Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Illegal DWI Study Done in Fort Worth

Last year I walked into my office one afternoon and was asked by my staff, "Hey, did you hear cops are pulling people over for no reason on Beach Street (block from my office) and asking for breath tests ?" I was shocked. Sure enough, word spreads fast. It was on the local news that night.  Guess what ? It was a $7.9 million National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) grant for a "2013 Roadside Survey" which turned out to be illegal. Why ? It is not legal for law enforcement to pull citizens over with no reasonable suspicion of a crime or no probable cause for a traffic violation. It was being done by "data takers" (armed with police vehicles) contracted out by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) under the guise of "voluntary roadblocks" where motorists were waived to restricted areas, given surreptitious passive alcohol tests (PAS tests) and asked to give a specimen.  PIRE's goal was to pull over 8,000 motorists in 60 cities. Only problem is, in Texas roadblocks are illegal and despite where roadblocks are legal, "voluntary roadblocks" are not.  In response to a public outcry, Congress initiated an investigation. The subcommitee in the House on Highway and Transit determined NHTSA's conduct was not appropriate (comments from Congressmen in attached picture).  Due to a temporary restraining order in Reading, Pennsylvania, testing was suspended. In Fort Worth, the "data takers" were off duty Fort Worth police officers. On November 20, 2013, Fort Worth Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead made a public apology and announced they would no longer participate.  NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman, had to announce on March 12, 2014 that the nonconsensual passive alcohol samples would be terminated.   Bottom line, DWI concerns have risen to illegal and unconstitutional proportions, laws have been broken and civil rights violated.  Shame on the government.

Special thanks to Gil Sapir and Mark G. Giangrande for writing a 12 page report on this illegal activity in the July 22, 2014 issue of  Drinking/Driving Law Letter.

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