Austin Justice was MIA for a while because my old hosting account provider closed up shop and it took me a while to look for a replacement. Getting the new blog nicely set up and restoring the old content is sure to be a slow work in progress but it’s still nice to have a place of my own in the blogosphere again.
9/11 was a double tragedy. Beyond the obvious tragedy of lost lives, it was the beginning of a steady erosion of our system of constitutional rights. Benjamin Franklin said that he who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither.
Growing up, I could never have imagined that the people of our nation would one day tolerate being groped as a “security” measure to ride an airplane. Nor would I have believed that our police would one day be allowed to forcibly draw blood from any person who asserts his constitutional right to refuse to provide evidence against himself. That still sounds like something out of a novel set in Eastern Europe to me but it’s happening routinely in DWI investigations right here in Austin, Texas.
If the terrorists really hate us “for our freedom” and our way of life then they’ve won a significant victory.
I just heard through the Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Association grapevine that APD has now gone to a practice of “No Refusals” all the time for DWI investigation. Apparently, this change in policy was NOT accompanied by an announcement in the media so if you’re in Austin, you might want to pass this along to your friends.
The Statesman is reporting today that three UT football players were arrested on Sixth Street for “failure to obey a lawful order.” If you’re thinking that sounds like a military crime or something out of an Orwellian dystopia, think again.
Although there is no such crime in the Texas Penal Code, there actually is a City of Austin Ordinance that states that a person commits a criminal offense if he “knowingly fails or refuses to comply with an order or direction of a peace officer that is given by a visible or audible signal” (see Austin City Codes, Ordinance 9-4-51).
In my mind, this amounts to Contempt of Cop rather than a legitimate offense because it essentially authorizes Austin police officers to arrest anyone that questions their authority. I’m reminded of APD’s abuse of the Public Intoxication law.
If you have any outstanding warrants in Texas, now’s the time to take care of them. A statewide warrant roundup begins Feb. 25.
This is to let you know that I’m playing catch-up and browsing through my virtual newspaper clippings from the last few months, so you may see some older news items among my blog entries, like my last post. I’m discarding the stale stuff but some of it remains interesting or pertinent to my practice despite its age, e.g., entries for the Police Notebook.