Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Police selectively enforce drug/alcohol testing law

Athough today's Advertiser story Lack of blood test in crash an issue begins to dig into the issue, the paper is far behind investigative blogger Ian Lind who carried discussion of the police failure to take a blood sample in his Sunday article. Ian not only cited the statute but emphasized the operative word here, which is "Mandatory".

What part of
Mandatory don't they understand?
Ian returned to the issue today, citing the Advertiser story and adding references to some relevent cases.

Although the "police official" (who remains unidentified in the Advertiser story for some reason--does this person require protection, or is it just sloppy journalism?) said that the department "considers differently each instance in which a driver involved in a fatal crash refuses to give blood, saliva, urine, or submit to a field sobriety test," this does not appear to square with the law. If there is a fatality, the police have all the probable cause they need. This seems to be supported in the cases Ian cited.

So the question that should be asked is why the police broke the law themselves, by failing to get a blood or urine sample. In the Arakawa case which we still remember (and which was cited by both the Advertiser and Ian Lind), they similarly failed to take the required tests but evidence was fortunately obtainable in other ways.

This case raises a related issue for me--why police are not enforcing the laws that we have. Each of us has witnessed outrageous speeding on the highways, and probably not a day goes by when a driver is not tailgated closely in any lane multiple times. Yet tailgaters and speeders (along with red-light runners and crosswalk violators) know that the chances of being caught are negligible. In fact, you almost never see police on the streets or highways enforcing these laws.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is not condoned by our society and so we have laws to protect us. Police do not have an option in these matters, and Peter Carlisle, who favors drug testing of innocent school children, should not hesitate to include police who fail to enforce the laws we have in his investigations.

Fat chance.

Update: Apologies to Ian Lind whose name I misspelled in the original post, and thanks to the reader who caught it.

Update2: darn, I also misspelled Peter Carlisle. Now corrected. Thanks to David, and also thanks for the link (see comments).


There is no "t" at the end of Ian Lind's name!

Oops.. thanks for catching that and apologies to Ian Lind. I might have been subconsciously thinking of the chocolate bar I bought the day before...

For those who want to read the opinions cited by Ian Lind, here's a link:


Also, the Honolulu prosecutor's last name is Carlisle.


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