Friday, July 29, 2011

Drunk and Pregnant

News 3 in Memphis included this story from an Oklahoma incident in which an allegedly drunk and pregnant woman drove throught the McDonald's drive through into a fence. How may ways can a person find to be dangerous?

Deputy injured in crash

Davidson County deputy, Michael True, was injured when Luis Ortiz-Brito allegedly crossed the center line and crashed head on into his police car.

Ortiz-Brito has been charged with DUI and driving without a license and is currently being held in the Davidson County Detention Center on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer, since Davidson County participates in the 287g program to identify illegal immigrants who committ crimes.
We hope and pray Deputy True recovers completely.

Public Urination as Reasonable Suspicion

In State v Pack, an officer saw the driver relieving himself on a city street in Tullahoma. The public urination caused the officer to approach the defendant, who had driven his car until he stopped to urinate. The urinator was intoxicated and was charged DUI 3rd offense and Driving on a Revoked license. He pled guilty and reserved the reasonable suspicion issue for appeal. He argued that the de novo review of the video should have trumped the testimony of the officer. The Court was not convinced that the officer (not the video) was unable to see the criminal activity before he activated his blue lights.
Once again the Court acknowledges, by it's ruling, that stationary videos pointed directly forward don't see all that the human eye can see. A person can turn his head, look to the side, look down and look up. A video mounted on a dashboard cannot. The Pack sentence of 180 days to serve was affirmed.
Read the case at:

Synthetic Cannabinoids DUI Conviction

Congratulations to Brentwood officer Stan Boyd and ADA Kelly Lawrence for their recent conviction of a synthetic cannabinoid DUI offender. The driver had smoked "incense" and was impaired. The TBI tox screen came back negative. The blood sample was then sent to NMS labs in Pennsylvania, a private toxicology lab that has the capability to test for synthetic cannabinoids. The result came back as positive for JWH-250, which confirmed the officer's observations.

JWH-250 is found in “Spikey XXX Gold,” “Pandora Aromatic Potpourri,” “Ed Hardy Legal Earth” and dozens more. The products are made by spraying the active chemicals on perfumed and crushed plant leaves, stems and petals, then smoking the “incense” in a cigarette or water pipe.

Read about the NMS lab press release about testing for these chemicals at:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pat down search articulation causes reversal

In Gatlinburg an officer responded to a disturbance. He decided for his own safety to pat down the agitated gentleman who was arguing with a female, who had called the police. The Court decision reversed the conviction. It appears that the problem may have been more of a lack or articulation than an improper decision to pat someone down. What officer in this setting would not feel the need to pat someone down in this situation. Read the case at:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Monday night in Nashville

7 DUI arrests with 6 implied consent charges. Arrested were:

David Carachure, Don Bond, James Pivacek, Joshua Baber, Carolene Welsh, Jason A. Jones (not the Titan), Torrey R Buckley.

Two were in crashes without injuries. Two were driving at night without lights. One was speeding. One had 3 child passengers. One attempted to bribe the officer and then tried to knee him in the groin. One was stopped for speeding.

All are presumed innnocent. None should be very happy with themselves today. Fortunately, no one injured or killed anyone this time.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wrong Way Interstate Driver injures 6

At 3:46 A.M. an allegedly intoxicated driver going the wrong way on I 24 in Hamilton County caused a crash in which 6 people were injured. The driver, Jesus Bonilla, attempted to leave the scene, but got caught. He now faces numerous charges and is afforded the protection of the presumption of innocence, unless or until proven guilty.
It was a very bad night for a family travelling from Florida to their Kentucky home. They get no protection of their rights when an impaired driver is on the road. We hope they recover completely. Read about it at:

3rd offender conviciton affirmed

The Court of Criminal Appeals has affirmed the judgment for DUI 3rd offense from Campbell County in State v Reid. This one was driving under the influence of drugs and had an oxycodone pill in her pocket. She got out of handcuffs and wiggled through the open partition of the patrol car to try and consume the pill that had been placed in an evidence bag on the front seat.
She had previously had a wreck when she was under the influence of valium and she opened the door to a cross examination that included her prior crash.
Read it at:

4th offender DUI conviction affirmed

The Court of Criminal Appeals has confirmed the conviction in State v York, a case from Fayette County. York recieved a sentence including 15 days in jail for a DUI First offense. He had 3 previous DUI convictions, which I assume were barred due to the 10 year rule.
York had the misfortune of having to stop, because another driver ran off the road and the road was blocked for a tow truck. When an officer went up to the stopped cars to inform people of the problem, he found the intoxicated defendeant behind the wheel.
Read the decision at:

DUI V.E. charged

In Germantown a woman was charged with DUI by Vanilla Extract. The Vanilla Extract had a 35% alcohol content. What comes around goes around. I tried a similiar case in Monroe County about 10 years ago, but it was lemon extract. Ethyl alcohol is ethyl alcohol no matter what it is mixed with!
Read about it at:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Judge Sword

Congratulations to Steve Sword for his appointment to the Bench. Steve has been an outstanding prosecutor in Knoxville and I expect he will be a great Judge. He has always taken his committment to the justice seriously. Read about Steve in the Knoxville News Sentinel at:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tennessee exporting crime again

A 50 year old Tennessee trucker with a prior 2000 aggravated burglary conviction from Knoxville in Case no. 65348 has had his bond increased to 1 million dollars after allegedly killing 3 people last month on I-40 in North Carolina.
He apparently had several other priors in other States. Read about the trucker, who is presumed innocent here:

Clarksville newspaper notes recidivism success story

The Leaf Chronicle has a nice story wrtitten by Tavia Green about a multiple offender who has changed his ways in part to tough DUI punishments. He says things like victim panels could have helped him, but increased time in jail and rehab got his life back. There are quotes from ADA Chris Dotson in the story.
Read about it at:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Case alert consecutive sentences

In State v Evans released this week, defendant Evans had her consecutive sentences upheld. She pled to 2 DUIS, driving on revoked for DUI and implied consent. As a 3rd DUI offender she was ordered to serve 75% of an 11/29 sentence. She had to serve 5 consecutive days of an 11/29 for implied consent and was ordered to serve a consecutive 11/29 on community corrections after she gets out.
Read it all at:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tn woman in Georgia: DUI with 4 kids threatens officer

A 35 year old Jackson, Tn woman was stopped in the Atlanta area driving 90 mph. She was arrested for DUI and told the officer he would lose his brains in a future traffic stop. It's bad enough that people like this do this in our own State, now they are exporting stupidity!
Read about it in the Atlanta Constitution at:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

30 year meth sentence

Congratulations to Scarlett Ellis in the 8th Judicial District. Her prosecution of Steven Sanford for one count of initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine, a Class B felony, has been affirmed with a 30 year sentence as a range 3 offender.

Read about it at:

Monday, July 11, 2011

DUI Bond law article misstates law

Two sessions ago the General Assembly passed a law that required a court to determine if a multiple offender was a danger to the community when setting bond. If a danger, certain restrictions on the bond were available. Another law stated if a person on bond committed another, the Court was to presume danger. Nothing stopped a court from setting a bond, but the court was required to make some determination before doing so.
This year the law was amended, so the court did not have to make a determination of danger. The court is required to determine if the offender needs to be restricted, while on bond.
An article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press claims that the law has been fixed, citing a defense lawyer who claims the origional law was unconstitutional.
The only "fix" to the law is that the court no longer has to determine if the offender is dangerous. The court still determines if the driver needs to be restrained by conditions on his bond. Let's hope that courts don't decide to abrogate their duties and ignore the need for bond conditions for multiple offenders. This article makes it sound like the law went away! It did not. Multiple offenders are still dangerous. They make up less than 1% of the population and are involved in 44% of the traffic fatalities (NTSB). Bond conditions are still neccessary for many, if not all of them. Read the article that misses those points at:

7 fatalities during 4th of July holiday weekend

The Tennessee Dept of Saftey annonced that 7 people died on our roadways during the 78 hours of the 4th of July weekend running from 6 p.m., Friday, July 1, through 11:59 p.m., Monday, July 4. Our thoughts and prayers go to the deceased and their families and friends.
The good news is that is the fewest to die during the holiday since 1998. To all the law enforcement officers who worked tirelessly during this period to save lives, thank you. Read the Dept of Safety news release at:

Friday, July 8, 2011

DUI 8th crashes into house

WKRN in Nashville featured the arrest of this gentleman, who is presumed innocent, but facing an uphill battle after crashing into a house.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Trooper injured in crash

An article from the Johnson City Press shows why the Move Over law is so important. Thankfully, the injuries suffered by Sgt. Diane Mays don't appear to be too awful. The Sgt. was wearing her seatbelt when she was hit from behind. Let's hope all recover quickly from the scary incident. Read about it at:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

DUI Arrests: UP Traffic Fatalities: Down

THP arrests for DUI in the first six months of 2011 are up 30.7%. Statewide traffic fatalities for the same time are down 15%. Hmmm.

Read about the numbers at:

Knoxville hit and run caught and sprayed

A 51 year old gentleman saw a driver hit a woman and leave the scene. He followed the driver, confronted him and spayed with pepper spray. When law enforcement arrived, they took the driver away and charged him DUI. Leaving the scene, implied consent, driving without insurance and disorderly conduct. The Knoxville News Sentinel called the man who caught him a Good Samaritan. Read about it at:

Nashville DUI defense attorney charged with DUI

WKRN is reporting that a Nashville attorney has been charged with DUi and Aggravated Assault. According to the report, he came close to running over a female officer after she tried to stop him before he drove away from a store. This does not do much for the reputation of those who practice law.
Read the story at:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

DUI NEWS Available

The 35th edition of the TNDAGC DUI NEWS is now available at:

There is nothing as controversial as naming a school district in the Wall of Shame this time!
Get up to date on new laws, new decisions from the judiciary and other important items relating to traffic safety.