Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Police Unions complain about new technology

We give you a gun and a badge along with the authority to place people in jail and you complain that technology that makes sure you are following the law while on duty and holding you accountable is "intrusive". Employers have the right to know what their employees are doing on the clock and also how their company vehicles and other equipment is being used. Why is it any different just because you are a police officer?

John Hunsucker
Oklahoma DUI Attorney

Monday, August 5, 2013

Tampa DUI unit reorganized after arrest scandal

"By putting [DUI officers] out into the districts and having more oversight and more accountability, it will prevent a lapse in judgment by a single supervisor from negatively impacting the entire department or the unit," Police Chief Jane Castor said.
By Elaine Silvestrini | Tribune Staff
Published: August 1, 2013
TAMPA - Responding to a scandal that started as a battle between two shock jocks and has now grown into allegations of official corruption, Police Chief Jane Castor on Thursday announced the department's DUI unit will be reorganized to allow more scrutiny.

Currently centrally located, the 12 officers of the department's DUI unit will be distributed among its three districts, Castor said. The change will take effect Sunday.

"By putting them out into the districts and having more oversight and more accountability, it will prevent a lapse in judgment by a single supervisor from negatively impacting the entire department or the unit," Castor said.

The chief made the announcement after lawyer John Fitzgibbons called a news conference to say he wants Mayor Bob Buckhorn to appoint a special counsel to investigate the DUI unit.

Fitzgibbons represents Charles Philip Campbell, a lawyer whose charge was dismissed on Monday after a special investigation by the State Attorney's Office concluded there was too much evidence he had been set up.

"I strongly encourage Mayor Buckhorn to address this issue immediately," Fitzgibbons said at a news conference in his downtown office. "It is now a scandal that is festering. We have virtually nothing from the Tampa Police Department explaining what happened that night and, perhaps even more importantly, what steps are they taking to prohibit this from happening again."

Campbell was arrested in the middle of a high-profile civil trial in January when he represented radio shock jock Todd "MJ" Schnitt, who was accusing fellow disc jockey Bubba the Love Sponge Clem of defamation.

After an investigation, Pinellas State Attorney Bernie McCabe concluded Clem's lawyers and employees of that firm colluded with Tampa police to entrap Campbell, who was persuaded to drive a car being used by a paralegal who was working for Adams and Diaco, the firm that represented Clem.

"There shouldn't be any dispute after reading this investigation," Fitzgibbons said. "This thing stinks."

Contacted after Castor's announcement, Fitzgibbons was unimpressed with the police chief's planned reorganization of the DUI unit. "You can move officers around on an organizational chart all day every day but it does not answer the question of why did this scandal occur, what are the details of the scandal and is the Tampa police Department going to take any disciplinary action against anybody for this scandal."

According to McCabe's investigation of Campbell's arrest, an attorney at Adams and Diaco, Adam Filthaut, was a close friend of Sgt. Raymond Fernandez, who oversaw the DUI unit. The men's wives have been best friends since high school and Filthaut is the godfather of one of Fernandez' children. The night of Campbell's arrest by Fernandez and Officer Tim McGinnis, Fernandez and Filthaut exchanged 92 text messages.

Castor said Fitzgibbons raised "several valid points" in a letter Fitzgibbons wrote to Buckhorn asking for an investigation. The chief said she was particularly distressed by the number of text messages between Fernandez and Filthaut. "I was told at the beginning that there were a few texts shared between Ray and the tipster," she said. "When I found out it was 92, to say the least, I was a little upset."

At the same time, she said, Fernandez "deserves and will receive due process just like any other citizen." Although he has been removed from the DUI unit, he is now working in the special operations unit and has not been punished, Castor said. She said she will decide what to do after the FBI fully investigates what happened.

Fitzgibbons said refusing to answer questions because of the FBI investigation is "just a delay tactic and an excuse by the city of Tampa police department not to answer the hard questions.''

Fitzgibbons said a special counsel should investigate not only what happened to Campbell but should review the activities of the DUI unit of the police department, including a focus on whether officers have quotas for DUI arrests.

Castor denied the department has DUI arrest quotas, although she said the department does uses a "performance matrix" to hold officers to high standards. "There is no doubt that proactive DUI enforcement prevents crashes and saves lives," she said.

Fitzgibbons said citizens should be concerned about the events surrounding Campbell's Jan. 23 arrest, which he called "disgusting," "disgraceful," "scandalous" and "atrocious."

"If this could happen to somebody like Phil Campbell, it could happen to anybody," he said, "somebody going through a divorce - your soon-to-be-ex spouse could have a friend on the police department to set you up and impact child custody issues; you could be in a business dispute with someone, and your opponent has a friend on the Tampa Police department to set you up with an arrest. It never ends.''

Castor said, "We do have policies that officers are not allowed to use their position to intervene or handle personal issues or issues for friends or relatives." The chief had previously said Fernandez used bad judgment in not removing himself from the case.

Fitzgibbons wrote Buckhorn a letter asking him to appoint as special counsel a lawyer with a background as a former federal prosecutor with experience investigating corruption. He suggested the counsel be given 120 days to report to the mayor and citizens how to prevent a scandal like this from happening again.

Buckhorn was out of town and could not be reached for comment. But Castor said she doesn't think a special counsel is necessary because the FBI is already conducting a thorough investigation.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Compelling video on police abusing DUI checkpoints

As a citizen and as an Oklahoma DUI lawyer, I have always been troubled by our Courts allowing police officers to set up random checkpoints.  Although there are some safe guards in place, the police officers know how to get around the safe guards to violate citizens' rights.

In the last checkpoint case we had, our client decided to avoid the checkpoint (his absolute constitutional right to do) by pulling into a parking lot and turning around.  The Oklahoma County Deputy stopped our client for avoiding the checkpoint.  That is what was written on the affidavit.  In court, the deputy then added that my client stopped for "less than five seconds" in the roadway before making the turn and that was his justification for the stop.

This last fourth of July, a young man was stopped at a roadblock in Tennessee and had the good sense to turn on his video recorder.  It is an interesting watch as you can see how the police quickly overstep their bounds just because the man desired to not give up his constitutional freedoms.

John Hunsucker
Oklahoma DUI Lawyer

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


The link below speaks for itself. A man in a diabetic coma is taken from his car at gunpoint--- kicked, beaten and kneed by 5-6 police officers. when they finally realize he is facing a medical crisis they call for medical help, then release him saying 'sorry for beating you up'... The agencies have paid several hundred thousand dollars in settlement of suits and
not surprisingly none of the officers have been for yourself.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Big Boobs Hinders DUI Tests ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A Port St. Lucie woman who said her big breasts hindered her ability to perform field sobriety tests was arrested on a DUI charge after starting to dance and disrobe, according to recently released records.During one of the tests, Maureen Raymond, 49, told a Martin County Sheriff's deputy she couldn't follow his instructions, saying "hell no not with these . . . not with her big boobies," an arrest affidavit states.The case that landed Raymond behind bars began around 9:20 p.m. Jan. 29 when a deputy went to a reckless vehicle call in the area of U.S. 1 and Jensen Beach Boulevard.A deputy spotted a Toyota Camry exceeding the speed limit and crossing the double yellow lines. The Toyota stopped in a Walgreens parking lot. A deputy "detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage about" Raymond, the driver, and found a glass that smelled of booze.When another deputy said they were going to perform roadside tasks, Raymond told the deputy he "needed to understand that she is big chested," saying big bosoms make balancing difficult. Asked if she had any injuries, Raymond said she had big breasts and whiplash.During one test she started to dance."I asked her if she wanted to attempt the task and she stated if I hold her hand," an affidavit states. "I asked her again if she would like to attempt the task and she stated not really because she has big breasts."The deputy told her to keep her hands by her side and "she stated hell no not with these. Telling me again she can't do it, not with her big boobies."The affidavit did not specify a size for Raymond's breasts or even give a ballpark estimate.The deputy later stopped her when she started taking off her clothes to display her bosoms.It wasn't clear whether large breasts could be cited as part of a DUI case defense or whether case law supports such a contention.At the jail, a deputy asked Raymond if she'd take a breath test, which measures blood alcohol content."She told me she was praying and that I need to relax because she is praying and God is first," the affidavit states.Raymond, of the 2600 block of Southeast Gowin Drive in Port St. Lucie, ended up not giving a legit breath sample.Read more:

John Hunsucker
Oklahoma DUI Attorney

Monday, December 5, 2011

Another Government DUI Arrest

The administrator of the FAA, Randy Babbitt, was arrested by Fairfax County police and charged with driving while intoxicated. Babbitt was seen driving on the wrong side of the road and was pulled over at approximately 1030 at night. He was alone in the car at the time. After being taken to a local jail, he was released on a personal recognizance bond. Babbitt flew 25 years for Eastern Airlines and was sworn in to lead the FAA on June 1, 2009.

The FAA is responsible for enforcing pilot certification and is the agency requires pilots and airmen to report all alcohol related arrests.

John Hunsucker
Oklahoma DUI Attorney

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oklahoma Reckless Driving Ticket

Oklahoma enacted a new law that went into effect on November 1, 2011 titled Aaron's law. This new law mandates that anyone receiving a conviction for reckless driving in Oklahoma will automatically lose their Oklahoma Driver's License for a period of one year. What is really stupid about this law is that it does not provide for any modified driving privileges.

Oklahoma does not have decent public transportation which means people are going to drive to get to and from work or school. Most insurance policies do not cover unlicensed drivers so if they are in an accident, there will not be any insurance coverage. This is another example of our government making a knee jerk reaction and creating laws without thinking through the consequences. Under this new law, the license punishment for reckless driving is worse than the punishment for DUI or driving under the influence. How does that make sense? What it means for the citizen that makes a driving mistake and the cop writes it up as a reckless, he/she will need to hire an attorney to make sure the charge does not become a conviction and thus, no license suspension.

John Hunsucker
Oklahoma DUI

Bruce Edge
Tulsa DUI