers this as an option; otherwise, the jury will only consider the crime that’s described in the official charges.In general, a defendant has the right to a jury instruction on lesser included offenses if the evidence would allow the jury to reasonably find him or her guilty of the lesser offense – but NOT guilty of the greater offense.Texas courts have held that anything more than a “scintilla” of evidence may be sufficient to include a jury instruction on lesser included offenses. There may be grounds for appeal if a judge declines to include the instruction, because the refusal to allow the jury to consider a lesser offense harms the defendant’s case.

Source: What is a Lesser Included Offense, and Why is it Important? | Rosenthal & Wadas

Walks Into a Bar… Monkey Eats Everything

A guy walks into a bar with his pet monkey. He orders a drink, and while he’s drinking, the monkey jumps all over the place, eating everything behind the bar. Then the monkey jumps on to the pool table and swallows a billiard ball.The bartender screams at the guy, “Your monkey just ate the cue ball off my pool table — whole!””Sorry,” replied the guy. “He eats everything in sight, the little bastard. I’ll pay for everything.”The man finishes his drink, pays and leaves.Two weeks later, he’s in the bar with his pet monkey, again. He orders a drink, and the monkey starts running around the bar. The monkey finds a maraschino cherry on the bar. He grabs it, sticks it up his ass, pulls it out and eats it.The bartender is disgusted. “Did you see what your monkey did now?” he asks.”Yeah,” replies the guy. “He still eats everything in sight, but ever since he swallowed that cue ball, he measures stuff first.”

Source: Funny Jokes | Walks Into a Bar… Monkey Eats Everything Joke | Comedy Central

Mass. restaurants want OUI serving data eliminated

Boston, MA - 03/30/16 - The scene inside Carrie Nation Restaurant & Cocktail Club's Speakeasy in Beacon Hill. The local bar room, once a vital part of local politics, has become less important in recent times. - (), Section: Lifestyle, Reporter: Dugan Arnett, Topic: xxbarroompolitics, LOID: 8.2.2441797526

Massachusetts bars and restaurants are pushing to eliminate a state program that tracks where convicted drunk drivers had their last drinks before being arrested, saying it embarrasses businesses without giving them a chance to defend themselves.

Under state law, judges collect “place of last drink” reports from each person convicted of operating under the influence. The reports are used by alcohol regulators and local police to identify establishments that seem to routinely over-serve patrons.

“Local officials look at these reports and say, ‘this is a problem bar,’ ” Steve Clark, director of government affairs for the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, said. “But the bar never had a chance to say, ‘that guy was never here.’ ”

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Prompted by a story in The Boston Globe in December naming the establishments that have accumulated the most last-drink reports, the restaurant association has asked a state task force considering an overhaul of alcohol laws to recommend that the Legislature eliminate the program.Convened by Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, whose office oversees statewide alcohol enforcement, the task force is expected to unveil suggested policy changes in August.

The industry’s stance has alarmed state regulators, local licensing officials, and public health advocates, who argue the last-drink reports deter bars from serving intoxicated customers and help enforcement officers focus their limited resources on those that do.

“We have a very effective program that’s been cited as a national model for preventing impaired driving,” said Ted Mahony, the top investigator at the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, or ABCC. “Why would you get rid of that?”

But restaurants say people convicted of drunken driving frequently misremember or lie in court about where they had their last drink. And even though the reports don’t lead directly to punishment, operators said, municipal licensing boards nonetheless see them as black marks and give bars named by drunk drivers harsher punishments for other, unrelated violations.

“When John Doe is convicted for OUI, he just names the first place that comes to mind,” Clark argued. “Essentially, you’re taking the word of a drunk over a business owner who might be innocent.”

However, the restaurant association declined to cite examples of bars that were unjustly punished as a result of the reports, saying its members feared officials would retaliate if they complained publicly. And while the last-drink program has been active since the early 2000s, Clark said his group resolved to kill it only after the Globe publicized the data.

“Usually they go unreported, but then you do a big story about all these reports, and I get calls from my members saying, ‘two of my three [reports], I wasn’t even open those days,’ ” Clark said. “It’s not fair for the state to create negative publicity if the restaurant has no defense.”

At the same time it’s pushing to eliminate the last-drink reports, Clark’s group is lobbying to have the state’s longstanding last call pushed back from 2 a.m to 4 a.m., following a recent vote by lawmakers to allow the state’s new casinos to serve that late.

The association also wants the state to allow restaurants and bars to accept out-of-state ID cards without assuming additional liability and to give local licensing boards the option to fine businesses for liquor law violations instead of suspending their licenses.

‘The bar never had a chance to say, ‘‘that guy was never here.’’ ’

Although Clark insisted the issues are separate, public health advocates worry that hampering officers’ ability to identify problematic bars while simultaneously making it easier for more people to drink later into the night would lead to a spike in drunken driving.

“I don’t think anybody wants businesses to be falsely accused,” said Amy Turncliff, a neuroscientist and co-chair of the policy and advocacy group MetroWest Substance Abuse Prevention Alliance. “But there has to be accountability, especially if you see repeat infractions.

Municipal licensing officials are also wary of eliminating the program. Wayne Brasco, chairman of the Waltham licensing board, said that while individual reports may be suspect, cumulative data from the last-drink program are “an important barometer” for municipal regulators.

“I don’t believe for a second that drunk drivers tell the truth,” Brasco said. “But if one guy gets 20 reports, you got a problem. When there’s that much smoke, there’s got to be a little fire.”

The National Liquor Law Enforcement Association, which represents state alcohol agencies, recently urged the Massachusetts task force to preserve the last-drink registry. The group said it “frequently uses Massachusetts as an example of the proactive ways in which [last-drink] reports can be used to improve serving practices.”

In 2012, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that every state adopt a similar policy. Currently, a handful of states have laws mandating the reports, while elsewhere a patchwork of local governments and police departments collect such data.

“With this program, we can do targeted investigations instead of random investigations,” Mahony said. “And if the bar’s not observed serving intoxicated persons, they’re not written up. It’s quite fair.”

Mahony noted that Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill — the Foxborough bar that according to the Globe’s December analysis accumulated more recent last-drink reports than any other establishment in Massachusetts — has not been cited in a single arrest since its record was publicized.

“We’ve spent a lot of time there working with management, and it ended up with a good result,” Mahony said. “We expect they’ll still have zero reports at the end of the year.”

Barry Birks, vice president of the company that controls Toby Keith’s, said the publicity and ABCC intervention that followed the Globe story prompted an immediate improvement in the restaurant’s practices. He also credited a new program promoting Uber and other ride-hailing services at the Patriot Place complex, where Toby Keith’s is located.

“Once the article came out, it was made abundantly clear to the management that they needed to up their game,” Birks said. “It’s not enough to just get people out the door, it’s making sure they get home safe.”

He added that revenues at Toby Keith’s are actually up this year, suggesting that the embarrassment caused by last-drink reports doesn’t necessarily hurt business. Regardless, Birks said he still dislikes the system.

“Without any kind of proof, or any way to expunge a report,” Birks said, “it’s inherently unfair and inaccurate.”

Source: Mass. restaurants want OUI serving data eliminated – The Boston Globe

I was charged with dui a couple days ago for marijuana

I was charged with dui a couple days ago for marijuana I’ve been having my medical marijuana license for like 7 years have a wife and three kids I keep my weed in my pipe in the car because I don’t want it around my kids and I was involved in the accident they have no proof that I was under influence for marijuana which I wasn’t at the time they just assumed That i was because it was in the car so what should i do thanks for your time

It depends if you took a blood test or not. If you refused, they would have taken your license and you would only have 7 days to contest the revocation. Whether you took it or not, you should meet with a defense attorney as soon as possible.