Report: Judge’s ruling about police using a breathalyzer in DUI cases could result in thousands of convictions being tossed

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KITSAP COUNTY, WA- According to reports, a new ruling in the state of Washington could have a huge impact on driving under the influence (DUI) cases.

Since 2015, law enforcement has been using a blood alcohol breathalyzer from a company called Dräger and the results from those tests have been used to convict tens of thousands of people on drunk driving charges.

However, a new Kitsap County District Court ruling says that those results from Dräger’s machine violate state law. The ruling could end up invalidating the results, which will have state-wide implications in thousands of DUI cases.

All four judges of the court agreed that the state toxicologist violated state law when she approved software for the Dräger breathalyzer, a device that is used to test a person’s blood-alcohol level.

The court agreed with lawyers representing Austin Keller that the software approved by then-state toxicologist, Dr. Fiona Couper, did not follow the calculations mandated by Washington state law.

On May 9, 2020, Keller was involved in a single-vehicle crash in Bremerton. According to court records, a Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputy responded to the crash and smelled alcohol Keller’s breath.

The deputy gave Keller a field sobriety test. Keller agreed to a blood-alcohol test in the field and the portable Dräger breathalyzer was used. The test resulted in a 0.132 blood-alcohol level; the legal limit of the state is .08.

Due to his blood-alcohol level, Keller was arrested and is currently awaiting trial for a DUI. Tom Weaver, the attorney representing Keller, said in a statement:

“This is significant and it was significant to the court who spent three months reviewing this.”

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Weaver reportedly asked George Bianchi, a Seattle attorney who has been trying DUI cases for years, to join the case. Bianchi agreed and said that he has attempted a similar attack on the state toxicologists’ software approval over a year ago, but the case did not result in a conviction.

In March, Weaver and Bianchi made a few tweaks and at a motion hearing, challenged the legality of the software approval. All four judges chose to hear the arguments and issued an en-banc ruling.

The judges issued two rulings. They issued an 89-page ruling explaining their decision to their findings that the software did not follow state law and they issued an order stopping the use of results of the Dräger machine as evidence in all causes in Kitsap County.

According to Bianchi, other attorneys in other counties could use the ruling in their DUI cases, adding:

“It can be accepted by other judges throughout the state. The state toxicologist approved software that can be used in the Dräger machine, which did not have the proper calculations and is being used by prosecutors and police.”

It comes down to a technicality and not the validation of the blood-alcohol test. The Dräger breathalyzer takes four samples of a person’s breath and then calculates the median, the center point of all four results.

It then provides a median number that is truncated to several decimal points. However, state law states that the machine needs to truncate to four decimal points and then round up or down to three decimal points.

Since the rounding was not part of the final calculation, any result the machine produced using the software approve by the state toxicologist technically violated state law. Kitsap County Prosector Chad Enright said in a statement:

“While this ruling certainly makes proving a DUI more difficult, it does not prevent us from proving our cases. We are advising law enforcement to continue to take breath tests, but to recognize that they will not be admissible in court and that the case cannot rely solely on breath tests.”

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Paul Pelosi arrested on DUI charges, released on $5K bail, yet his wife House Speaker, says “no one is above the law”

May 31st, 2022

NAPA, CA- According to reports, police records indicate that on Sunday, May 29th, Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old husband of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in Northern California.

According to an online sheriff’s booking report, Paul Pelosi was taking into custody in Napa County, just north of San Francisco. Records show that he could face charges including DUI and driving with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 or higher.

His bail was set at $5,000 for both misdemeanors. According to a report from KCRA, Paul Pelosi was driving a 2021 Porsche into an intersection near the town of Yountville and was hit by a 2014 Jeep.

In a statement, the California Highway Patrol said that no injuries were reported and the 48-year-old driver of the Jeep was not arrested. Drew Hammill, spokesperson for Nancy Pelosi, said:

“The Speaker will not be commenting on this private matter which occurred while she was on the East Coast.”

The House Speaker was in Providence, Rhode Island, on Sunday, where she delivered the commencement address at Brown University. Paul and Nancy have been married since 1963.

According to a report from Newsweek, an attorney for Paul Pelosi, has gone on record stating that his client’s arrest on DUI contains incorrect information about the timeline of events and an alleged prior driving offense.

The unnamed attorney issued the statement on May 30th to Fox News and while the statement challenged previously reported details regarding Paul’s arrest, it did not appear to dispute the arrest or the charges. The statement read:

“Mr. Pelosi was fully cooperative with California Highway Patrol officers who arrived a few minutes later. A prior driving offense erroneously attributed to Mr. Pelosi is untrue and likely refers to another person with the same name.”

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That part of the attorney’s statement seemed to contradict NBC Bay Area’s earlier reporting that Paul Pelosi was arrested on a similar charge four years ago.

The attorney said in the statement that Paul Pelosi was attending a dinner party at the home of friends near Oakville, a community in Napa Valley and that he left at 10:15 p.m. to drive home alone, which was only a short distance away. The statement read:

“The incident happened a few minutes later.”

As of this writing, it is still not clear if police have determined that Paul Pelosi was responsible for the crash. Paul Pelosi owns Financial Leasing Services, a Northern California-based real estate and venture capital investment and consulting firm.

Back in February of 2021, Nancy Pelosi put out a press release titled, “No One Is Above The Law,” where she carried on for several paragraphs about the impeachment of Donald Trump. She wrote:

“No one is above the law and the former President must be tried and convicted by the Senate to ensure that no further president ever thinks they can do the same thing and get away with it.

A president must be held accountable from their first day in office until their last day in office. If a president knows he can violate the Constitution at the end of their term and get away with it, it is an invitation to dangerous abuses of power.”

The question now becomes, does the House Speaker believe her husband is above the law? Or will he face the consequences of his actions for breaking the law.

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Unprecedented and extreme power play: Pelosi pushing for bill to enable Biden to control fuel prices

May 14th, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is supporting a Democrat-backed bill that will greatly enhance the power of President Joe Biden to control fuel prices within the U.S.

However, it is not clear how prices of imported fuel would be controlled.

The Biden administration has blamed out-of-control fuel prices on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, calling it “Putin’s price hike.”

Biden also blamed former President Donald Trump, who he recently referred to as “the great MAGA king,” for increasing the deficit.

During her weekly press briefing, Pelosi also blamed U.S. oil corporations for rising fuel prices, claiming that they were exploiting consumers and that gouging them is an actual “part of the business plan of companies.”

At the briefing, Pelosi pushed H.R. 7688, a bill known as the “Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act.” Its intention is “to protect consumers from price-gouging of consumer fuels, and for other purposes.”

The bill would allow President Biden to declare an “energy emergency proclamation” and then have the power to regulate prices by stopping fuel companies from selling their products at prices considered to be “unconscionably excessive” and exploitative.

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The bill would give President Biden price-control powers that could last months or years due to the renewal clause inserted within it:

“The President may issue an energy emergency proclamation for any area within the jurisdiction of the United States, during which the prohibition in paragraph (1) shall apply, that includes the geographic area covered, the consumer fuel covered, and the time period that such proclamation shall be in effect.”

While the bill states that the proclamation “may not apply for a period of more than 30 consecutive days,” it can “be renewed for such consecutive periods, each not to exceed 30 days, as the President determines appropriate.”

It also includes “a period of time not to exceed 1 week before a reasonably foreseeable emergency.”

Pelosi said:

“Next week on the floor of the House, we will have another piece of our lowering-costs-for-the-American-people legislation for first House Democrats, led by [Washington] Congresswoman [Kim] Schrier and [California] Congresswoman [Katie] Porter introduced the ‘Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act.’

“While families are struggling to pay higher prices at the pump, oil and gas companies are recording record profits, with [the] seven largest oil companies announcing buybacks that could total $41 billion this year alone.

“Again and again, we see gas prices rise, sometimes when the cost of oil drops, oil prices drop, and price gouging needs to be stopped. This is a major exploitation of the consumer because this is a product that the consumer must have.

“Again, the Putin tax cut hike at the pump is a part of this, and you would think that the oil companies would compensate for that rather than exploit the opportunity that it — so in this bill, what this bill does [is] — price gouging needs to be addressed, including new tools at the FTC [Federal Trade Commission] to address those abuses.

“Our bill enables the president to issue an energy emergency declaration making it unlawful to increase gas and home energy prices in an exploitative and excessive way, which is part of the business plan of these companies.”

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Daily Wire noted:

“Violations of the order would be treated as an unfair or deceptive trade practice, and enforced by the FTC. The bill instructs the FTC to prioritize sellers with total wholesale or retail sales of more than $500 million annually for enforcement.

“The bill also sets up a ‘Consumer Relief Trust Fund’ to deposit fines collected by the FTC while enforcing an energy emergency. Those funds would be distributed to low-income households via the Department of Health and Human Services’ ‘Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program’ and the Department of Energy’s ‘Weatherization Assistance Program.’

“Democrats have continued to press short-term, demand side solutions, such as rebate programs and gas cards, to soaring gas prices, which broke new record highs on Wednesday at $4.40 a gallon, according to AAA.

“The Biden administration has also called for oil companies to increase supply right away. But the administration canceled an enormous oil and gas lease sale in Alaska and two sales under consideration in the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday.”

Are U.S. oil companies responsible for lowering retail fuel prices?

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, which covers the state of Texas, 26 parishes in northern Louisiana and 18 counties in southern New Mexico, noted on May 10:

 “Even though the price of oil makes up over half of the retail price of gasoline, oil companies play an extremely limited role in how retail gasoline prices are set.

“While U.S. retail gasoline prices in many regions have remained stubbornly high since March, this situation reflects frictions in the retail gasoline market rather than the supply of oil or the price of oil.

“We discuss why, in many regions, pump prices have not fallen as quickly as oil prices have recently and explain why this asymmetry need not be an indication of price gouging.

“Finally, we examine the obstacles to substantially increasing U.S. oil production. We make the case that even under the most favorable circumstances, higher production growth is unlikely to materially lower global oil prices—and, thus, U.S. retail gasoline prices—in the foreseeable future.”

The Federal Reserve Bank also noted that gas retailing involves a complex supply chain and that only 1 percent of service stations in the U.S. are actually owned by companies that also produce oil:

“Before a gallon of gasoline is pumped into a car’s tank, it has traveled through a complex supply chain.

“Independent oil and gas companies—those without refining assets—are responsible for 83 percent of U.S. oil production and about half of the oil consumed in this country.

“Oil is sold in competitive markets at prices reflecting global supply and demand. It is refined into gasoline, diesel and other fuels whose prices are similarly set in competitive markets.

“Fuels are then sent to more than 400 U.S. distribution facilities, from which they are sold and delivered to retailers and end users at another price depending on local conditions.

“Gas station operators set retail prices based on their expected acquisition cost for the next delivery of fuel from the local distributor, federal and state tax rates, and a markup that covers operating expenses, such as rent, delivery charges and credit card fees.

“Since only 1 percent of service stations in the U.S. are owned by companies that also produce oil, U.S. oil producers are in no position to control retail gasoline prices.”

The bank also suggested that the slow decline of fuel prices was not an automatic sign of price gouging:

“Given that crude oil accounts for 59 percent of the cost of gasoline, a 34 percent increase in the price of oil should imply a 20 percent increase in the retail gas price. Likewise, a 22 percent decline in the price of oil should translate to a 13 percent decline in the pump price. However, that did not happen at the national level.”

Through a chart, the bank showed that the spot price of gasoline (the price of gasoline at the refinery gate), as proxied by the prompt contract for New York Mercantile Exchange RBOB gasoline, generally rose and fell with the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil, and it noted:

“However, the response of U.S. pump prices has been highly asymmetric. While the price of retail gasoline cumulatively rose about as much as expected following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, recent national retail gasoline prices dropped only 6 percent from the March peak, far less than the expected 13 percent.

“This indicates that retail gasoline prices remaining persistently high was not the result of an oil shortage or high oil prices. Rather, the elevated retail gasoline prices must be attributed to events in the U.S. retail gasoline market beyond the control of oil producers.”

The bank further pointed out:

“Moreover, the asymmetry of the response of retail gasoline prices need not be evidence of price gouging. One potential explanation is that station operators are recapturing margins lost during the upswing, when gas stations were initially slow to increase pump prices.

“The reluctance to lower retail prices also likely reflects concerns that oil prices—and, hence, wholesale gasoline prices—may quickly rebound, eating into station profit margins.

“Another possible reason for this asymmetry is consumers’ tendency to more intensively search for lower pump prices as gasoline prices rise than when they decline.

“This diminished search effort provides further pricing power to gas stations, causing prices to fall more slowly than they rose. This has prompted researchers to liken the response of gasoline prices to higher oil prices to a rocket—and the response to lower oil prices to a feather.

“Yet another potential explanation for this asymmetry is that seasonal demand tends to increase as the weather warms, supporting higher retail prices.”

The Federal Reserve Bank also reported that prices do not uniformly change across the country and suggested that “price-reduction policies that treat all regions of the country the same are unlikely to be effective at curing the root causes of the asymmetry in the aggregate retail price response.”

In addition, oil producers are facing difficulties with increasing production. The bank noted:

“Consumers and policymakers often ask what domestic oil producers can do to raise output and lower gasoline prices, especially since producers’ profitability has greatly improved in 2022.

“Because the price of crude oil is determined in global markets, increases in domestic oil production affect the retail price of gasoline only to the extent that they lower global oil prices.

“Many observers point out that oil companies currently hold nearly 9,000 permits to drill on federal lands. But holding 9,000 permits does not equate to 9,000 well locations that are worth drilling, nor would it be possible to churn through that much inventory in a reasonable time frame.

“Data provider Enersection found that since 2015, an average of 1,560 wells have been drilled on federal lands annually, but only 47 percent of federal permits issued were actually utilized. This is because companies tend to acquire permits on the acreage they lease even if they are not certain whether the location is worth developing.”

Producers and service companies are also constrained by labor shortages, rising input costs and supply-chain bottlenecks like other businesses are currently facing.

An industry that lacks experienced staff and materials cannot on short notice substantially increase drilling and production. 

Finally, the bank said that even under the most optimistic view, U.S. production increases would likely add only a few hundred thousand barrels per day above current forecasts:

“This amounts to a proverbial drop in the bucket in the 100-million-barrel-per-day global oil market, especially relative to a looming reduction in Russian oil exports due to war-related sanctions that could easily reach 3 million barrels per day.

“Placing the responsibility to lower retail gasoline prices on shale oil producers is thus unlikely to work, and additional regulation of oil producers is unlikely to lower pump prices.”

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