IN THIS ISSUE

November, 2014

  • New DUI Assessment Tool
  • Oregon Courtroom Tests a No-go
  • Parking Under the Influence in Va
  • FLA Drivers vs Red Light Cameras
  • Call for Submissions!
  • NCSC Traffic Resource Center

Editor: Jarret W. Hann

FREE Webinar on New DUI Assessment Tool

The National Center for DWI Courts in conjunction with the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is offering a webinar titled: Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS): Revolutionizing DUI Assessment and will be held on Monday, December 15 at 2:00 PM EST. (REGISTER HERE) This webinar is designed for a criminal justice audience that is interested in exploring ways to better assess the DUI offender population. Registrants will learn about the development of this cost-effective assessment tool that allows a non-trained clinician, criminal justice practitioner, or program administrator to perform a diagnostic evaluation to inform integrated planning, case management, and treatment decisions. The webinar will hosted by Dr. Sarah E. Nelson, Associate Director for Research at the Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Oregon Appellate Court says "NO" to Courtroom DUI Test

There is nothing surprising about a motorist pulled to the side of the road being told he has no right to refuse testing when suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Oregon's Court of Appeals considered a rather unique twist on this scenario last week as a driver was told she had absolutely no right to refuse a DUI test in front of a jury in a courtroom. Christine Ann McCrary had been stopped for allegedly running a red light just before pulling into a grocery store parking lot. Officer Powell drove up, confronted her and ordered her to perform the standard field sobriety tests. This included the horizontal gaze nystagmus test in which a pen is held about a foot away and McCrary was asked to track its movement without turning her head. Her performance was inadequate, so she was arrested. A breathalyzer estimated her blood alcohol content at 0.12, well above the 0.08 legal maximum. At trial, McCrary challenged the validity of the field testing. Officer Powell admitted that some people react to the nystagmus, or involuntary eye movement, test while they are completely sober. Powell said he tested McCrary to see if she had any natural eye movement by watching her eyes at rest, but did not record any observations in his notes. So prosecutors asked the officer to test McCrary in the courtroom during the trial. McCrary's lawyer immediately objected, but Yamhill County Circuit Court Judge John L. Collins overruled and said the defendant had no choice.

Parking in a Private Driveway While Intoxicated: Sarafin v. Virginia

Police found Charlottesville, VA resident Justin Sarafin passed out in the front seat of his vehicle in a private driveway after investigating a noise complaint late at night. The car radio was on and the key was in the auxiliary power position. Sarafin awoke when the officer tapped on the window using the end of his flashlight. Sarafin was clearly intoxicated; he exhibited glassy, bloodshot eyes, smelled strongly of alcohol, and failed multiple sobriety tests. He admitted to drinking. In the end, a majority of the court holds that the defendant was guilty of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, regardless of the fact that it occurred on his own private property.

Florida Class-Action Seeks $5mil For Drivers Ticketed by Red Light Cameras

A Miami law firm is taking action against red light camera tickets. Attorneys from Estrella Ticket Defense announced Thursday their plan to file a class action lawsuit against American Traffic Solutions, the Arizona-based company that manages the camera programs in Florida. The lawsuit is asking the company to reimburse every driver who's paid a red light camera fine in the past four years. "Back in Sweetwater about a year ago, on 107th and Flagler, I tried to contest it and they said, 'No,' that there was no recourse other than paying the almost $300 in fines," said Desi Hernandez.

Call for Article Submissions!!!

Trends in State Courts is an annual, peer-reviewed publication that highlights innovative practices in critical areas that are of interest to courts, and often serves as a guide for developing new initiatives and programs, and informing and supporting policy decisions. Trends is the only publication of its kind and enjoys a wide circulation among the state court community. It is distributed in hard copy and electronically. Submission for the monthly online version of Trends are welcomed. Please email abstracts of no more than 500 words to Deborah Smith at dsmith@ncsc.org for consideration. Visit the Trends in State Courts website at www.ncsc.org/trends 

NCSC Traffic Resource Center

The Traffic Resource Center is a cooperative effort between the Department of Transportation and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to establish a resource for judges, court administrators, court clerks, and other court staff on issues related to traffic adjudication. It is an integrated clearinghouse of information as well as a training and technical assistance resource to improve court decision-making and processing of traffic cases involving impaired driving, drugged driving, distracted driving, and commercial driving. The purpose of the Traffic Resource Center website is to provide a useful, ready reference for judges new to the bench or recently assigned to traffic cases, who may need quick access to accurate and timely information until they can receive more formal, structured education.

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