Thursday, May 24, 2007

Point of Law

The other day Rhymes With Right had a small piece explaining how the anti Bush crowd was in a huff because “Dubya” was driving around on his private ranch without wearing a seatbelt. Can you believe the nerve of that guy; and in a time when “click it or ticket” is more important than “show me your green card”. Well, “Dah”, the State law only covers driving on a Public Street. I’d link to it but it was a fairly insignificant article; go look it up if that floats your boat.

The Houston Chronicle had something similar this morning, one of those slam dunk laughs to get the day started (linked via title bar). It would seem that up in Arkansas they might have a trouble distinguishing between public and private property too; kind of like the way the Supreme Court ruled on property rights in the Kelo decision now that I think of it. I’m getting off track; back to the original story, the one that was supposed to make me laugh.

A man was arrested for DUI when he was found passed out at the wheel in the drive through lane of a McDonald’s restaurant. Last time I looked the drive through lane at McDonald’s wasn’t a public street either. They could arrest the guy for being drunk in public; but unless they have a witness that can testify that they saw him driving on a public street they have no case, point of law. Not being from up that way or knowing the specifics of Arkansas law maybe I should stick to opinions on Texas laws.

In this day and age I suppose that we could pick a jury composed of “diviners of truth” to get a conviction; use the all encompassing “We feel” he must have been on a public street at one time approach. “We feel” works fine for some folks when showing compassion for the masses; it doesn’t work so well when trying to prove something with established facts. Why do elected Senators and Representatives not know this principle? Dadgummit; I’m wandering off topic again, back to the DUI story.

Logic tells us that the vehicle must have been driven on the public street, at one time or another; but was he drunk while operating the motor vehicle on that street or did he get drunk after he left the public street and was sitting there in the drive through lane waiting for his burger and fries? What about the possibility that some other guy was driving, the one who got out after they arrived at McDonalds and left the drunk fellow to take his place behind the wheel; did anyone see where that other guy went? Little details that might create a “shadow of a doubt” make this particular case look like a piece of Swiss Cheese with all the holes it has in it.

I have a better idea; drop the DUI charge, even though he had two prior convictions for DUI; catch him on a public road next time and have a real case. Get a couple of handbooks containing the basic elements necessary to prove a case in court and give one to the arresting officer and another to the assistant DA who took the charges to begin with. Yea, this makes for a good laugh while eating my oatmeal in the morning; just doesn’t sit well upon digestion.

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