Monthly Archives: January 2010

Coastal Carolina Baseball Picked to Win BSC

Today the Big South Conference’s Head Baseball Coaches voted Coastal Carolina University’s baseball team the conference’s preseason favorite. The coaches also voted Coastal outfielder Rico Noel the Conference’s Preseason Player of the Year and Coastal junior Cody Wheeler the Pitcher of the Year.

This is the third consecutive year that Coastal has been named the Big South’s preseason favorite. Coastal is ranked 16th by Ping! Baseball and 17th by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.

Noel received four first-place votes from the league’s coaches according to The Roost. He hit .315 with 17 doubles, eight home runs and 45 RBIs last season. His 48 steals tied for the national lead, and he had an on-base percentage of .427.

The question I have for Brian Foley is how did Rico not make his top 100 list?

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Filed under Coastal Carolina Baseball

DUI Busters: The New Vigilantes

Move over prostitution. The hottest controversy on Craigslist now appears to be the debate over the DUI Busters. According to Lawrence Taylor, the DUI Busters are the new vigilantes. These vigilantes say they are trying to put a stop to people driving drunk and they are bragging about it on Craigslist. I’m not sure if they are really trying to stop it, or if they are simply trying to increase the number of DUI arrests.

The DUI Busters say they hang out in bars looking for people who’ve had too much to drink, trail the unknowing person to their car, then follow them down the road, and call 9-1-1…

That doesn’t seem like the best way to stop someone from driving drunk. If you really wanted to stop someone from driving drunk, it seems that you would try to stop them before they started driving.

These vigilantes have their own guidelines for “How to Roll” when making the 911 call, which includes lying to the police.

Tell them you’ve been following a driver that’s ’swerving everywhere’, and the clincher being they ‘almost hit a parked car’.

According to the article, at least one DUI Buster admits to lying to the police:

I lie to the police about the prospective drunk driver hitting a parked car when they didn’t. As long as you’re over the .08 you’re legally intoxicated if you hit a parked car or not.

First, I want to say upfront that I don’t think anyone should drive if they are impaired, but there is nothing good about what these vigilantes are doing. For one thing, if someone is really impaired, no one should let them drive. If a DUI Buster really wants to prevent drunk driving, he should try to stop it before it happens.

Second, it’s really not a good thing to lie to emergency 911 operators. They are there for emergencies. If a person is not driving erratically, then why make it up? If the person’s driving is not impaired, then he is not guilty of DUI.

We know why these people are making up stories about impaired driving. It’s because these zealots don’t care if the suspect driver is guilty or not, they only care about the arrest. This is the circle of prosecution followed by law enforcement and endorsed by MADD.

Make more arrests to get more grant money to get more cars and equipment to make more arrests to get more grant money to get more cars and equipment to make more arrests.

It is truly MADDness.

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Filed under DUI/DWI

Time

I have been away from the keyboard for the last week or so with court and clients. I am reminded of an old question: what do we have plenty of but not enough? The answer of course, is time. It has a way of slipping away. It has been a busy week and my clients will always take priority over the blog.

There are a few issues that I want to write about later this week – police misconduct, bail and an update on Paxton v. UK.  For now, I just want to take notice of a short SCOTUS opinion: Briscoe v. Virginia.

PER CURIAM.

We vacate the judgment of the Supreme Court of Virginia and remand the case for further proceedings not inconsistent with the opinion in Melendez-Diaz v. Massa-chusetts, 557 U. S. ___ (2009).

It is so ordered.

H/T Paul B. Kennedy: The prohibition of trial by affidavit lives on.

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Filed under Evidence

Surfside Beach mayor to likely lose license

The title to this post is the headline to an article in the Sun News today.

State and local officials say they expect Surfside Beach Mayor K. Allen Deaton to have his driver’s license suspended, after he refused a breathalyzer test Friday when police officers from the town arrested him and charged him with driving under the influence.

The article talks about South Carolina’s implied consent law which provides that anyone who refuses a breathalyzer test will have their license suspended for six months for the first offense.

Evidently, they didn’t read my post here.

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Filed under DUI/DWI, Implied Consent Hearings, Uncategorized

Extreme Makeover for Horry County Police Officer

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is in Horry County this week to build a new home for the Suggs family. This is a good story. According to the Sun News, Horry County Police Officer Derrick Suggs and his wife have a large family:

Since they’ve been married, Suggs and his wife have taken in six of her siblings when they were struggling to live in an unstable environment.

Suggs, 28, is a good man and a good police officer. According to Chief of Police Johnny Morgan:

He’s done an amazing job with those kids. Two of them are in the military and one of them just got married, Morgan said. He was raising them and helping them get through school while having two kids of their own. To do all that on an officer’s salary just shows how outstanding he is.

Like I said, this is a good story. Congratulations to Officer Suggs and his family for their well deserved new home.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Drug Charges Dismissed Against S.C. Officer

Earlier this week the Fourth Circuit Solicitor dismissed a possession of marijuana with intent to distribute charge against Officer Dominick Robinson. Robinson was a school resource officer. He has been suspended without pay since his arrest.

According to WPDE news:

Investigators say Robinson confiscated the drugs from a case he was working and didn’t immediately turn them in as evidence at the Darlington Police Department. They say he went out of town for some training and forgot the drugs were at his home.

Investigators say the evidence was mishandled, but it doesn’t appear there was [any] criminal intent.

The article is short and it raises more questions than it answers. Presumably the “case he was working” was a school case. How can it be that he took the drugs home? If the case involved a student, then there are two logical scenarios.

One, the student was detained until he or she could go before a family court judge for a detention hearing; or two, the parents were called to pick up the student. Either scenario should require a Department of Juvenile Justice screening. That’s a lot of paper work to be turned in and processed.  How could Robinson process the case without turning in the drugs.

Drug cases are different than other crimes for many reasons. Two obvious reasons are testing and chain of custody. In a drug case, the state must prove that the drugs are really drugs. They have to be tested by someone certified to test drugs. The state also has to prove that the drug tested is actually what they took from the defendant. Simply stated, the state must show where the drugs have been and who handled them.

I believe it’s safe to say that the state’s case against whoever the officer took the drugs from is completely blown now. Even if that person was an adult, it’s still hard to imagine a scenario where the officer would take the drugs home.

Another question concerns the charge against the officer. Simple possession is a lessor included offense of possession with intent to distribute. If the investigators found no evidence of criminal intent, does that mean the officer was charged with simple possession instead? It certainly appears that he could be. That’s unlikely because, according to the article, Robinson will return to work next week.

Like I said, the article doesn’t give us much information. Maybe it’s best just to do two things: One, don’t put too much faith in what we read in the news about suspects; and two, presume everyone innocent until proven guilty.  After all, isn’t that what we teach?

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Filed under Police Misconduct

S.C. Supreme Court Issues Stay of Execution

Quincy Allen was scheduled to be electrocuted Friday January 8, 2010. Today the S.C. Supreme Court granted a stay so his lawyer can file a petition in the U.S. Supreme Court according to The State Newspaper.

Allen, 30, was sentenced to death in 2005 after pleading guilty to a 2002 crime spree in which he killed four people across North and South Carolina. Because he pleaded guilty, a judge – not a jury, decided his punishment. That is the issue his lawyer, appellate defense attorney Robert Dudek, wants to appeal.

“You have your 6th Amendment right to a jury trial and your 8th Amendment right to present any and all mitigating evidence,” Dudek said. “If you want to plead guilty and take responsibility, show remorse and all that, you can’t do it in South Carolina, to a jury.”

The stay postpones Quincy Allen’s execution until at least March 16, 2010.

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Filed under Death Penalty