Patterico's Pontifications


Radley Balko Takes DUI Arrest and Turns It Into a Case of Cops Who Break Into a Guy’s Home for Having Words with Them

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:23 pm

Radley Balko specializes in those stories that make you think: “Wow! I can’t believe it!” Often, it’s because you shouldn’t. Here is his latest, from today:

Via the comments, police break into Pennsylvania man’s home, arrest and jail him after he exchanges words with an off-duty state trooper. The man says he was confronting the trooper about parking in a no-parking zone. Even if the guy was drunk and cursing, as the cops allege, that isn’t cause to break into his home. The refusal to release the 911 recording certainly inclines one to think the cops are lying, here.

(Italics in original.) That’s his entire entry on the story.

Well. First of all, the cops aren’t the ones who didn’t release the tape. From the story linked by Balko:

Public Opinion filed a Freedom of Information request on Tuesday for that tape, and was notified on Wednesday by County Clerk Jean Byers, who is the county’s appointed open records officer, that “the public interest in disclosure does not outweigh the interest in nondisclosure.”

Moreover, if the guy “was drunk and cursing” then he drove drunk — because right after he mouthed off to the cop, he got in his car and drove home.

Doyle said he went to the store after watching one of the NFL playoff games and he walked to get there. He was there earlier in the day and his car wouldn’t start for the trip home, so Doyle walked home to Scotland Avenue and walked back later to get some things at Staples and Giant, and bring home his car.

The man in the pickup truck flashed a badge from his wallet, saying that badge entitled him to park there.

Doyle replied that the man was “special” since he was not in a patrol car, or in uniform, and had a child with him.

Doyle said he walked away, and the off-duty officer, Trooper Craig Finkle, called him back. Doyle said he walked part way back to Finkle and heard the off-duty officer ask on his cell phone for “units that can roll now.”

Doyle went to his car, it started, and he went home.

Balko didn’t mention that part.

If he had just been driving drunk, police may well have had exigent circumstances to make a warrantless entry into his home to preserve the evidence.

Apparently he got a blood alcohol test and was subsequently booked for DUI:

Doyle was taken to Chambersburg Hospital for a blood-alcohol test and then booked into Franklin County Jail on two charges of driving under the influence and one charge of disorderly conduct.

Balko didn’t mention that part.

What will his likely defense be? That he had a high BAC because he drank at home:

At home where he lives alone with two bulldogs, Doyle said he put away his groceries, let his dogs out of the kitchen area, and had a martini he’d prepared earlier and left on the counter. He said he’d had the same kind of drink earlier in the day.

A martini he had prepared earlier and left on the counter? Before he went out for a walk and got some groceries?


My guess: the cops were right on his ass, and came in just after he got home. Meaning he didn’t have time to prepare a martini. So: he claims that he prepared one earlier, which allowed him to toss it down really quickly after he got home.

Oh — and it was really strong, ossifer! So if my BAC is high, it’s because of that really strong martini I drank after I got home.

It’s a convenient (and absurd) story that reads to me like an attempt to explain away a BAC reading over the legal limit.

Balko didn’t mention that part.

Look: I don’t know the facts here. I don’t know what his BAC was. Is it absolutely impossible that cops acted nefariously? No, it’s not absolutely impossible.

But, once you get past the spin of the linked story, this appears to be a drunk driving arrest, pure and simple.

At the very least, Balko should have told people that the guy was given a blood alcohol test, was arrested for DUI, and had a really stupid-sounding story about preparing a martini and leaving it on the counter to walk off and shop for groceries.

But Radley Balko will swallow any old line of crap that takes an anti-cop stance. And he will hide the facts from you that go against his pro-defense spin.

Par for the course from this guy.

UPDATE 1-16-10 10:26 a.m.: Some commenters appear to be missing the point. Balko’s major and inexcusable omission is that the guy admits he drove after the confrontation with the cop. So if the guy was drunk, it does potentially give the cops the right to break into his home. In most jurisdictions where DUI is a jailable offense, courts have allowed cops to break into homes without a warrant to preserve blood alcohol evidence. (It’s different if DUI is not a jailable offense, as in Wisconsin.)

How can Balko possibly justify making this about whether the cops had the right to break into the guy’s home . . . yet conceal the ONE FACT that arguably DID give them that right?

Conan to Get $30 Million

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:13 pm

NBC is planning to pay Conan O’Brien $30 million not to do the Tonight Show.

I’ll do it for $25 million.

Haitians in the U.S. Get a Time-Out

Filed under: Government,International,Obama — DRJ @ 7:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today that any Haitian in the U.S. before January 13, 2010 — whether they were here legally or illegally — will be granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and allowed to stay in America for another 18 months. The Administration says there could be 200,000 illegal Haitians:

“Homeland Security said this benefit will not apply to illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. after the Jan. 12 earthquake, but it is unclear how immigration authorities will be able to differentiate pre-earthquake Haitians from post-earthquake ones.

Napolitano estimates there are between 100,000 to 200,000 Haitians living in the US illegally either because they over-stayed their legal status or entered illegally.”

I bet that’s a “conservative” estimate.

Secretary Napolitano said this was her decision and “the judgment of President Obama” and others that this is a situation “TPS was designed to cover.” Napolitano also said the new policy is a way of providing financial assistance to Haiti:

“In a way it’s sort of a timeout for Haitians in the United States who can begin to work, can get authorization to work and have some resources then to send back to Haiti themselves — which is also a form of indirect economic relief.”

From a legal standpoint, the Attorney General has the authority under Section 244(b)(1)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to grant Temporary Protected Status to aliens provided:

(B) the Attorney General finds that-

(i) there has been an earthquake, flood, drought, epidemic, or other environmental disaster in the state resulting in a substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions in the area affected,

(ii) the foreign state is unable, temporarily, to handle adequately the return to the state of aliens who are nationals of the state, and

(iii) the foreign state officially has requested designation under this subparagraph; or

(C) the Attorney General finds that there exist extraordinary and temporary conditions in the foreign state that prevent aliens who are nationals of the state from returning to the state in safety, unless the Attorney General finds that permitting the aliens to remain temporarily in the United States is contrary to the national interest of the United States.

Under Section 244(b)(2)(B), a designation of TPS cannot last longer than 18 months although it can be extended if the U.S. Attorney General determines the conditions that led to the designation still exist.

Exit questions:

  • Section 208(b)(2) lists exceptions for aliens, such as criminals, who cannot claim asylum. How does the Obama Administration effectively evaluate whether a Haitian who is in the U.S. illegally is a criminal (setting aside the fact s/he is here illegally) and/or poses a threat, and will it exclude these aliens?
  • Section 208(b)(3) apparently allows an alien’s spouse and children living outside the U.S. who are not otherwise eligible to live here to join an alien who has asylum. Will it apply in these cases?
  • Finally, under Section 244(a)(1)(B), the Secretary can issue a work permit or otherwise authorize employment for aliens who were not previously eligible to work, such as illegal aliens. The Obama Administration has authorized that here. While I sympathize with the Haitian people, how realistic is it to add 200,000 or more illegals to the workforce when there aren’t enough jobs for Americans?
  • — DRJ

    72 Hours

    Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 3:21 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Now that the White House has cut a deal that delays the tax on union (and government?) “Cadillac” health care plans, Steny Hoyer says the Democrats will have a health care deal in the next 72 hours:

    “House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said today he expects a deal within the next 72 hours.

    “I think we’re getting very close. I would certainly hope that within in the next 24, 48, 72 hours that we have a general agreement between the Senate and the House,” Hoyer said on CNBC this morning.”

    I suspect ObamaCare will make a lot of Americans sick.

    — DRJ

    Obama to Campaign for Coakley

    Filed under: Health Care,Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 3:09 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    President Obama will travel to Massachusetts this Sunday to campaign for Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley:

    “His health care bill at stake, President Barack Obama plans a weekend trip to Massachusetts to campaign for endangered Senate candidate Martha Coakley after a poll showed an edge for Republicans in the race for a seat Democrats have held for over a half-century.

    The White House said he will travel there Sunday.

    “If Scott Brown wins, it’ll kill the health bill,” Democrat Barney Frank, D-Mass., said, underscoring the stakes of Tuesday’s special election.

    Said presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs: “I don’t think Scott Brown is going to win on Tuesday.”

    This past week, Gibbs repeatedly denied Obama had any plans to go to Massachusetts, and Politico describes the last-minute decision as “a risky bet that puts Obama’s own credibility on the line on behalf of a weak candidate in hopes of averting a loss that would shatter the party’s 60-seat Senate supermajority.”

    Polls show Independent Joseph L. Kennedy, a libertarian, has 3% of the vote. Some pollsters believe a late shift in his voters to either Brown or Coakley may decide the race. The weather and voter enthusiasm could also be factors:

    “The election comes the day after the three-day Martin Luther King holiday weekend. Snow is also forecast for Monday, and many locals often head south for warmer weather or north to go skiing during the shortened work week.

    Brown supporters, meanwhile, are mimicking Republicans and independents who shaped recent GOP victories in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races. They are showing a high degree of enthusiasm for their candidate, a relative unknown who has never run statewide, while Democrats have shown little passion for Coakley although she cruised in the four-way Democratic primary with nearly 50 percent of the vote.”

    Unfortunately for Coakley, she hasn’t helped her cause with last minute gaffes such as a negative ad using an image of the World Trade Center while talking about greed, and her questionable position regarding ER workers who have religious objections to abortion: “You can have religious freedom, but you probably shouldn’t work in an emergency room.”

    — DRJ

    UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Meanwhile, there is still more positive news on the poll front. Brown’s internal poll shows him up by 11 points. Perhaps even sweeter, Coakley’s internal poll shows Brown up by 3. (All links via Hot Air.)

    This might really happen.

    Poll: Brown Up by 15 Points

    Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:30 am

    No need to rub your eyes; you read that right.

    Via Ace we learn that a Pajamas Media/CrossTarget poll has Scott Brown up by 15 points in Massachusetts (or, if you prefer, Massachusettes).

    15.4%, to be precise.

    No, this isn’t an online poll conducted by Pajamas Media of its readers. It’s a real survey conducted by a real survey research firm.

    Holy bajolies.

    We learned last night that another poll had Brown up by 4 points. Ace is optimistic. He admits that the new poll is an outlier — but thinks 15 is closer to right. I can’t wait to see how Allahpundit, the eternal pessimist, reacts to this Pajamas Media poll. My prediction: a .5 on the AP pessimism meter.

    Which is pretty damn good.

    MORE: Byron York: “a growing sense of gloom is setting in among Democrats.”

    David Frum gloats: “The Scott Brown who may rescue the country from Obamacare is not a talk radio conservative.”

    UPDATE: Allah tells me on Twitter that his pessimism meter is “unchanged” as he believes the poll is not accurate.

    His pessimism knows no bounds. I think he fears disappointment. Me, I agree that the 15-point margin is unlikely — but I think this poll corroborates the more realistic poll from yesterday.

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