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Posts Tagged ‘Police’

DUI Checkpoints, A Potential Gold Mine For Cash Strapped Local Governments?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

DUI checkpoints are a direct method of clearing our roads of drunken drivers, but they are also providing a much needed unintended source of cash for local governments.  Pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 14602.6 Police Officers may on the spot seize cars driven by unlicensed motorists, and subject them to a 30 day impoundment.  Interestingly, more cars were seized from unlicensed California drivers in 2009 at DUI checkpoints, than suspected drunken drivers that were arrested.

An Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California Berkeley recently reported that California DUI check points generated an estimated $40 million in towing costs and administrative fees from seizing cars from unlicensed drivers in 2009, money that was shared by local governments and towing firms.

The law provides that responsibility for paying storage, towing and administrative charges is the responsibility of all registered owners of the cars that are seized as the result of having been driven by unlicensed drivers.  The administrative charges assessed by local governments significantly run up the bill.  And, all Cities, Counties, and the State, are all entitled to access these fees pursuant to California Vehicle Code section 22850.5.

Currently sobriety checkpoints that the California Highway Patrol operates do not result in administrative fees being accessed on seized vehicles that are driven by unlicensed drivers, but it appears only to be a matter of time before the State of California gets on board, and edges in on the extra income generating scheme.

If you have questions regarding California DUI sobriety check points, or should you or a loved have had the misfortune of a DUI arrest, protect yourself to the fullest extent possible, call San Jose DUI Lawyer Bernard P. Bray.

Will the Sun Shine Again in San Jose?

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

On Tuesday night October 20, 2009, the San Jose City Council will address a recommendation by the Sunshine Reform Task Force, to release more police records, and increase reporting of police statistics.

Certainly not many would disagree that openness builds trust.  Recent San Jose controversies (all discussed previously in this blog) stemming from San Jose City Hall resistance to information sharing in the Daniel Pham shooting by San Jose Police case, last year’s DUI alleged injury accident case involving former San Jose police officer Sandra Woodall, and last summer’s scandal concerning alleged bad faith public drunkenness arrests in downtown San Jose, to mention but a few, all support the San Jose City Council supporting the Sunshine Reform Task Force recommendations.

Will the sun shine again in San Jose?

If you or someone you know has questions regarding criminal justice issues please contact the San Jose DUI Lawyers at the Law Offices of Bernard P. Bray.

Terminated SJPD Officers: Political Sacrificial Lambs or Cover Up Failures?

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

In March of 2008 District Attorney Investigator/former San Jose Police Officer Sandra Woodall was involved in a traffic collision that resulted in an injury. Highly regarded, and well liked, responding San Jose Police Officers Sergeant Will Manion and Officer Patrick D’Arrigo are reported to have failed to conduct a DUI investigation notwithstanding evidence of possible DUI, and to have filed police reports indicating that there was no evidence of drinking impaired driving involved with the accident.

A responding emergency medical technician latter claimed that Woodall appeared disoriented, smelled of alcohol, and admitted to drinking. The mother of the young woman injured in the accident asked the officers at the hospital to test Woodall for alcohol, and later filed a complaint when tests were not performed. Woodall was ultimately charged with DUI, and pleaded guilty to same.

Sergeant Manion and Officer D’Arrigo were both terminated from the San Jose Police Department by Chief Rob Davis who has recently been through a tumultuous run politically with widespread community discussion about discriminatory arrests, police pension costs, police substation cost overruns, sunshine law issues relating to the public’s access to police records, POA issues, to name but a few.

Was Woodall afforded special treatment because of her connection with Law Enforcement? Were the Sergeant and Officer treated overly harshly, after all a grand jury concluded that the two were not guilty of any criminal conduct? Should emergency medical technicians and citizens be second guessing more qualified police officers when it comes to crime investigation?

The most important issue of all, as far as this writer is concerned, is whether the terminated officers filed false reports with a view toward covering up a possible crime to protect a fellow law enforcement officer. Police reports are relied on by citizens, probation officers, prosecutors, judges, attorneys, insurance companies, and the laundry list goes on and on. Police reports are afforded deference to an extent that there are looked upon in many quarters as the gospel truth. The need for unqualified fidelity and good faith in the preparation of police reports is an unquestioned absolute. Police officer false reporting is a felony offense in the state of California pursuant to California Penal Code section 118.1. However, as above noted, a grand jury exonerated the Officers of any criminal conduct.

While this matter involved city employee personnel issues, the City of San Jose needs to fully address the above issues. Were the Sergeant and Officer made to be political scapegoats to revive a Police Chief’s sagging political reputation, or was there really a double standard, and bad faith exercise of discretion on the Officer’s part, in the investigation and follow up to the March 2008 traffic accident with a view toward covering up a possible crime to protect a fellow law enforcement officer?

If you have questions regarding criminal justice issues contact San Jose Criminal Lawyer Bernard P. Bray.

Should one Talk to the Police if one is Arrested by the Police, or Contacted by the Police as a Person of Interest?

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

One of the most powerful weapons in a prosecutor’s arsenal is an incriminatory statement by an accused. Oftentimes one newly arrested, or under police investigation, will make an incriminating statement in the hope of securing one’s freedom by cooperating with the police. Police are trained to, and do, actively encourage an arrestee’s belief that his cooperation will benefit the arrestee in some way. It is NEVER appropriate to have any contact with the police, or submit yourself to a police interview, until you have fully discussed your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

This post was written by Bernard P. Bray, a San Jose criminal lawyer.

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