Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Checkpoints in California good and bad

California DUI criminal defense attorneys and California drunk driving criminal defense lawyers hear South Lake Tahoe police arrested 14 people during a patrol for intoxicated drivers Friday.Five people were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, six for driving without a license, two for not having children properly restrained in a car seat, and one for having an open container, according to Sgt. Shannon Laney.Five cars were also impounded, Laney said.The arrests took place during a “saturation patrol,” where extra officers are on the street looking for impaired drivers.Additional saturation patrols are expected into Fall 2009 as the result of a $67,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety for DUI suppression and education.The South Lake Tahoe Police Department received the state grant Oct. 1.

At the core of these abuses is the practice of racial profiling at the Pomona police checkpoints. The checkpoints are not being conducted in northern Pomona nor Phillips Ranch neighborhoods. More than 90 percent of the DUI checkpoints are being conducted in south Pomona, where a largely African-American/Hispanic, poor, and undocumented community resides.
We believe the checkpoints are but a pretext for stopping, harassing and discriminating against Pomona's large undocumented and poor community.
Furthermore, the Pomona Police Department Traffic Bureau has the idea that impounding vehicles for nonalcohol-related traffic violations is accomplishing state and federal guidelines for arresting drunk drivers. Their goals for funding are not consistent with the California Office and Traffic Safety funding guidelines.
More than 99 percent of impounded vehicles at Pomona DUI police checkpoints have been taken from families whose drivers were not drunk.
What kind of attitude will a Hispanic or African-American child have toward the Pomona Police Department when their parent's car is impounded and the family is left to fend for themselves, with no means of transportation for work, school, church or the grocery store? These unintended consequences resulting from DUI checkpoints have a qualitative negative impact on children and families adversely impacted by such police racial profiling.
Another checkpoint abuse is the time and locations in which the checkpoints have been conducted. DUI checkpoints have been set up near south Pomona schools when children are being released from school, inconveniencing families picking up their children.
Businesses are also impacted by the DUI checkpoints, most notably the recent cordoning off by Pomona police of Latino businesses such as the Cardenas Market on the corner of Lexington and Garey avenues. The Pomona business community has suffered significant unintended consequences too.
Finally, the overreaching police tactics employed during police checkpoints have brought fear into the hearts of families being chased into their driveways by Pomona police, as evidenced by the notorious May 3 checkpoint in south Pomona. Having more than 70 police officers at a checkpoint makes no sense when more serious crimes such as murders, assaults and robberies are being committed at the same time the checkpoints are being conducted. Criminals in Pomona may be choosing to commit crimes during Pomona DUI checkpoints.