| Read Time: < 1 minute | blog

Happy Fourth of July?

As we celebrate this symbolic day in the land of the free, pay no attention to fact that the Raleigh Police set up a DWI checkpoint on Saturday night in which every single driver was stopped and interrogated by the long arm of your local government without suspicion of any wrongdoing. Twelve people were arrested for DWIs, despite, presumably,...

Continue Reading

| Read Time: < 1 minute | blog

Colorado Judge: Breath Test Results Tainted by Widespread Fraud

A Colorado judge issued an order barring the use of breath test evidence in cases originating from July 2015 to the present, following a hearing requested by defense attorney Danny Luneau on behalf of a client.  Luneau established at the hearing that the calibration records of breath test instruments in the county had been falsified by state employees seeking...

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | blog

State v. Scaturro: Leaving the scene of an accident intentionally is not necessarily a crime

The NC Court of Appeals issued an opinion in State v. Scaturro (PDF) on Tuesday that clarified an important point relating to the obligations of an individual involved in a car crash pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 20-166.  Scaturro was a case in which the defendant struck a boy on a bicycle with his vehicle, after the boy made a change of...

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 5 minutes | blog

North Carolina Criminal District Court: A “Court of No Record”

I was a public defender in DC for a number of years before my family and I moved to North Carolina and I began practicing criminal law here in NC.  I was tuned into what I believed were real, systemic problems in the criminal justice system in DC during my time there.  Wildly disproportionate prosecution of minorities, judges with...

Continue Reading

| Read Time: < 1 minute | blog

Sitting in judgment of DUIs one day, on trial the next

A judge in Fairfax County, VA was arrested on a DUI charge and subsequently removed from presiding over DUI cases in the county. The scale of the hypocrisy that infects our entire judicial system is difficult to fathom until you see it up close, and realize that prosecutors routinely commit crimes for which they prosecute others (examples from 2017 alone:...

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 3 minutes | blog

How reliable is the Intox EC/IR II Breathalyzer? Part II.

In Part I of this series, I looked at the inherent inaccuracies of the Intox EC/IR II Breathalyzer instrument even as it attempts to measure the alcohol concentration of a known control sample produced in a lab (TL;DR: it tolerates an inaccuracy range of at least .02, which is deeply problematic when that number is relied upon in threshold cases...

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 3 minutes | blog

How reliable is the Intox EC/IR II Breathalyzer? Part I.

Over 50,000 people in North Carolina were charged with Driving While Impaired (DWI) or a related offense in the fiscal year 2015/2016.  Many of them were charged (and most later convicted) based largely on a reading from the Intox EC/IR II breathalyzer instrument manufactured by Intoximeters, Inc.  In many of those cases, the BAC reading registered at or near...

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 3 minutes | blog

Retrograde Extrapolation Inadmissible in DWI Case Without “Fit” to Facts

The North Carolina Court of Appeals today in State v. Babich (PDF) ruled that the admission of expert testimony on “retrograde extrapolation” in a DWI case was error, because the State offered no evidence that the defendant in that case was in a “post-absorptive” state that might render a retrograde extrapolation calculation relevant.  In Babich, the expert merely assumed that...

Continue Reading

| Read Time: < 1 minute | blog

No More Checkpoints in Durham!

Just four days after my blog post lamenting the use of presumptively unconstitutional roadblocks in Durham, Police Chief C.J. Davis announced that this intrusive and offensive tactic will no longer be used by the Durham police. According to Chief Davis, effective immediately as of March 5, 2017, “checkpoints in the city of Durham have been directed to cease and...

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | blog

DWI Checkpoints in Durham: The Long Arm of the Police State Right Here at Home

Law enforcement agencies in Durham County periodically set up “DWI Checking Stations,” at which every driver is stopped, detained, and investigated without suspicion of any crime.  Sound unconstitutional? Sound like an excerpt from a dystopian novel? Well, the United States Supreme Court of the United States held in City of Indianapolis v. Edmond (2000) that DUI/DWI checkpoints are presumptively unconstitutional.  The...

Continue Reading