After eight years, a pair of trials where he was twice found not guilty, and a trip to Canada’s highest court, an Ottawa construction worker accused of driving while impaired by marijuana has pleaded guilty to nothing more than a traffic offence.It’s the end of a long legal saga for Carson Bingley that started with erratic driving on Merivale Road in May 2009 and led to a Supreme Court decision that streamlined drugged-driving trials, just as the country moves toward legalizing marijuana by next July.On Monday, the 36-year-old pleaded guilty to careless driving under the Highway Traffic Act and was given a $1,000 fine and one-year driving prohibition. Court heard he swerved through traffic, drove in an opposite lane, then hit a parked car in a nearby lot.Bingley was criminally charged with driving while drug-impaired after allegedly failing a roadside sobriety test administered by a specially trained and certified police officer known as a “drug recognition expert” or DRE.MORE: With marijuana legalization, a new problem sprouts: How to test for high driversHe was taken to the police station, where he then underwent a 12-part evaluation for drug impairment that measures things like physical co-ordination, eye movement, blood pressure, pupil size and muscle tone. The evaluation, used across North America and Europe, was added to the Criminal Code in 2008 by the then-Conservative government.The results of Bingley’s evaluation — coupled with his admission that he had used marijuana hours earlier and taken two Xanax — led the DRE to conclude he was impaired by marijuana.But as Bingley’s experience has shown, proving cases of impairment by drugs can be difficult. Unlike alcohol, there are no approved roadside screening devices to determine precise levels of drugs in one’s system. Nor are there currently any legal limits on how much of a drug is too much to drive a car.In April, the federal government proposed new offences as part of Bill C-46 that will make it a crime to drive with more than two nanograms of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, per millilitre of blood. The legislation will also authorize police to use oral fluid drug screeners at the roadside to determine whether drugs are present in the saliva of a driver they suspect has been using drugs. However, prosecutions will still rely on the evaluation by a DRE at a police station or the taking of a blood sample.Outside of court on Monday, Bingley insists he wasn’t impaired by drugs, which motivated him to keep fighting the charges for as long as he has. Bingley said many of his friends told him he should give up and just plead guilty.Bingley believes his experience illustrates the need for reliable tests to prove someone’s impairment.“By no means do I think people should be out there driving drunk or under the influence. I have a son, I have a family. I don’t want to see someone get hurt,” said Bingley, who has a dated conviction for possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking. “If they have that law, they need to have the proper instrument to calculate that with. You have to have the right instrument.”But Bingley’s lawyer, Trevor Brown, said he doesn’t believe the Crown’s decision to resolve Bingley’s case with a plea to a traffic offence is an indictment of the drugged-driving testing regime.“It probably says more about how you can successfully prosecute a case eight years later,” said Brown.In an emailed statement, the Ontario attorney general’s ministry said the Crown carefully considered the public interest in proceeding with a third trial given the history of the case and Bingley’s current circumstances.“Plea agreements are about achieving just and appropriate resolutions in criminal matters while ensuring the effective and efficient use of valuable court resources,” the ministry said.Since being charged in 2009, Bingley’s moved up from his job as an apprentice labourer to a construction supervisor. Bingley’s also the proud father of a one-and-a-half year old, he said.Eight years of court dates and being in constant legal limbo have been an emotional roller-coaster, said Bingley. He estimates the legal fight has cost him tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and lost wages.However, Bingley’s lawyer said he remains concerned about the reliability of a DRE’s evidence given the “weaknesses and frailties” that were exposed during Bingley’s two trials.In both trials, the successful appeals of the not-guilty verdicts turned on issues surrounding whether a DRE was an expert witness. In the first trial, the judge accepted the evidence of the DRE as a “lay” opinion, but found there was a reasonable doubt as to Bingley’s guilt and acquitted him. At the second trial, the judge didn’t recognize the DRE
Hello, I have been charged with a dui but I refused to take any tests. I was parked and the police officer was inexperienced. It was his first dui arrest. I was fully aware of everything that was going on and wasn’t drunk. Just scared to take any tests because I have never been in trouble before. Would love to hear from you, thanks.
I can see two possible defenses already. Please call to set a consultation.
I have received my 3rd dui after 9 years with a bac over .20 my first court date is less then 2 weeks after the offence is that normal?
It is quite soon. You may ask to judge for more time to retain an attorney.
HICKORY, North Carolina — An assistant principal at a North Carolina high school was charged with driving while impaired after he banged into two parked cars outside of the school’s graduation ceremony. Police in Hickory released a report Monday that said 46-year-old Jonathan Andrew Stiles was arrested in the parking lot of Catawba Valley Community College and charged with DWI. He was arrested Saturday afternoon just as graduation ceremonies for Bunker Hill High School in Claremont were beginning at the Hickory college.Neither Stiles nor the school’s principal returned messages seeking comment Monday.The police report said Stiles was angling into a parking spot when he banged into the side of one vehicle and then the front of another.
A farmer walks into a bar with a horse. He says, “I will give any of you $1,000 if you can make my horse laugh.”A man yells, “I’ll take that bet,” and leads the horse into the men’s room.After a couple seconds, a loud braying laugh is heard from behind the door. The farmer screams to the man, “OK, I’ll give you $2,000 if you can make my horse cry.”The man shouts, “You’re on!”After a few more seconds, the man exits with the horse trudging behind him with tears streaming down his long-snout. Flabbergasted, the farmer asks, “How did you do it?”The man replies, “I said that my d**k was bigger than his and he laughed. Then I showed it to him.”
A 44-year-old Salvadoran national died in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody on Saturday, the 10th detainee to die in ICE custody since this fiscal year began Oct. 1. That’s the same number who died in the entire 2016 fiscal year, and the most since 2011.
Carlos Mejía Bonilla, 44, was admitted to Jersey City Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit with gastrointestinal bleeding on June 8. He died two days later, according to a statement ICE released on Tuesday.
Mejía Bonilla first crossed into the United States in 1993. He was arrested by Border Patrol agents, but freed on an order of recognizance, according to ICE. He had been living in the New York area in recent years, where ICE detained him on April 1. He had two convictions on his record for driving while intoxicated ― in 2009 and in 2014.
The number of deaths in ICE custody varies from year to year, influenced somewhat by the total number of people detained. Some deaths are the result of medical conditions that happened prior to detention.
“ICE takes the health and well-being of the individuals in our custody extremely seriously and we provide extensive medical, dental and mental health care to ensure their health and safety to the best of our ability,” ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said in a statement.
Human rights groups, however, have criticized both the medical treatment and mental health services available to immigrant detainees. Two of the 10 deaths this fiscal year were suicides. A third immigrant detainee attempted suicide at at family detention center in Texas last month in an attempt to free her two children. They were later granted asylum.
Deaths in custody are increasingly a concern as President Donald Trump seeks to significantly expand immigrant detention, including for families, and to potentially roll back Obama-era standards meant to keep detainees safer while in custody.
Grace Meng, an immigration researcher with Human Rights Watch, called the rising number of deaths “frankly terrifying,” and said ICE should publicly release the results of its investigations into detainee deaths.
“It’s really upsetting to see ICE send out these releases where there’s so little information about the person,” Meng told HuffPost. “At a bare minimum, we should know how and why these people died. Sometimes people die in custody for reasons that are not preventable ― that’s just something that happens. But if ICE thinks they received good care, then they should release these publicly so we can see what kind of care they received.”
Congress requires ICE to maintain the capacity to lock up roughly 34,000 immigrants facing deportation on a daily basis. But the agency had already begun to exceed that figure in the final months of the Obama administration, when the number of detained immigrants swelled to more than 40,000. The average daily detained population for this fiscal year, which includes more than five months of Trump’s presidency, stands at more than 39,000.
The Trump administration plans to keep boosting that figure. ICE’s 2018 budget requestincludes $4.9 billion to expand its immigrant detention capacity to a total of 51,379 beds, including 2,500 reserved for mothers locked up with their children.
Carl Takei, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project, said three factors make him concerned: “The increasing flow of people into ICE custody, the forthcoming changes to detention standards, and, related to that, a clear message sent from headquarters that going forward the conditions in detention are not a priority.
“That message is a deadly message,” Takei said.
Deaths in ICE custody haven’t always correlated with the number of people detained, according to government figures. In 2004, 28 people died in detention, while the average daily population of detainees was about 22,000. The lowest number of deaths in a fiscal year was in 2014, when there were about 33,000 people detained per day and six deaths.
ICE implemented detention reforms in the 2009 fiscal year, when there were 14 deaths. The number has not exceeded 10 since that period.
Greeley police arrested a parolee and a habitual traffic offender after he was seen driving erratically and running a stop sign in downtown Greeley on Thursday night.According to a release from Greeley police, an officer stopped Antonio Rodriguez Jr., 64, in the 1300 block of 7th Avenue about 9:15 p.m.After he was arrested, police found “an amount of suspected illicit controlled substance and a large amount of cash … on his person,” the release stated.Rodriguez was booked into Weld County Jail on suspicion of felony charges of possession/distribution of a controlled substance and parole violation and misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence, being a habitual traffic offender and a stop sign violation.