Monday, October 29, 2007

Arrests and Citations in Isla Vista so far...

While the Halloween festivites continue, there is a growing toll of both citations and arrests in the community of Isla Vista.

See MSNBC's article reported as a top story by KSBY News, entitled
"Thousands fill Isla Vista to celebrate Halloween weekend; hundreds arrested"
for numbers on those in attendance and those with legal trouble.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

So far, not so scary...

Compared with years past, this Halloween on Del Playa is somewhat subdued, so far, according to the Indy and other sources. Apparently, 90 people were arrested and 150 citations were issued on Friday. Thankfully, there have been no major injuries reported. The celebrations will likely continue, but as the Indy points out, last night was probably the climax of the several day event, drawing as many as 20,000 people to the streets. Wednesday night shouldn't see as many arrests nor cites. Again, be safe.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Foot Patrol's Favorite Halloween Talking Point

I sincerely hope that the ongoing Halloween festivities are moving along safely and enjoyably for the celebrants and the 160+ law enforcement officers in attendance. If you're like me, you have heard the Foot Patrol say the following over and over again (for years, actually): It's not the local residents that we are concerned about, it is the out-of-towners that cause the majority of the problems. Uh, okay, then are we to expect that the 160+ officers will be arresting and handing out citations only (or even mostly) to visitors? Doubtful. If this year is anything like years past, the majority of arrests and citations will involve the local college-aged population (mostly SBCC and UCSB students). Without a doubt there will be some visitors cited and arrested, but they will be in the minority; as there are far fewer of them AND, not all of them are monsters (although I'm sure some will be wearing monster costumes). Many are friends, relatives, girlfriends, and boyfriends of locals; not criminals. Well, at least, not until they have been dealt with by the Foot Patrol. After all, we are all no more than a court date away from being rendered a criminal; no one is immune... Especially not the locals.

Be sure to read my last post (immediately below) for tips on how to avoid problems with the police. Also, visit my website at for more relevant information.

Again, be safe.

P.S. Another talking point heard less often, but which is similarly designed to communicate to the locals (for public relations purposes) that they are not going to be treated unfairly by the police for engaging in myriad fairly ordinary college activities (read: drinking alcohol), is that "90 % of it will be citations" (implying no jail, no crime, no big deal). It is important to point out that more than 50 % of the 90 % may cause the person cited significant penalties with longterm negative effects (e.g., year-long drivers license suspensions).

Friday, October 26, 2007

Have a safe Halloween on Del Playa!

I want to thank the Associated Students of UCSB (and attorneys Robin Unander and David Andreasen) for inviting me to speak at their not-so-annual workshop to educate UCSB students on their rights at Embarcadero Hall on Wednesday Evening. It was a nice opportunity to speak to one or more of my future clients, directly or indirectly, like now. And, no, that's not to imply that the people that showed up are criminals. Actually, they were a very gracious, intelligent, and inquisitive group of young people. I also want to thank Deputy Sheriff Miles Davies for joining me on stage and providing very candid answers to questions, and generally good information, which was not overly infected with law enforcement (or other) propaganda. It was remarkable that we agreed about nearly everything. For those of you who couldn't be there, I will jog through the main points that were made in favor of a safe (and hopefully for you) arrest free Halloween celebration:

1. Don't do anything illegal.

2. Don't drink if you are under 21 (if you must, do it out of view of police, and in a private place).

3. Don't drink to excess.

4. Don't walk around in the street with alcohol, or any container for alcohol.

5. If you throw a party, restrict access (consider carding at door and using bracelets).

6. If the police come to your door to, perhaps, issue a noise violation ticket, meet them at the front door, step outside, and close the door behind you.

7. Do not consent to a search of your person, vehicle, house, dorm room, apartment, bag, purse, backpack, wallet, etc.

8. Do identify yourself correctly if you are under arrest or detained.

9. If you don't know if you are under arrest or detained, just ask. (Good suggestion, Miles!)

10. If you believe the police are violating your, or someone else's rights, don't throw a fit. In fact, better to keep it to yourself, and take good mental notes of the badge number(s), and other particulars. Wait until it gets to court before you make your argument. Doing otherwise will worsen whatever trouble you are in, or get you in trouble even if you have done nothing else wrong.

11. If you are arrested, remain silent after you have supplied correct information concerning your identity. If you are not driving a motor vehicle, it need not be done with a license or other document. It is seldom, if ever, a good idea to explain anything to the police, or plead with them to let you go, or anything else you might want to say at that point. Wait until it gets to court, and until after you have talked it through with a lawyer. Don't make any deals with the police. Specifically, don't give them a statement in return for a promise to not take you to jail, or to put in a good word with "the judge", or to "drop charges". These are sometimes outright lies and are, at best, half-truths. If you end up going to jail on that occasion because you didn't make a statement; that, relative to other potential outcomes, is a good one. What you might not know is how quickly you will be released. If you aren't intoxicated and, therefore, housed in order to sober up, you will be given access to a telephone where you can contact me, a bail bondsman and/or a friend, who can usually help you bail out in a number of hours (depending on the seriousness of the charges, and some other factors). So, as unpleasant as it is to go to jail, don't think of it as the final stage of the controversy where it will be decided once and for all that you are guilty as charged; it is often just the beginning of a long chain of events where, we can hope, ultimately, justice will be done. Don't make it harder to achieve a just result on your case by giving in to trickery and deceit (which, by the way, are lawful law enforcement tactics).

12. If you have any questions about the above, call me at 805-892-4922, or you may email to Also, visit my website devoted to the Isla Vista population of potential arrestees at

Have a safe and enjoyable Halloween! And here's a Halloween greeting from Erik Raney of the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office:
“We have a zero-tolerance enforcement posture for all crimes alcohol-related, party-related - anything that you can think of,” Raney said. “Drunk in public, open containers, minors in possession of alcohol, indecent exposure and loud music ordinances [are] all zero tolerance.” See the complete article at:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Know Your Rights!

The Associated Students of UCSB is hosting a workshop for students on how to avoid attracting the attention of the Foot Patrol and how to deal with police officers who may contact them and arrest them for any variety of charges during the Halloween festivities on and around Del Playa in Isla Vista. The talk begins at 7 p.m. in Embarcardero Hall tomorrow (10/24/07). Myself and Sheriff's Deputy Myles Davies, of the IVFP, are the featured speakers. See you there!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

More reason than ever to Not Drink and Drive

I am mourning for the people who don't get it yet. Maybe you are one of them. You might be one of the many people who still lives in a blissful state of ignorance about just how bad of an idea it is to go out somewhere to drink 2 or more drinks and then drive home. No, I'm not talking about the fact that it would suck if you got pulled over and arrested for DUI. And it would. It's a big hassle, of course. You might go to jail (at least for a number of hours), you might have to hire a lawyer, you might have to pay a big fine, take a class, pay higher insurance rates into the foreseeable future etc. etc. No, that's not what I'm mourning. A simple DUI can function as a wake-up call to some; even the arrest can be enough to make many swear they will never take that chance again. A minority will say they're done with alcohol altogether. Nevertheless, that isn't what I'm really sad about. I'm sad for the people - the hard-working, good, honest, morally and mentally together people, with jobs, families, the works - who just don't get it (yet). They don't get something that criminal lawyers get. They don't get something that d.a.'s, cops, probation officers, parole agents, judges, and state prisoners (and their families) get. What is this big thing to be gotten you ask? It is the thin line between an ordinary everyday existence as a productive member of our society and a lifetime of hell on earth; the hell on earth that one undoubtedly experiences when one is sentenced to spend the rest of their life in prison for MURDER. Yes, I said, MURDER.
How could that happen to me or anyone I call a friend or a family member? Murderers are the people you see on TV with the jumpsuits on. Those aren't really people, right? And if they are, they are weird, strange people, not like me, right? I would never end up there. After all, I've never gotten a speeding ticket. I pay my bills on time. I wear my seatbelt. I don't smoke. I don't talk with my mouth full. I am a considerate person. I go to church. I volunteer. My best friend is a police officer. I'm married to one. Etc. Etc. I'll never be one of those "murderers" in a jumpsuit on TV. I'm just not that kind of person. Think again. Unfortunately, there is nothing about you that says that you will never be driving a vehicle that is involved in an accident where another human being dies, is there? Okay, so let's just pray and hope that when that happens, it doesn't happen after you have put down 2 or more drinks. If it does, you are that person. What many don't understand is the law that says you can't drive with greater than .08 % of alcohol in your blood doesn't amount to permission to drive between .01 and .07%. If you are driving after those 2 plus drinks, you are arguably "impaired" by alcohol. Yes, you could be as low as .04, but that won't make you immune to a murder charge, especially not now.
Gov. Schwarzenegger just signed into law what is now known as the "Ambriz Act" in memoriam to Steve Ambriz who was the chief of staff for the Act's sponsor, Assemblyman Todd Spitzer. Ambriz was tragically killed in a traffic accident involving a woman who had both alcohol and methamphetamine in her system. Prior to this law becoming effective (January 1, 2008), you have to be a repeat offender to meet the fate of being charged with murder for a negligent act of killing someone with your vehicle while "under the influence" of alcohol. This law has just, in a sense, rendered all of us repeat offenders come New Years Day. We won't be treated any different than the guy last month who was sent to prison for life because he supposedly knew better. Now, as people licensed to drive in California, we will have to acknowledge in writing (when we apply for a license or renewal) that driving a motor vehicle is a dangerous activity and, that if someone is killed as the result of our DUI, we can be charged with murder.

I hope this law saves a life. If you think about it, though, it serves to make nearly every single-fatality DUI accident an event where two lives are lost. At least two families will lose a loved one forever for every fatal accident caused by an act of DUI; this is what the law really says. It dramatically compounds the human tragedy in the hope that doing so will influence people's future behavior. There are some that believe that whenever the law gets tough, people take notice and change their ways for the better so that they will not end up in its clutches. I sincerely hope so. However, I, unfortunately, cannot accept this premise. The laws are already very tough. No, we don't impose the death penalty on DUI defendants yet, but we have steadily moved in that direction for decades. In spite of the many laws that have been enacted in recent times to increase the jail time and the fines, to worsen the drivers license consequences, and make it easier to convict someone accused of DUI, DUI still presents an unacceptable risk to human life. The number lives lost each year due to DUI each year are still counted in the 10's of thousands. Laws can help, but they can't completely solve the problem. I challenge law makers to address the problem holistically. Public transportation and education are two very effective and under-utilized deterrents to the behavior.
Unfortunately, California law makers only seem to address the problem by upping the punishments by enacting new "get tougher" laws each legislative session. Supposing they succeed one day in enacting a law which makes DUI an act punishable by the death penalty; what are we then going to do when DUI caused fatalities keep occurring in spite of this law? Let's start now to address the problem from different directions. The potential of the criminal justice system to reduce the numbers of traffic fatalities may very well be tapped at this point. It's time, at least, to start thinking about that. Getting tough makes perfect sense when it is someone you don't know who is in the jumpsuit. I promise you that you will feel very differently about this law when it is you or a loved one in the jumpsuit. Also, it is wrong to suppose that every family member of someone tragically killed in a DUI accident is clamoring for the offender to go to prison at all, let alone prison for life.

I know I'll be talking to you someday. You'll be in jail, in a jumpsuit, and I'll be telling you (through the glass on one of those phones) that I wish that you read this post before it was too late for you and the person(s) that you killed. Consider this your early wake up call.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Arrest that (wo)man!

On an unrelated note: I invite anyone to send me a photo of them dressed up, for Halloween, as an upside-down beer cup. I may post it on this blog, depending on its quality. Let's hope, as well, that you will then be ignored by the IVFP, as they promise. This upside-down beer cup myth is getting big. I just read about it on of all places.

Okay, now onto my latest gripe: Women getting arrested because they are women. Yes Isla Vistans, look outside between midnight and 3 a.m., it's happening at an alarming rate. Women who are walking around after midnight are getting arrested, at least in part, because they are women. Is this the "official policy" of the IVFP?? They will deny it. However, various of their members have been heard to say, by several arrest subjects, that they are being arrested for their own safety. After all, a lot of sexual assault occurs in Isla Vista. Uh, okay, thanks for arresting me! How thoughtful! Is this just another form of sexual assault? Probably not; especially if the officers are not touching and grabbing the arrest subjects for purposes of sexual arousal. And we can assume that only a small percentage of our law enforcement friends are actually that warped and desperate. However, the non-arousing arrest amounts to discriminatory enforcement in violation of the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. This can be illustrated by a simple question: Are men getting arrested, or even contacted by the police, at similar levels of intoxication? In fact, don't men actually have to be drunk, or at least rowdy, to get arrested for public intoxication (647(f) PC))? The fact is, we, as a society, are less protective of our young men than our young women. BUT, is that a valid reason to criminalize the women and make them spend the night in jail, etc., when we let men get so drunk that they end up passed out and snoring in the street? Hey IVFP, listen up! Where is it in your training manual that says you can't, or shouldn't, simply offer the young lady a ride/walk home. Isn't that truly in her best interests?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Is Being Drunk a Crime?

Well, that depends. You can be drunk in places that are not open to the public (such as your apartment, your friend's condo, your grandmother's house, etc.) Now, I didn't say that you would be encouraged to do anything of the sort. In fact, getting drunk is a highly over-rated activity. As far as those high-minded achievers that set out to get drunk...well, the best you can say about them is that they will, most likely, accomplish their mission. That's because it takes a pretty weak stomach, and a complete lack of imagination (as in none) to have any difficulty getting there. And, as they probably know, they're going to regret it; at least temporarily. Yes, I'm talking about the hangover. It's nature's way of punishing them for what is essentially a bad all-around idea. The depressing truth is that the euphoria associated with drinking a large quantity of alcohol lasts for only a short while compared to what will follow. In many cases, blackouts, belligerence, sexually aggressive/inappropriate behavior, vomit, passing out, and hang-overs will be the heavy price you will pay for that initial feeling of artificial contentment with life, your surroundings, and your company. But I digress...back to Grandma's house... Whether it is a crime to be drunk outside of your grandmother's house in California is largely up to the police officer. And, no, I'm not saying that "it's his word against yours". Not this time. What I am saying is that the police officer who believes someone is so intoxicated (in public) that they cannot care for themselves may arrest them criminally (647(f) PC)) or civilly (647(g) PC)). Penal Code section 647(g) reads as follows:

(g) When a person has violated subdivision (f), a peace officer, if he or she is reasonably able to do so, shall place the person, or cause him or her to be placed, in civil protective custody. The person shall be taken to a facility, designated pursuant to Section 5170 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, for the 72-hour treatment and evaluation of inebriates. A peace officer may place a person in civil protective custody with that kind and degree of force which would be lawful were he or she effecting an arrest for a misdemeanor without a warrant. No person who has been placed in civil protective custody shall thereafter be subject to any criminal prosecution or juvenile court proceeding based on the facts giving rise to this placement. This subdivision shall not apply to the following persons:
(1) Any person who is under the influence of any drug, or under the combined influence of intoxicating liquor and any drug.
(2) Any person who a peace officer has probable cause to believe has committed any felony, or who has committed any misdemeanor inaddition to subdivision (f).
(3) Any person who a peace officer in good faith believes will attempt escape or will be unreasonably difficult for medical personnel to control.

So, you ask, if you fit within the above criteria, why did you get taken to jail and why are you now charged with crime? Well, one question to ask is whether there is a "sobering center" facility in the immediate area with a contract with that municipality to offer a safe (alcohol free) environment for you to hang out while you inch toward sobriety; and, no, it doesn't usually take 72 hours before they will decide to let you go. Four to six hours is more ordinary. In the City of Santa Barbara, there is such a facility. In other parts of South Santa Barbara County there is not. Accordingly, if you are arrested in Isla Vista for Public Intoxication (a nightly occurrence), you are going to jail. There is talk of installing a sobering center in Isla Vista, but until that happens, being drunk in public in Isla Vista (and other parts of Santa Barbara County) is a crime.