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Outrage: DUI Checkpoints Punish Illegals!

From an apoplectic New York Times:

At a sobriety checkpoint in San Jose in the middle of January, tow truck drivers waited to take away the cars that had been seized by the police.

Sobriety Checkpoints Catch Unlicensed Drivers


February 13, 2010

Bernardino’s wife began to sob as soon as she saw the signs warning “sobriety checkpoint ahead.”

“They cannot do anything to us,” said Bernardino, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, as he pulled their 1997 Ford Explorer into a police checkpoint in San Pablo.

His wife knew better. They were sober, but Bernardino, who would not allow his last name to be used because of his illegal status, had no driver’s license, an offense that would cost them their car.

We could hardly read past this part, the tears were flowing so.

Sobriety checkpoints, like the one in San Pablo, have increasingly become profitable operations that are far more likely to seize cars from unlicensed — and often illegal immigrant — motorists, than to catch drunken drivers.

Why is the University of California at Berkeley investigating this? What does this have to do with education?

Why is Californian taxpayers’ money going to such a study?

An examination by the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley, has found that in 2009, impoundments at checkpoints generated an estimated $40 million in towing fees and police fines statewide. Cities like Oakland, San Jose, San Rafael, Hayward and Redwood City divide the revenue with towing companies.

While there is an economic benefit for strapped cities, it comes at a cost to taxpayers. In the last fiscal year, $30 million was authorized to pay overtime for officers working on the drunken-driving crackdowns. That money came from federal taxpayers through the California Office of Traffic Safety, which contracts with the University of California, Berkeley, to help distribute the money.

Isn’t it peculiarly selective the way The Times gets concerned about the costs of some things?

Besides, by their own math, California has netted $10 million. Not to mention the income from the cars, which if unclaimed, will then be auctioned off.

And why does any of this have to be done by officers on overtime? Moreover, doesn’t getting illegal, unlicensed and uninsured drivers off of the road save billions of dollars in the long run?

But of course Berkeley and the New York Times have their own priorities.

While the checkpoints do catch some drunken drivers, the police manning them are also leaving sober but unlicensed drivers, like Bernardino, on the side of the road, with no hope of regaining their vehicle for at least a month. Once vehicles are impounded, California law requires towing companies to hold them for 30 days. That can mean storage fees and fines that run from $1,000 to $4,000, municipal finance records show. Unlicensed motorists rarely challenge the impoundments.

Often the owners lack the money to recover their cars…

Why should we want any of these people to recover their cars — ever? They should not be allowed to recover them as long as they remain unlicensed and uninsured.

Under our laws, if they don’t have a license or insurance they should not be allowed to own a car. What is so complicated about that?

The Investigative Reporting Program reviewed hundreds of pages of city financial records and police reports, and analyzed data from sobriety checkpoints during the past two years. The data revealed that police departments across the state are seizing a growing number of vehicles from unlicensed drivers. In the last fiscal year, the police seized approximately 24,000 such cars at sobriety checkpoints, up from 17,900 in 2008 and 15,700 in 2007.

Shouldn’t this be good news? It sounds like this program is working better than imagined. After all, wasn’t the original purpose to increase public safety, not just to persecute people who have imbibed?

And on top of that, it is making a profit, which is something rare in California.

Law enforcement officials say demographics play no role in determining where the police establish checkpoints. But records show that cities where Hispanics make up a majority of the population are seizing cars at three times the rate of cities with small minority populations.

So we now have to have a quota system to make it more fair? Whatever happened to the quaint idea of police going to where the crime is?

Sobriety checkpoints typically take place on major thoroughfares near highways. On average, officers seize seven cars for each drunken-driving arrest, state data show. The disparity is far greater in some cities. San Rafael averaged almost 15 impoundments for each drunken-driving arrest in the last fiscal year, and the police in Oakland seized 11 cars for every drunken driver who was caught. And in Montebello, state records show, checkpoints netted up to 60 impoundments for every drunken driver apprehended.

So this Berkeley study is claiming that there are up to 60 unlicensed and uninsured driver on the road for every person driving under the influence?

Shouldn’t that be the headline and the lead and the real scandal here? Should we not step up the number of checkpoints?

Police officials said they asked for driver’s licenses at sobriety checkpoints because doing so helped remove another kind of unsafe motorist from the road — unlicensed drivers — and because the California Office of Traffic Safety, which provides the grants for the checkpoints, advises departments to do so. Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that motorists driving with a suspended or revoked license cause collisions at a higher rate than licensed drivers

The police have to justify asking for a driver’s license?

The seizures appear to defy a 2005 federal appellate court ruling that the police cannot impound a car solely because the driver is unlicensed.

Christine Gasparac, a spokeswoman for the office of Attorney General Jerry Brown, wrote in an e-mail message that the “law is unclear regarding the circumstances under which a vehicle operated by a driver who is determined at a checkpoint to be unlicensed may be constitutionally impounded at the scene.”

A challenge to the constitutionality of California’s 30-day impound law will be argued later this year before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Ms. Gasparac said the ruling might clear the matter.

We are finally at the purpose for this article. The New York Times wants it to be ruled un-constitutional to impound a car from an unlicensed and uninsured illegal alien.

You see, they want us all to enjoy the freedom of being slaughtered on the highway by foreigners who refuse to abide by any of our laws.

That is what the New York Times thinks of as our constitutional rights.

The San Francisco Police Department is not waiting for a ruling; it recently altered its impoundment policy to allow unlicensed motorists 20 minutes to find a legal driver to move their car from the scene. The policy of the California Highway Patrol is to refrain from impounding vehicles at its checkpoints simply because the driver has no license

The ratio of impoundments to driving under the influence arrests was high around the Bay Area in 2009: In Daly City, there were 39.5 impoundments for every D.U.I. arrest; in San Rafael, 18.6; and in San Pablo, 9.

Yippee! What another blow struck for freedom and public safety by the great city of San Francisco.

You can hold onto your car if you don’t have a license or insurance, but not if you are caught smoking in it. (Medical marijuana excepted, of course.)

Drunken-driving checkpoints have saved countless lives on the nation’s roadways. But in California, motorists arrested for drunken driving can usually retrieve their vehicles the next day.

Impoundments, on the other hand, can create a significant economic hardship for those who depend on a vehicle to get to work. And the consequences can be more than economic.

Bernardino, for example, worked seven days a week to raise $1,900 to pay the city fines and tow fees so he could recover his sports utility vehicle. After 30 days, he gave the money to his brother-in-law — a licensed driver and the vehicle’s registered owner.

But an acquaintance robbed Bernardino’s in-law of the money and shot him to death the day he was to retrieve the Explorer.

For three months, as his family mourned and struggled to send money to relatives back home, Bernardino said he worked long hours so he could buy another car, allowing him to travel to higher-paying jobs in other Bay Area cities.

“If I lose the car, I cannot do anything, so I need to have it,” Bernardino said in Spanish. “I have to drive because I have no alternative.”

In typical New York Times fashion, this heartbreaking story goes on and on for several more pages.

But we are so emotionally wrenched by the idea that illegal aliens are getting murdered because of these unconscionable sobriety checkpoints, that we just can’t go on.

After all, these poor illegal aliens have no alternative than to drive without a licenses or insurance if they want to get to their illegal jobs and collect their illegal benefits through their illegal social security cards.

Be fair!

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, February 14th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

11 Responses to “Outrage: DUI Checkpoints Punish Illegals!”

  1. proreason says:

    Thank you Steve for reporting this rare piece of good news.

    Lets just hope that this programs is aggresively pushed out to all 50 states.

  2. canary says:

    Liberals & illegals should worry more about mandatory Medical Insurance Checkpoints. At the press of a button: Fines, Penalties, Jail time.

  3. jobeth says:

    ““If I lose the car, I cannot do anything,”

    I know….You could go home!

    My son…a police officer in MA, stopped and arrested an illegal. His first call was to ICE who came for her after she was taken in.

    Good we agree…except he took flack from his superiors for calling ICE. Need I repeat…He is in MA. One of the most lib states in the union.

    He is unapologetic and I’m proud of him.

    Don’t you feel sorry for this guy? He had to work to get the money to pay for the car…Sorry, first you wouldn’t have to pay it at all if you were home where you belonged…second…If my car was impounded I would have to pay it too…of course I’m only a US citizen. It’s called responsibility for your own life issues.

    Geez…and my Brit husband jumped through all those silly hoops to come here….

  4. BigOil says:

    The only tears from these Guatamalan illegals should be tears of joy for not being deported.

    If they believe America is such an unjust society for towing their car, I’d suggest they enter Mexico illegally and take a little drive around. Losing their car would be the least of their worries.

  5. wardmama4 says:

    Wait doesn’t the wonderful, green paradise of the Peoples Republic of Kalifornia have mass transportation for this poor criminal to use to go to his illegal job (taking a job away from a legal American citizen)?

    I can’t believe that they didn’t put him on a bus to his country of origin and tell him next time he is caught in any of the 50 (not 57) states – he’d go to jail immediately.

    Here is another program (taxpayer funded) that is sucking money that American citizens could use to do what – harass illegals – since no one in the official capacity seems to care a whit about deporting any of these taxpayer money sucking criminals and maybe, just maybe America could watch her un-employment rate, education costs, healthcare costs, social welfare costs, and criminal justice costs go down while watching the graduation rate from HS go up.

    I did not shed a tear at all – for a criminal committing at least two crimes – for which you or I would be cuffed and dragged to jail like a common criminal – can’t do the time (or pay the fine) don’t commit the crime – for criminal illegal aliens caught – not making America a better place but rather (gasp) committing more crimes!

  6. Mithrandir says:

    Do what Italy has done: Make illegal immigration a felony, and anyone who helps a felon is a felon too. That ends that problem once and for all. No jobs, no health care, no apartment, no driver’s license, no selling of cars to them, or anything else.

    I always thought the sobriety road stops were just an excuse for the police to fascistly check everything about you. It seems you have a reasonable right to privacy in the car and roads YOU PAID FOR.

    “We are checking for drunk drivers….OH, looky here, not wearing your seatbelt–$50 fine, hmm, tail light out, that is a warning you will have to come back and prove you have fixed, A-HA! you forgot to register your car–that’s another 100 bucks there, do I smell marijuana? No? Well, I am going to check anyway, how’s that? You don’t mind if I check your chloresterol too do you? You have nothing to hide do you?”

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Cha-Ching! Ching! Ching! Ching! Ching! Ching! Ching! Ching! Ching! Ching! $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    (Yeah, can you hear the sound of balancing state and police budgets on your back?)

  7. canary says:

    It never was, nor could ever be Bernardino’s car, as it was his brother-in-laws who may have made Bernardino pay to get it out, and may have not wanted to let Bernardino drive it again, as he was liable for anything that happened as owner of the vehicle, such as an accident. Maybe he told Bernardino he’d never let him drive it, and the unnamed acquaintance, well is he on the loose?

  8. bobdog says:

    I seem to remember something in the Constitution about “unreasonable search and seizure”, but that’s just me.

    Do post back when they start confiscating vehicles for such dangerous and irresponsible practices as driving without working tail lights. Or driving without seat belts. Or talking on a cell phone while driving.

    I have no sympathy for drunk drivers, and I gag at the idea of agreeing with the New York Times about anything, but since when does a simple traffic infraction, worthy of nothing more than a citation and a gratuitous warning from the police officer, justify seizing major personal property? Why not seize the offender’s house as well? Shit, why not hang them on the spot?

    I call bullshit on this one. From where I sit, this kind of disproportional and unreasonable confiscation of personal property for a trivial traffic offense is unconstitutional. What’s more, it’s legally and morally wrong.

    Everybody likes to beat up on illegals, but where does it say these confiscations are limited to illegals? What if it’s you?

    • JohnMG says:

      Go on down to Mexico and other points south, Bob, and try the same tactics. Then write back to me sometime.

      When will people ever, EVER, get it in their minds that ILLEGALS are ILLEGAL? They aren’t US citizens and aren’t entitled to the perks that go with citizenship.

      Maybe if those responsible for enforcing our laws actually ENFORCED them, making the US inhospitable for those who flaunt those laws, we’d have a class of immigrants like my forbearers, who came here to BECOME Americans rather than suck at the public teat.

      In my mind, if you’re here illegally, regardless if that illegal status was discovered through a constitutionally legal apparatus such as DWI/sobriety checkpoints, YOU”RE ILLEGALLY here, and should be deported. I’m tired of supporting these parasites with my tax dollars, and not being allowed to claim them on my tax return as dependents.

      Once again, I DARE you to go to Mexico and try this bullshit! Step outside Cancun or any of the other tourist spots and see how you’re received.

      Your position is all noble, but if we don’t start protecting what we have, we won’t have it much longer.

    • Confucius says:

      Someone who is driving without a license is driving without having passed a written test, eye exam and driving practical.

      I consider that dangerous, bobdog. I also consider it more dangerous than driving without a seatbelt because that endangers just the driver.

      As far as I’m concerned, law enforcement isn’t doing enough.

  9. NoNeoCommies says:

    How dare they pay more attention to a group of people shown to be consistently willing to violate the law in ways that endanger ourselves and our loved ones on the road (oh yeah; they also endanger other illegals on the road).
    This is just another case of profiling!
    Punishing people for breaking the law because they have, as a group, proven more dangerous on the road or in society is patently unfair.
    I mean really, why should we try to protect ourselves?
    Why should we insist that people follow the law?

    Most importantly, in this economy, why hurt the tertiary vehicle market?
    The more $500 cars siezed, the more $500 cars our poor can sell to these guys so they can avoid smogging or registering them and can just abandon them after a hit and run or seizure.

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