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DUI Abuse

It used to be that DUI citations were given out for actually driving while under the influence of alcohol. Increasingly, they're being given out for simply being "under the influence". This strikes me as a gross violation of civil liberties. Since when did it become illegal to simply have alcohol in your system?

The first story comes from Hamburg, New Jersey.

A New Jersey appellate court yesterday upheld the principle that convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) can be imposed on individuals who were not driving. David Montalvo, 36, found this out as he responsibly tried to sleep off his intoxication in his GMC pickup truck while safely stopped in the parking lot of the Market Place Deli on a cold February morning last year. At around 5am he awoke to see a Hamburg Police Department patrolman standing over him. The officer had opened the door of Montalvo's truck to rouse the man and insist that he take a breathalyzer test. Montalvo refused.

For his attempt to follow the law and drive responsibly, David Montalvo now owes the city more than $4000, plus legal fees. Punishing people for doing the right thing in an effort to motivate them to do the right thing. I think New Jersey has discovered an entirely new principle of human behavior.

Next up, Rochester New Hampshire. Dover man arrested for taping his DWI investigation

A 48-year-old Chestnut Street man was arrested early this morning for wiretapping for allegedly recording police while they were investigating him for driving while intoxicated.

Police say they were patrolling the downtown area at 2:54 a.m. when they discovered Christopher A. Power of 52 Chestnut St. sitting in the driver's seat of a vehicle with its motor running at the Rochester Common.

After speaking with Power, police began investigating him for driving while intoxicated and arrested him. During the arrest an audio recording device was discovered.

Not only is it apparently illegal to sit in a parked car while alcohol is in your blood, it's also illegal to record police in the performance of their duties.

Err, since when? They work for the public, in the public good. Shouldn't the public be allowed to monitor that that's actually what they're doing? What are the police trying to hide? I thought the government line was that only criminals should be afraid of surveillance. Are the New Hampshire police hiding something?

Things I Find Interesting

In no particular order:

  • Tibetan monks, who overstayed their immigration visas, were arrested by a SWAT team. A SWAT team? For Tibetan monks? It's not enough that they get visited by paramilitary Chinese troops? They have to get raided by paramilitary Americans as well?

  • Frank Miller is writing "Holy Terror, Batman!", a story that chronicles Batman's fight against al-Qaeda. Says Miller:

I'm doing this mainly as an explosion from my own gut in reaction to what's happening now, but also as a reminder to people who've seem to have forgotten that we're up against an utterly ruthless existential foe who is as vile as any we've ever faced. I'm appalled at the equivocations, and I wish that the entertainers of our time had the spine and the focus that the ones who faced down Hitler did. Superman punched out Hitler. So did Captain America. That's one of the things they're there for. These are symbols of our people, of our country. These are our folk heroes. It just seemed to be kind of silly to be chasing around the Riddler when you've got al-Qaeda out there.

  • Kevin Robke is selling DoubleUps, sheets designed to end the problem of sheet-stealing, forever.

  • Rule changes for figure skating have had some unintended consequences: skaters are skating uglier, less artistic programs because falling is more valuable than skating clean.

  • Ever wondered about the origins of ethnic slurs? I have. Callimachus has the answers.

  • Who is more objective about reporting: the "real" reporters or the bloggers? Take a look at reactions to the Gillette Fusion Razor and see for yourself.

  • The New York Times reports favorably on the many ways that capitalists are solving societal needs like poverty, literacy, and the environment.

  • David Friedman thinks that police officers should execute search warrants in the nude. He has good reasons too.

  • Did you know that your parking spot is worth more than your car?

  • Most people talking about the trade deficit are criminally clueless. (I'm looking at you, Lou Dobbs.)