Off-Topic Column – Commentary on the Controversies of the Week

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drunk_college_kid.jpgThis has been, in a lot of ways, an extraordinary week with so much big news that we have not had a chance to do our normal pattern of analysis and commentary.  So this week’s off-topic column will look at four three (Davis Diamonds became substantial enough that I created its own column for it) of the bigger stories this week.

Water Advisory Committee Meetings Televised

This was an issue that the Vanguard pursued last week, in part out of concerns that we might not be able to attend and cover the meetings on a regular basis and in part out of the belief that on such an important issue, with the WAC playing a vital role in the process, we just need full transparency.

We brought this to the city council on Tuesday night.  They put it on the agenda for February 7.  It was also placed on the WAC’s agenda for Thursday night.

One way or another, this was going to happen.  There was strong support on the council for televising the meetings and it was really only a matter of logistics.  Still, I think the way it happened on Thursday night is better because the WAC itself had the discussion and decided to do this.

I think Steve Boschken summed it up perfectly: “Transparency trumps everything else.  We all just saw Ernie Head get up and leave this meeting because he couldn’t hear us.  That wouldn’t happen if we meet in Council Chambers.”

Elaine Roberts Musser, the chair of this committee, noted that there are still valid concerns, “Some folks are camera shy/leery of being demonized/having their words twisted to say something that was never meant, so may feel inhibited in their conversation. To televise the meetings could get in the way of free and fair debate on the issues.”

But she added, “However, Steve Boschken made a very important point as well – even though some may be camera shy, at this point public transparency may trump all other considerations.”

The best way to counter potential mistrust on the part of the public is for people to watch the meetings.  I was one of those who jumped on council, fearing that they had created a rubber stamp committee.  Based on the reports I have gotten, those fears are not being realized.  The more the public sees this process, the more they will tend to trust it.

Ms. Musser added, “I urged all WAC committee members to pull together, recognize that uninhibited discussion is crucial to our mission, ignore the cameras, and do what we have been charged to accomplish.”

“My sincerest hope is that televising the meetings does not cause any member hesitation in speaking up and voicing concerns, probing questions, frank comments or respectful disagreement with what is being said by staff or committee members,” she added.  “It must be recognized by the public that televising meetings do come with advantages and disadvantages.”

Absolutely.  However, a public distrust for this process will go much further to undermine it than, I think, fear of speaking out.

The UC Davis Student Liaison Commission Opposes Minor Alcohol Preclusion Act

When Picnic Day was being threatened following serious problems at the 2010 event, the students stepped up and worked with city leaders and law enforcement to create better ways to do things.  All sides felt that partnership worked, and despite the tragedy at last year’s Picnic Day, problems were way down from the previous year.

The good relations fostered were undermined by the way in which the issue of minor alcohol preclusion was rolled out.

The ordinance seeks to close a loophole that says that it is illegal for a minor to be given alcohol, to drink alcohol, and to possess alcohol but there is nothing in the law that says it is illegal to be in public after consuming alcohol.

“It helps us in our equal application of the law and it closes a loophole that seems to be in existence between current city ordinances and state laws,” Chief Landy Black told the council.

“Right now it is illegal for someone to provide alcohol to a minor and it is illegal for someone to have alcohol in his possession in a public place,” he continued.  “However, there is no reasonable or appropriate way for the police department to deal with a minor who has alcohol in their system in a public place.  It’s that alcohol in their system in a public place which complicates the issue of public safety in our communities and it has contributed to the nuisance things that have plagued our neighborhoods, especially those closer to the downtown area and the campus areas.”

At the early January council meeting where the community, the council and some students learned of this measure for the first time, Student Body President Adam Thongsavat was angered.

Mr. Thongsavat requested that the council allow the Commission, as the body representing student interests, thoroughly to review this matter before they approve it.

“Unfortunately, I have only seen this in the last 24 hours, the actual content of it,” he told the council during public comment.  “I have some serious reservations on the enforcement policies, how that’s going to be done.”

He raised the concerns that this could be used for profiling.

“If I am a young person who is walking on Russell Blvd. on Thursday or Saturday nights, for no probable reason under this ordinance, the police are able to ask me if I would like to be tested [to see] if I am under [the influence of] the consumption of alcohol,” he said.

On Thursday the students continued to have apprehensions about it and while they vowed to work with the police and city leadership, they currently oppose this plan.

There is a huge and growing gap in this community between residents concerned with alcohol-related nuisance and students who are concerned that the police will use this opportunity to profile and harass.

I understand the perspective of the neighbors concerned with noise and nuisance and the police concerned with the loophole in the law, but I am also concerned that this will be used not as a tool for police to abate underaged drinking – because frankly, it won’t.

I am concerned that this will be another tool that will enable the police to stop young people because they are young and out on the streets late.  I am concerned that this might lead to higher risk behavior that engenders less exposure.

Captain Darren Pytel himself suggested that it may not have a huge impact on drinking, because he pointed out that they do not use other tools that they have very frequently and these other tools have not stopped underaged drinking.

I think the best thing to come of this was to get the discussion moving – but a solution for the problems of drinking (and really, is it underaged drinking that is the cause of these nuisance problems, or drinking itself by young people who then get out of hand?) is to start a discussion between the stakeholders and see what ideas they come up with.

UCD Police Not Cooperating With Investigation

We learned this week that the report from the task force regarding the UCD pepper-spraing incident will be delayed at least until February 21.

Mr. Reynoso indicates the changes result “primarily from our negotiations with the Federated University Police Officer’s Association (FUPOA) for access to non subject officers.”

“The timing of the release of the Task Force report is dependent on the fact-finding report from Kroll,” the former Justice continued. “The Task Force feels it is imperative to have the most complete view possible of the events that took place last November. This includes interviews from subject and non subject officers as well as students and faculty.”

Cruz Reynoso’s letter indicates that, while Kroll has conducted a number of interviews with students and faculty, they have “not had access to subject and non subject officers.”

He further indicated, “Through several rounds of negotiation the General Counsel’s office has made an agreement with FUPOA for access to non subject officers. Interviews with non subject officers are taking place this week.”

In short, the police, after extensive negotiations, have allowed those officers who are not subjects of the investigation to interview with Kroll, but not those officers involved.

One of the first questions someone asked me about the UC Davis investigation into the pepper spraying was whether the investigators would have subpoena power.

Without subpoena power, the investigators would have no power to get documents off of hard drives.  When I inquired about this, the UC Davis News Service assured me that this would not be a problem.

UC Davis News Service Spokesperson Andy Fell, back in late November, assured the Vanguard that “both campus and UC will cooperate fully with them and make available to them any documents they need, subject only to legal restrictions such as those governing student records, personnel files etc.”

He continued, “As a private contractor, Kroll doesn’t actually have subpoena power. But they are going to get whatever they want. “

The bigger problem, it turns out, is that the investigators apparently have no power to compel people to come forward and speak with them.  None of this is all that surprising, but it is going to temper the ability of the Kroll Investigators, as well as Cruz Reynoso’s task force, to really get to the bottom of this.

I do not expect the District Attorney’s office’s investigation to yield anything that will come to criminal charges, and that presents a real problem in that we may never really know what happened and we might be left to subjectively deduce from not much more than we know now.

There is now a real problem with the legitimacy of the independent investigation.

We asked Claudia Morain about this situation and she referred us to the University of California Office of the President and told us to talk to Peter King, who has neither responded to emails nor a phone message.

However, more importantly, we told the UC Davis News Service, “I respectfully believe the issue of lack of UC Davis police cooperation with the investigation is a question for UC Davis.”

This is not a question about the investigation, it is a question about the cooperation and lack thereof from a department within UC Davis.

Ms. Morain told me that she would get back to me.  That was on Tuesday.  Two days later I got no response and asked again, and I have not gotten a response yet.

Disappointing, but not surprising.

One thing that we do know, thanks to a Davis Enterprise article yesterday, is that following the pepper-spray incident, “The University of California has paid about $100,000 to a crisis communications consultant to assist UC Davis as the campus coped with fallout from the pepper-spraying of protesters.”

According to Claudia Morain, “Having a consultant on hand was helpful.”

“The demands on our unit were unprecedented,” she told the Enterprise. “We had global media calling us so it was valuable to have someone come in and help us try to stay on top of the media crush and get all of our other work done.”

One thing that was particularly interesting was a note about Carl Whithaus, who is the director of the University Writing Program and also among those concerned with the Kroll investigation.

He told the Enterprise, “He and others had noted a ‘distinct change in tone’ in Chancellor Linda Katehi’s letters to campus – especially since her initial message, released just after the pepper-spraying, which some have said seemed oblivious to what had happened.”

This is, of course, something that we have noted a number of times, that the explanation from Chancellor Katehi changed, and now we know perhaps a reason for the change is that the Chancellor had access to a PR firm at the cost of $375 per hour.

“I’m not surprised to hear that (UC has) hired someone to deal with crisis communications,” Mr. Whithaus told the paper. “The chancellor has been fairly explicit in meetings with faculty about being unhappy with the way her communications staff performed during the crisis.”

Very interesting, to say the least.  We shall how this develops.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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35 thoughts on “Off-Topic Column – Commentary on the Controversies of the Week”

  1. SODA

    Sounds like more $375 consultants are necessary to answer messages for info or provide spin. It just never ends does it?
    Anyone see President Yudof on Lehrer Hour last night about college tuition. I found him less than impressive.

  2. Don Shor

    My son and I watched that interview. He was terrible. I continue to be mystified as to what made him worth a million dollars a year. He is the wrong man for the job at this time.

  3. E Roberts Musser

    Mr. Thomgsavat’s comment that police could stop students for”no probable reason” is incorrect and an attempt to improperly characterize this ordinance.

    In regard to Yudof, more money paid for services is no guarantee of greater quality. I never agreed w the idea that we have to pay higher salaries to obtain higher quality talent. Frankly IMO Yusof and Katehi are proving my point…

  4. David M. Greenwald

    Elaine: The real question is what is constitutes reasonable suspicion.

    Legally it must be based on “specific and articulable facts.”

    But could not a police officer say, I observed three youths walking down the street at 11 pm at night and they were dressed as though they had come from a party and they looked to be staggering slightly as they walked.

    Now I asked this of Paul Doroshov of the Davis Police Department and he asked, why would he make it up, he has no need to do that. Paul seems like a good guy and I believe that he wouldn’t do it – at least not intentionally. But perhaps not everyone is as diligent as Mr. Doroshov?

    My point is that it doesn’t take much in this instance to be able to articulate reasonable suspicion. It simply gives the police a potential tool to target students.

    There is actually a group other than just students that should be concerned about this – it is a group that has already complained about being profiled – minority students.

  5. medwoman

    David and Elaine.

    I came across a situation that illustrates this issue this morning. While walking back through downtown from Farmers Market I came across a group of about 8 teenage appearing individuals standing on the side walk laughing, talking and just generally enjoying life. A little noisy ?
    Yes, and slightly boisterous. Absolutely, since what drew my attention to them in the first place was that one jumped up in the air and playfully
    Jostled one of his friends coming down with a brief burst of laughter from all. No one thinks anything of these youthful antics at ten in the morning. What about ten at night ? Will this kind of activity be deemed “reasonable suspicion” if a police officer arbitrarily decides they might be too rambunctious ? I would really like to see some objective criteria for ” reasonable suspicion ” and some kind of projection of relative cost in terms of officer time and other cost benefit analysis before moving forward with this. If the police feel it is truly worth doing, then surely it is worth putting forth some specifics or evidence that it has worked in other communities as opposed to just because “we think it will help.

  6. E Roberts Musser

    What constitutes articuable suspicion/probable cause has been fleshed out by case law. Furthermore students and police could work together to come up w homegrown standards for the community that both sides can agree on. Let’s face it, students want unfettered freedom to indulge in underage drinking and continue destructive patterns in our neighborhoods…

  7. David M. Greenwald

    “Let’s face it, students want unfettered freedom to indulge in underage drinking and continue destructive patterns in our neighborhoods…”

    That’s a fascinating comment that ignores something very interesting – none of the students involved in the discussion on Thursday were likely to be under 21 as they were primarily junior, seniors, fifth year students. So I think you need to re-think your theory.

  8. medwoman

    “Let’s face it, students want unfettered freedom to indulge in underage drinking and continue destructive patterns in our neighborhoods…”

    I suppose that may be true of a few students. I doubt it represents a majority position, and it will be all of the students, not just the few that you are characterizing here that would be affected. If you think I am wrong, I would be interested to see your evidence, other than just your personal annoyance with those in your neighborhood.

  9. Superfluous Man

    Medwoman,

    “No one thinks anything of these youthful antics at ten in the morning. What about ten at night ? Will this kind of activity be deemed ‘reasonable suspicion’ if a police officer arbitrarily decides they might be too rambunctious ?”

    A police officer may contact a person on the street absent of “reasonable suspicion.” For them to detain someone, they would need “reasonable suspicion.” Nothing, legally, prohibits officers from pulling over and making contact with a person, even if they’re hoping to objectively determine whether or not there’s “reasonable suspicion” to detain the person. In other words, they can “arbitrarily” or discriminately contact anyone as long as the contact doesn’t rise to the level of detention absent of “reasonable suspicion.”

    “I would really like to see some objective criteria for ‘ reasonable suspicion ‘ and some kind of projection of relative cost in terms of officer time and other cost benefit analysis before moving forward with this.”

    There’s plenty of information available re: “reasonable suspicion” criteria.

  10. Superfluous Man

    DMG,

    “That’s a fascinating comment that ignores something very interesting – none of the students involved in the discussion on Thursday were likely to be under 21 as they were primarily junior, seniors, fifth year students. So I think you need to re-think your theory.”

    But what about those whom the students represent?

  11. David M. Greenwald

    “But what about those whom the students represent?”

    But that’s the point, the motivation here is not that they want to be able to drink underage it’s a right’s based argument and a perception that they would be harassed that is really driving this.

  12. medwoman

    Superfluous


    A police officer may contact a person on the street absent of “reasonable suspicion.” For them to detain someone, they would need “reasonable suspicion.” Nothing, legally, prohibits officers from pulling over and making contact with a person, even if they’re hoping to objectively determine whether or not there’s “reasonable suspicion” to detain the person. In other words, they can “arbitrarily” or discriminately contact anyone as long as the contact doesn’t rise to the level of detention absent of “reasonable suspicion.”

    Maybe I am missing something here, but I perceive this as a reason against, not for this new ability to ask the student to voluntarily take a breathalyzer test. As you have just said, they can already make contact without reasonable suspicion, and detain if there is reasonable suspicion,so what again does this additional ability to ask if the kid wants to do a breathalyzer test get the police that they do not already have ?
    Except perhaps the intimidation factor. If the suspect is truly impaired, I am sure an experienced officer will be able to ascertain that. If they are not impaired, then I think we would be better off not “criminalizing” the individual for activity that is not placing them or anyone else at risk.
    I think the key here is impairment. Of course we want to ensure the safety of both the individual and all others. I just don’t see how this adds to the already available “tools” available to the police in a credible and effective manner.
    perhaps we would be better off not creating a “criminal” for

  13. Superfluous Man

    DMG,

    “But that’s the point, the motivation here is not that they want to be able to drink underage it’s a right’s based argument and a perception that they would be harassed that is really driving this.”

    Okay, it seemed like ERM was suggesting (I’m paraphrasing) “they just want to drink underage” then you responded to her with “but the people involved in the discussion are most likely over 21, so rethink that argument” which is not irrelevant. However, they are representing a large body, which of course includes many under 21. Are any of these students elected by the student body?

    I get that the students feel that this could result in increased harassment, but what’s stopping officers from “harassing” or contacting them on the street as it is? Officers have the discretion to do so, whether or not it’s a good use of their resources on the other hand…

    Medwoman,

    “I just don’t see how this adds to the already available ‘tools’ available to the police in a credible”

    I admit, I have not followed this story closely. I feel like I’m missing something too, as it’s my understanding that there’s nothing prohibiting the officers from requesting that the person consent to a breathalyzer.

  14. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]That’s a fascinating comment that ignores something very interesting – none of the students involved in the discussion on Thursday were likely to be under 21 as they were primarily junior, seniors, fifth year students. So I think you need to re-think your theory.[/quote]

    No I don’t need to rethink anything here. Students party; those who attend parties generally range in age anywhere from 18 to 22. If 21 year old guys are drinking, they don’t want their 19 year old girlfriends not to be able to imbibe, now do they? College students like Thongsavat would much prefer underage student friends to be able to drink unfettered…

    Go past any male student apartment no matter the age – invariably it is “decorated” with wall to wall liquor bottles – literally…

  15. David M. Greenwald

    That’s huge stretch now that I’ve called you on your initial argument. You’re the one who argues that people can’t read others mind and why not take people’s arguments at face value. I think that’s good advice here.

  16. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]medwoman: “I just don’t see how this adds to the already available ‘tools’ available to the police in a credible”

    SM: I admit, I have not followed this story closely. I feel like I’m missing something too, as it’s my understanding that there’s nothing prohibiting the officers from requesting that the person consent to a breathalyzer. [/quote]

    Here is what I get out of it. Underage student toddles down the street drunk as a skunk, barely able to stand up but nevertheless weaving along. If the police stop this kid, currently he cannot be arrested for underage drinking if he doesn’t have evidence on him such as an empty bottle of liquor. In fact I would argue the police can only ask him if he would like to talk to them. The student can keep walking and not talk to the police if s/he so chooses. Then 100 yards down the sidewalk, that same drunk student can step out into the street in front of a car and get killed; or go to the next party and imbibe enough to become alcohol poisoned; or an infinite number of other scenarios.

    With the new ordinance, the police would have probable cause to STOP this student if s/he appeared 1) underage; 2) drunk. The student could then be asked to take a breathalyzer test on the spot. The chances are the student is so drunk he will agree, can be arrested for underage drinking, and taken off the street before he hurts himself.

    Anyone can jump in and correct me if they think I have how the ordinance work incorrect…

  17. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]647(f) Who is found in any public place under the influence of
    intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any
    combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, controlled substance,
    or toluene, in a condition that he or she is unable to exercise care
    for his or her own safety or the safety of others, or by reason of
    his or her being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any
    drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any
    intoxicating liquor, drug, or toluene, interferes with or obstructs
    or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public
    way.[/quote]

    If the student is walking on the sidewalk, not in traffic, they are not unable to care for their own safety… that is the entire point of this new ordinance!

  18. Superfluous Man

    ERM,

    “Here is what I get out of it. Underage student toddles down the street drunk as a skunk, barely able to stand up but nevertheless weaving along. If the police stop this kid, currently he cannot be arrested for underage drinking if he doesn’t have evidence on him such as an empty bottle of liquor. In fact I would argue the police can only ask him if he would like to talk to them. The student can keep walking and not talk to the police if s/he so chooses. Then 100 yards down the sidewalk, that same drunk student can step out into the street in front of a car and get killed; or go to the next party and imbibe enough to become alcohol poisoned; or an infinite number of other scenarios.

    With the new ordinance, the police would have probable cause to STOP this student if s/he appeared 1) underage; 2) drunk. The student could then be asked to take a breathalyzer test on the spot. The chances are the student is so drunk he will agree, can be arrested for underage drinking, and taken off the street before he hurts himself.”

    If officers observe an individual in a public space exhibiting signs of inebriation, they can stop, talk to the individual and detain them if the officers determine the individual is inebriated. If someone is drunk in public, can’t officers then arrest that person, regardless of their age? At the scene, officers can ask the drunk or thought to be drunk person if they’d submit to a breathalyzer test. Even if the person refuses, the officers may detain and/or arrest the individual based on their observations. Officers may also take a drunk person into custody (detained at county jail) and not file charges for their safety and others.

  19. Superfluous Man

    ERM,

    “If the student is walking on the sidewalk, not in traffic, they are not unable to care for their own safety… that is the entire point of this new ordinance!”

    To my knowledge, one being on the sidewalk does not preclude the officer from effecting the detention.

  20. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]If someone is drunk in public, can’t officers then arrest that person, regardless of their age? [/quote]

    I don’t think so – not unless they are a danger to themselves or others. Being “drunk as a skunk” in public is not against the law in so far as I am aware, unless you are making a nuisance of yourself…

    For instance I was watching a reality show recently (something like Alaska cops – I watch all sorts of off-beat things). A drunk man was arrested not bc he was as “drunk as a skunk”, but because he was walking down an Alaskan highway in his underwear, and pulling them down…

  21. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]To my knowledge, one being on the sidewalk does not preclude the officer from effecting the detention.[/quote]

    As far as I am aware a person:
    1) can be approached by a police officer and asked questions, but has the right to refuse to answer;
    2) cannot be stopped and detained unless there is articulable suspicion the person is involved in criminal activity.

    So someone drunk as a skunk, staggering down the sidewalk, but not bothering anyone or saying anything, is not committing a criminal activity in so far as I am aware – as long as they are not a danger to themselves or others. If that same someone is underage, wouldn’t it be a good idea to get them off the street before they step out into the street in front of a car?

  22. David M. Greenwald

    Elaine:

    I know you are an attorney, but this is really where it would be helpful if you had court experience rather than just legal training.

    Now what I am about to show you is how easily the 647(F) process is abused, but at the same time, it is absolutely false that a minor who is drunk would not fall within the rubric of the statute.

    [quote]
    Report Submitted to San Jose City Council for November 18, 2008 Public Hearing on Drunk in Public Arrests
    (submitted on Friday November 14, 2008)
    Policy Suggestions // Personal Accounts of Unwarranted Drunk in Public Arrests

    Background//Description:
    Silicon Valley De-Bug, a San Jose based community organization dedicated to assisting residents having issues with the criminal justice system, has been receiving an escalating number of complaints regarding unwarranted 647(f) charges over the past few years. We applaud the Council’s decision to further investigate this urgent community issue after the Mercury News article reported that San Jose has the highest number of such charges in the state. In order to further assist the Council’s investigation and policy direction, we have compiled nine personal accounts. These accounts, plus input from other community members, point to a disturbing pattern of abuse of power by the San Jose Police Department, who have used drunk in public charges to make “attitude arrests.” Indeed, several accounts in this report in particular show 647(f) arrests being made in response to the legally protected right of monitoring police behavior.

    Coupled with these accounts are the following policy suggestions:
    1) Officers must complete a chemical test on a person they are attempting to arrest on a 647(f) charge. Often times community members say they were arrested for a drunk in public, yet were not under the influence at the time of arrest.
    2) The San Jose Police Department be mandated to release police reports for all 647(f) arrests, with personal information redacted if need be, from 2003-2008. This would allow the Council and public to see for themselves whether such arrests carried the elements of probable cause, were disproportional along lines of race, as well as surface any other pattern that may need to be addressed.
    3) The San Jose Police Department be mandated to release police reports for all 148(a) (resisting arrest) arrests, with personal information redacted if need be, from 2003-2008. As with the 647(f), we are concerned that the 148(a) charge is also being used inappropriately as an “attitude arrest.” Similar to the current application of the 647(f) in San Jose, the 148(a) is susceptible to officer misuse, and we suspect similar patterns of unusually high and racially disproportionate numbers of arrests may be found under further review.
    4) A moratorium on all 647(f) arrests as criminal charges referred for prosecution until the Council has been able to review all necessary investigation and implement a policy plan that sufficiently responds to the public’s concerns. Given the tremendous community concern, continuing a police practice that is under review leaves the city vulnerable to more problems.
    5) A time-lined policy plan to address this issue be made which allows for public participation. While a public hearing is good first step, it is just that. The Council must commit to a solution-based action plan that also provides space for public participation. Such a process may include a “Police Issues Taskforce” that includes community members who have personally made complaints against SJPD for 647(f) arrests.[/quote]

  23. Superfluous Man

    ERM,

    “not unless they are a danger to themselves or others”

    According to your citation that’s not the only reason…

    [quote]he or she is unable to exercise care
    for his or her own safety or the safety of others, or by reason of
    his or her being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any
    drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any
    intoxicating liquor, drug, or toluene, interferes with or obstructs
    or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public
    way.[/quote]

  24. Superfluous Man

    As I see it, if someone doesn’t meet this threshold, then they won’t be arrested.

    If a minor or someone under 21 is found intoxicated, they are violating the law, but if they aren’t very intoxicated they won’t exhibit certain obvious signs, which makes it difficult for law enforcement.

    So, the city proposes an ordinance that makes this easier how? ERM mentioned this ordinance giving the officers “probable cause,” but in what way? Wouldn’t it be the same as it is now?

  25. Frankly

    [i]”They all probably got 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus test too. Shocking! What are we to do with them?”[/i]

    Yeah, they were sheltered, coddled and tigermomed to the extreme. Now here they are with their high GPA and not a shred of common sense for how to handle their newfound freedom.

    That is the situation we seem to find ourselves in these days… kids with more academic accomplishments but lacking in well-developed social maturity.

  26. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]I know you are an attorney, but this is really where it would be helpful if you had court experience rather than just legal training.

    Now what I am about to show you is how easily the 647(F) process is abused, but at the same time, it is absolutely false that a minor who is drunk would not fall within the rubric of the statute. [/quote]

    Just because 647(f) is misapplied by law enforcement is an entirely separate concern. You are conflating two separate issues…

  27. E Roberts Musser

    To SM: The point is that there are very specific and required conditions under which a person can be arrested for being drunk in public. Just being “drunk in public” is not a crime. It is irrelevant to the argument that law enforcement may not follow the law (647(f)). The fact of the matter is that being “drunk in public” in and of itself is not a crime…

  28. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]I know you are an attorney, but this is really where it would be helpful if you had court experience rather than just legal training.[/quote]

    Playing at lawyer are we? You might want to try doing your legal research first before doing your analysis…

  29. E Roberts Musser

    For instance see: [url]http://peopleproject.wordpress.com/legal/drunk-in-public-an-unlawful-excuse-to-target-people/[/url]
    [quote]The criminal charge being of “drunk in public” actually requires more than a person being drunk and being in public: the legal standard usually requires that a person be so drunk as to be a danger to themselves or others.

    California’s drunk in public law is typical of those around the country. California Penal Code Section 647 (f) provides that it is illegal to be in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor (or combination of liquor and drugs), in such a condition that he or she is unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others, or by reason of his or her being under the influence of intoxicating liquor (or drugs), interferes with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way.[/quote]

  30. Superfluous Man

    ERM,

    “The point is that there are very specific and required conditions under which a person can be arrested for being drunk in public.”

    I understand that and there is only one condition under which someone under 21 can be found in violation of the drinking age law…drinking alcohol and not being 21+. How does this ordnance make it easier for law enforcement to determine if an underage person is violating this law? Enforcing 647(f) is one way of combating underage drinking.

  31. David M. Greenwald

    “Just because 647(f) is misapplied by law enforcement is an entirely separate concern. You are conflating two separate issues…”

    I’m just explaining how the law is actually used and that the police have a good deal more discretion than you are claiming here.

    “Playing at lawyer are we? You might want to try doing your legal research first before doing your analysis…”

    That’s precisely what I have done, I have two years worth of data to rely on. You have the statute that you are looking at without either looking at case law or actual practice.

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