Man Arrested for Possession Surprised to Find State Didn’t Legalize Marijuana

Ignorance of the law — and election news — wasn’t a valid excuse for an aging Arizona toker arrested this week in Golden Valley.

After allegedly resisting arrest, Lon Victor Post, 54, told deputies early Wednesday morning that he thought the state had legalized marijuana, according to the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies took him to jail anyway.

Possession of any amount of marijuana remains a felony in Arizona after voters rejected Prop 205 in November by a ratio of about 52 percent to 48 percent. Perhaps Post was confused by the fact that roughly 100 miles to the west and north of him, thanks to successful legalization elections in California and Nevada, adults 21 and older now have the freedom to use marijuana without legal penalty. Maine and Massachusetts also legalized weed for all adults, making Arizona the only one of five states that turned down the opportunity.

The deputies noticed he was having trouble standing upright as he turned down the music and chatted with them. They also noticed a baggie of pot sticking out of his shirt pocket and soon determined that he wasn’t one of the roughly 100,000 Arizonans registered under the state’s medical-marijuana program. But Post, apparently thinking he was being hassled unfairly, “jerked away” as the deputies tried to take him into custody, Carter writes.

Post pulled away a second time, seemed to square up for a fight, and took a menacing step forward. Deputies hit him with a Taser blast, which calmed him down. He then asked why he was being arrested.

“Further conversations with Post, he said that he thought marijuana was legal,” Carter writes. “The deputy advised Post that marijuana is illegal without a prescription and medical-marijuana card.”

That last part isn’t quite right: Qualified patients need to obtain a recommendation, not a federally regulated prescription, in order to register for a card.

Deputies booked him on suspicion of resisting arrest, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia — all felonies.

Had Post been savvier, he could have obtained a card easily and possibly avoided the possession and paraphernalia charges.

But even under the voter-approved 2010 medical-marijuana law, smoking in public remains illegal.

Source

Uber Effect: Rideshare services may cut DWI arrests in Springfield

Adam was recently interviewed by Emily Wood in in a story for KY3 News about the the impact of services such as Uber and Lyft on the number of DWI arrests in Springfield. Read the story below, or click here to watch the article on ky3.com.

 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – On graduation night for Missouri State University, downtown bars were packed, and Uber drivers were busy.

“In the beginning of the night, I was taking people to bars, so now I’m going back downtown to pick them up and take them home,” said Neyko Dominguez, an Uber driver.

When the rideshare company first launched in Springfield in November, police officers were hoping it would make their nights a little easier and the streets a lot safer. In recent months, drunken driving arrests have started trending downward.

“Realistically my thought was, ‘What took so long?'” said Adam Woody, a criminal defense attorney in Springfield.

Woody noticed a quick and sharp decline.

“Interestingly, a lot of times, clients, as an excuse for how they got the DWI, they would say they were waiting for a taxi for hours and just couldn’t get one downtown. It’s slow,” Woody said.

With rideshare services like Uber, no matter what time of day or night, you just have to tap on the rideshare app, and it pops up the drivers closest to you as well as their reviews.

“It takes literally no time to get an Uber: 10 minutes max,” said Gabby Heth.

So far the numbers show a downward trend. Drunken driving arrests for January 2016 were 64 compared to just 38 for January 2017. February went from 66 down to 48, year-to-year, and March went from 70 to 52, year-to-year.

“We still make a number of DWI arrests,” said Springfield Police Lt. Stacey Parton.

Parton said the department doesn’t have enough data yet to attribute that shift to rideshare services but sees it as a positive factor.

“That’s one less person that is out there that’s going to get involved in a crash, possibly injure or kill somebody because of driving impaired,” Parton said.

Dominguez drives for the extra cash and said the bulk of his business comes at closing time.

“I’ve met some different kind of people. Truthful, drunk people,” he said.

The hope is the ease of using the apps, like Uber and Lyft, may help save lives.

“It’s a great opportunity, and I don’t see why people would pass it up,” Heth said.

Numbers around the country are mixed. Other recent studies, including one from Oxford and the University of Southern California, have shown ridesharing had no effect on drinking-related or holiday- and weekend-related fatalities in other places.

Posted in DWI

Judge Halts Lifetime Monitoring for Certain Sex Offenders

Just last week we published a post about a new law being enforced which would require certain sex offenders to be supervised and wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet, both for the rest of their lives.  We questioned the Constitutionality of such a bill as the legislature attempted to include offenders who plead guilty to their charges all the way back in 2007, through today.  On Monday, a Circuit Judge in Cole County issued a temporary injunction, stopping the enforcement of the bill statewide and ordering hundreds of ankle monitors that had been installed last month to be immediately removed.  That injunction is likely to be made permanent at the next hearing in July.  Local ABC affiliate KSPR did a story following up on the Court’s order featuring Springfield criminal defense attorney Adam Woody.  Although theses offenders are not going to get a lot of sympathy from the general public, Constitutional over-reach by our legislature, no matter the target population, is something that we should constantly monitor.  Here, the right decision has been made, at least temporarily.

Will Uber Cut Down on DWI’s in Springfield?

According to a recent Springfield News-Leader article, DWI arrests in Springfield have gone down since Uber became operational in Springfield 4 months ago. See the News-Leader article below.

636301993668365477-0513SNLDWIs-Web

(Photo: News-Leader Illustration)

When Missouri lawmakers passed a bill this session making it easier for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to operate in the state, they lauded the bill’s potential to reduce drunken driving.

They could have used Springfield as an example.

Since the City Council tweaked the rules to help bring Uber to Springfield in November, the number of DWI arrests in the city has gone down. But there’s some debate about how much credit to give the new companies, which allow customers to hail rides from nearby drivers using an application on their smartphones.

An Uber spokeswoman said the company’s drivers do most of their pickups on the weekends in downtown Springfield, where people might otherwise choose to drink and drive.

Lt. Stacey Parton, in the Springfield Police Department’s traffic unit, said he has the Uber application on his phone and he sees its potential for reducing drunken driving, but he needs more data to truly understand Uber’s impact.

“I will say that Uber has had an effect,” Parton said. “Statistically, I am not sure that we can quantify it right now, but it has had a good effect.”

Uber launched in Springfield in November
Uber launched in Springfield in November (Photo: David Ramos, Getty Images)
From December to March — the first four full months that Uber has been operational in Springfield — there was an average of 47 DWI arrests per month in Springfield.

That’s down from an average of 55 DWI arrests per month in 2016, and way down from the five-year average of 76 DWI arrests per month in the city.

But DWI arrests had been trending down in Springfield prior to Uber’s arrival in November and Lyft launching in January.

Parton said there are other factors to consider when looking at DWI numbers.

In late 2014, Greene County instituted a policy allowing police to draw blood from suspected drunken drivers who refuse a breathalyzer test. Parton said he believes that policy is working as a deterrent.

“Word has gotten around,” Parton said. “And I think it has caused people to think more about drinking and driving.”

Parton also pointed to ongoing public awareness campaigns, more housing downtown and the dissolution of SPD’s dedicated DWI unit as factors that might be leading to fewer DWI arrests.

Academic studies have drawn varying conclusions about the impact of ride-hailing companies on drunken driving.

A 2016 study from the American Journal of Epidemiology found that Uber did not have a noticeable impact on drunken-driving fatalities in the nation’s 100 most populated metropolitan areas. But Uber points to a 2015 Temple University study that found a drop in alcohol-related driving fatalities after Uber was introduced in California.

On its website, Uber also touts a 10 percent drop in DWI arrests that followed Uber’s launch in Seattle.

 

Click Here for the Full Article