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I agree that even the best public tranpsortation is not likely to take the car entirely out of the equation for your average suburbanite urban bar hopper. Most would probably find themselves driving their cars to light rail stations, if it were convenient. But the idea is that we cut the number of drunk drivers on the road, right? Cutting down the distances they drive decreases the risk that one of our loved ones will be sharing the roadway with a "drunk", which is why I think dry counties are bad news. And just to be clear, I'm not arguing that its okay to drive drunk for a short distance. I'm just saying that it lowers the risk for the rest of us out there. It's obviously not going to eliminate the problem altogether. Nor is locking up every DWI convict in a concentration camp and throwing their family in a ghetto.
 
Posts: 65 | Location: Athens, TX - Henderson County | Registered: June 20, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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but don't most DWI's occur a short distance from the driver's home? i appreciate that vastly improved public transportation will cut down on some risk, but i wonder how marked the decrease in that risk will be when the improvements are not really targeted at the problem area. however, if you argument is that "any loss" of risk is an improvement, then I see your point.

it's very clear you have some strong feelings about this issue (though i personally would not compare what DWI defendants face to the holocaust). that is certainly very admirable of you to show the courage to voice them. societal change always seems to start with one person with strong feelings who is willing to speak up.
 
Posts: 1243 | Location: houston, texas, u.s.a. | Registered: October 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Dec. 21, 2006, 8:39AM
Rosie calls Trump immoral, Trump calls Rosie disgusting

NEW YORK ? The Miss USA partying episode has led to a war of words between Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump.

O'Donnell, co-host of the ABC television morning talk show The View, said on Wednesday's show that Trump's news conference with Tara Conner had annoyed her "on a multitude of levels."

"Left the first wife, had an affair, left the second wife, had an affair. Had kids both times, but he's the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America," O'Donnell said to roars of audience laughter. "Donald, sit and spin, my friend."

She continued: "He inherited a lot of money. wait a minute, and he's been bankrupt so many times where he didn't have to pay. ... I just think that this man is sort of like one of those, you know, snake oil salesmen in Little House on the Prairie."

"Rosie O'Donnell is disgusting, I mean both inside and out," Trump shot back on the syndicated entertainment show The Insider. "Take a look at her, she's a slob. She talks like a truck driver. ... Her show failed when it was a talk show, she failed on that. The ratings went very, very low and very bad and she got essentially thrown off television. Her magazine was a total catastrophe, she got sued. ...

"I never went bankrupt, but she said I went bankrupt. So probably I'll sue her because it would be fun. I'd like to take some money out of her fat-ass pockets," he said.

Trump, owner of the Miss Universe Organization, which includes Miss USA and Miss Teen USA ? said Tuesday at a news conference that he would allow Conner to keep her title if she settled down and entered alcohol rehab.

Conner tearfully admitted drinking as a minor at New York nightclubs. She turned 21 a day before the news conference.

On Wednesday, Mothers Against Drunk Driving said it was severing ties with Miss Teen USA Katie Blair because it was "disappointed" by news reports that she had been spotted partying with Conner in New York clubs.

"We do not feel, at this time, that Ms. Blair can be an effective spokesperson on underage drinking and will not ask her to represent MADD in future initiatives," MADD spokeswoman Heidi Castle said in a statement.

A message left for a representative of Blair, an 18-year-old from Billings, Mont., wasn't returned.

Miss Universe Organization spokeswoman Lark-Marie Anton said Blair's crown also was safe. Anton said the organization respected "MADD's decision as much as we respect their work. We look forward to working with them in the future."

[This message was edited by JB on 12-21-06 at .]
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I got hit by a drunk driving a company truck in 1972, breaking my scapula in seven places and two ribs. Missed two months of school and had severe pain, from which I still suffer today, as neither of those injuries can be dealt with using a cast. They just have to heal. Several times a year when the weather changes a certain way, I can actually feel the break lines in my scapula as they ache. I became an arthritic sufferer at age 12 because of this.

The drunk who hit me allegedly fled to mexico after his arrest and bond. Never prosecuted. He was driving a company truck for an electrician and was racing a dump truck to the local bar. Fortunately, the drunk who hit me was winning by a long distance, cause when he jumped the curb and went onto the sidewalk and sideswiped my bicycle, throwing me across the roadway, the dumptruck was trailing way behind him and didn't run me over and kill me.

Many many years ago, as a young Harris County deputy, on my first day out of the academy on patrol with my FTO, I had to help cut a dead young girl out of a seatbelt. The car she was driving was struck by a drunk driver. That image has stayed with me for many years.

Several months later, as a new member of my office's Honor Guard, I attended the first of what would unfortunately be several funerals of Police Officers killed by a drunk driver. The officer was my age at the time.

Towards the end of that year, my 18 year old second cousin Cindy was on her way to the airport in Houston, having just left her wedding, when a drunk caused her death in a collision.

So I have some strong problems with catagorizing what happens to drunks as anything like a "concentration camp" and what happens to their families as akin to putting them in a ghetto. They do it, to themselves. We don't do it to them.

Really, It is as absurd to compare what the Texas criminal justice system does to drunk drivers to the holocaust as it is to have to hear the recent iranian tribunal featuring racist David Duke claim the holocaust never happened.

And if it means locking up a habitual dwi defendant a "long time" and saving a life, whether that life is a citizen or a police officer, then I say good deal and tough luck to the defendant.

Just out of curiosity, Drew, do you prosecute dwi's?

If you do, I respectfully suggest riding along with some troopers on New's Year's Eve to see what happens with drunks firsthand. If you are lucky, no one will die. But the chances are there will be an alcohol related driving fatality in your county or one adjacent to it this year. Seeing the damage one drunk can do firsthand might lessen your sympathy for drunks and what they endure.

Off my soapbox now.

[This message was edited by GG on 12-21-06 at .]
 
Posts: 2577 | Location: The Great State of Texas | Registered: December 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Whoa whoa whoa! I'm not comparing DWI prosecution to concentration camps. Remember my original point. I'm not arguing for change in law enforcement, I'm arguing against it. My point is that law enforcement has capped out in the effect it can have in reducing the risks on our roads of being hit by a DWI driver. I like the penalties we have set now. I don't think they're too harsh or unfair. I think they're just right. The holocaust reference is to say that harsher penalties aren't going to help us any. And w/ the death of this officer, many of us, especially prosecutors, are inclined to react w/ a call for harsher punishment.

I'm paraphrasing, but I commend the reaction of Mrs. Freeto who said that she can forgive the young man who killed the father of her children, and that the best way to honor his memory was to refrain from drinking and driving.

I do have strong feelings on this issue. Not on DWI per se. I'm fortunate to not have had to have acquired such intimate familiarity w/ the carnage caused by DWI as has GG. My strong feelings are directed at the tendency of our society to call on the government to solve its problems. The government has an important role to play no doubt, but we simply cannot expect the criminal justice system to completely rid our society of its ills.

The calls far harsher punishment are most visible in the realm of drugs, DWI, and pedophilia. Take pedophilia specifically. No doubt we are obligated as a society to protect our children and the punishments for those who exploit them for their sexual cravings should be some of our most severe. But pedophilia will exist regardless of the punishment. I'm not at all opposed to capital punishment for repeat sex offenders who are violent or target children. The punishment fits the crime. But I'm not going to pretend that ever harsher and harsher punishments are going to make a difference. There comes a point where justice is served and any further risk-reduction is going to have to come from other areas outside of the criminal justice system. We can crucify child molesters if we'd like, but it is not going to completely eliminate pedophilia and pushing the envelope too far is only going to come at the expense of the criminal justice system itself, in terms of lost credibility and decency.

So, in the wake of Officer Dwayne Freeto's tragic death, I hope changes are made to help reduce the danger on our highways. I just think we're looking in the wrong place if we're going to try doing this by raising the stakes for DWI defendants. The stakes are fine where they are now.
 
Posts: 65 | Location: Athens, TX - Henderson County | Registered: June 20, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The problem is proving the intoxication. That's it. That's where the system looks away. In Texas, the refusal rate approaches 50%. What kind of evidence collection system would call itself workable that allowed the defendant to destroy the most critical evidence with a simple refusal to comply with the law?

So, it is time to do away with the ability of a defendant to refuse to provide a breath/blood sample. If it can be mandatory following the death of a victim at the hands of a drunk driver, how much better to collect it before such a death occurs?
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I agree, John. Mandatory breath, blood, or urine tests are not too much of an invasion for the privilege of driving. Can it happen?
 
Posts: 532 | Location: McKinney, Tx | Registered: June 22, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There likely will be a standalone bill to seek mandatory breath/blood for DWI defendants on their third arrest. That focuses on the repeat offenders, who tend to have (1) the highest BAC levels and (2) the highest refusal rates. Success with that change could develop momentum for mandatory breath/blood for all cases.
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I believe that scientists say that alcohol in the blood of a living person is constantly being diminished and eliminated by the body. Therefore, with probable cause and without wasting time to procure a warrant, an officer should be able to find a competent person and draw blood from a person suspected of dwi. The living body is destryoing the evidence; isn't that an exigent circumstance.

Have our courts construed our statutes to disallow this practice?
 
Posts: 72 | Location: San Antonio, Texas, USA | Registered: December 13, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Constitutionally speaking, the courts have said that taking blood without a warrant is OK because of the exigent circumstance that the evidence is being destroyed by the passage of time. But, then Texas got involved.

Texas statutes, at first, seem to go along with the idea that officers can take breath/blood. The Transportation Code even says that drivers give implied consent to providing such a sample by getting a driver's license. But that is where the agreement ends.

Additional statutes and case law interpreting those statutes provide that an officer must read an encyclopedia-like set of warnings (to a drunk) and then "ask for consent". That request for consent is really a demand to comply with the law, but courts have interpreted it to mean the defendant must "voluntarily" consent. That twists the meaning of the law, but there it is.

All of which means that we have a system that makes it very unlikely an officer will get a sample. Refusals rule the day, even though the officer has probable cause and an exigent circumstance.

Some jurisdictions, including Williamson County, then go get a search warrant and force the defendant to provide a sample. That is a difficult process, as it involves writing a warrant and waking up a judge from a court of record (as it is an evidentiary warrant) but it can be effective. Sometimes, we get the consent when the defendant realizes a warrant is forthcoming.

Most other states do NOT follow the Texas model. It is time we got rid of this nonsense and collected reliable evidence like everyone else.
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We know that driving is a privilege, not a right. We know that the law declares each driver to have given implied consent to provision of a sample to determine intoxication. The public does not. Those who disapprove of what we do know this, as well. They also know the power of the turn of a phrase. After a sotto voce acknowledgment of the notion of personal responsibility preceding a heavily emphasized "BUT", anticipate the argument that we "persecutors" are seeking to impose a police state, where the average citizen is subject to being stopped at any time and confronted with a Nazi-esque demand for "papers ... and a blood sample." The more eloquent civil libertarian may follow this argument with the Franklin quote about how those willing to trade liberty for security deserve neither. And perhaps a flourish of the classical conception of rights: yours end where mine begin. But that cuts both ways. Your right to be free from government snooping into whether you're driving drunk ends where everyone else's right to continue to breathe begins.

Now I've gone and worked myself into a spiraling philosophical lather again. But we should always remember that the average member of the public is called "Joe Six-Pack" for a reason. In that vein, Janette's analogy to the turn of the tide in the war against smoking based on societal disapproval is a compelling one, I think. In the end, we don't need a pep talk. Most of us already are true believers. We need a lesson in effective PR. How do we turn the phrase that convinces Joe Six-Pack that providing a sample may be an invasion of his liberty, but it's one that is justifiable as a consequence of his own malfeasance? Better yet, what nifty phrase would convince people that driving after drinking is as socially repulsive as smoking (I say that as an ex-smoker who recoiled at anti-smoking rhetoric)? I don't have the answers ... just the questions.
 
Posts: 1233 | Location: Amarillo, Texas, USA | Registered: March 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Nazis. I hate those guys.
 
Posts: 1243 | Location: houston, texas, u.s.a. | Registered: October 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What we need is a set of really vigorous proposals on the table so that moderate proposals like John's have a chance of passage.
Here's one: In exchange for the privilege of driving, each motorist agrees to give a pint of blood when stopped and requested by the officer. The blood is routinely tested: the alcohol-laced blood is kept as evidence (and the driver goes to jail), and the good blood goes to the regional blood center to help supply the demand for blood that careless driving caused in the first place.
And we wouldn't have a paper-wasting consent form, either: The consent would be printed on the license right above the driver's signature.
 
Posts: 71 | Location: Houston, Texas, USA | Registered: January 24, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Posts: 65 | Location: Athens, TX - Henderson County | Registered: June 20, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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always knew you were a de-GENE-erate. Wink



where is hal when you needham?

[This message was edited by David Newell on 12-21-06 at .]
 
Posts: 1243 | Location: houston, texas, u.s.a. | Registered: October 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well put, Scott. As an ex-smoker myself, I can't help but whine at all those current smokers who get to disappear out to the veranda throughout the workday to drag on their coffin nails. I try to convince the boss that I deserve several 15-minute breaks during the shift to go out and scratch and belch and maybe throw down on some bluegrass tunes. But alas, we
malingerers and sack-dragging slouches have yet to be recognized as having such unalienable rights as scratching breaks.
 
Posts: 751 | Location: Huntsville, Tx | Registered: January 31, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by David Newell:
always knew you were a de-GENE-erate. Wink

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/cb/Smokey_And_The_Bandit_Poster.jpg

where is hal when you needham?

[This message was edited by David Newell on 12-21-06 at .]


How dare you make fun of one of the cinematic great works of the 70's. I'm speaking of Jerry Reed's performance, not the others... Big Grin
 
Posts: 2577 | Location: The Great State of Texas | Registered: December 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I loved Jerry "hell, I got ta' go" Reed in that. He's the only reason I went to see Hot Stuff. The de-gene-erate comment was a reference to Gattaca, not Smokey and the Bandit.
 
Posts: 1243 | Location: houston, texas, u.s.a. | Registered: October 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well, I thought Fred the Bassett's performance was a homerun.
 
Posts: 956 | Location: Cherokee County, Rusk, Tx | Registered: July 11, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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But I shook w/ fear as I typed it.

Big Grin
 
Posts: 65 | Location: Athens, TX - Henderson County | Registered: June 20, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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