Masked superheroes

Rob Rogers

PA’s DUI/marijuana law is unconstitutional

I currently have an appeal pending in the Pennsylvania Superior Court regarding our DUI laws as they relate to the presence of marijuana in one’s system. The Pennsylvania ACLU has joined my appeal.

Here’s the press release my law office has prepared:Depositphotos_107920198_original-683x1024-1

The current DUI law punishes anyone with any amount of marijuana in their system and as such is unconstitutional, according to Fisher and Fisher Attorney Michael A. Ventrella of Stroudsburg. He has filed an appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court on this issue which has been joined by the Pennsylvania ACLU.

“The DUI law was written years ago, before there was legal marijuana in many states and before Pennsylvania provided for medical marijuana,” Ventrella explains. “The law says that if you have any amount of marijuana in your system while driving, you are automatically guilty of Driving Under the Influence even if the marijuana is no longer affecting you.”

The case on appeal concerns a driver who was pulled over for a taillight violation. The officer thought he smelled marijuana so requested the driver to give blood to prove he was not under the influence. No marijuana was found on the driver or in the car. The blood test came back with an inactive metabolite of marijuana in the driver’s system. He was charged and at his trial, the Commonwealth’s expert witness testified that an “inactive metabolite” meant that he had consumed the marijuana possibly days earlier and that the presence of the metabolite did not affect his driving in the slightest.

Under Pennsylvania DUI law, you can be charged with DUI if it is clear that your driving was impaired due to alcohol or drugs, but you can also be charged with DUI simply if there is the presence of marijuana in your system.

The court, bound by the law, found him not guilty of driving while impaired but guilty of DUI for having the marijuana in his system.

“This means that if you consume marijuana in a state where it is legal and then come to Pennsylvania, you can be prosecuted for DUI even if your driving was not impaired in the slightest,” Ventrella explained. “It also means that technically, anyone who has a medical marijuana card and uses their prescription legally can never drive in Pennsylvania.”

Ventrella pointed out in his brief to the Superior Court that the law punishes legal behavior and is therefore overbroad and unconstitutional. “The law needs to be rewritten to adjust to the changes that marijuana laws have had on society,” Ventrella says, “but the legislature of Pennsylvania has yet to do what other states have done to remedy the situation.”

The Pennsylvania ACLU joined in with the appeal and filed an amicus brief, emphasizing that the law does not define the word “metabolite” and is therefore vague and unconstitutional.

The Superior Court originally scheduled a hearing on the appeal for April but has cancelled it due to the corona virus shut-down. It is unclear whether it will be rescheduled or if the Court will simply make a decision based on the briefs.

Pence to the rescue

Chris Britt

 

Conservative logic

no change

Matt Bors

Republican “democracy”

luckovitch

Mike Luckovich

Bernie and the argument that a plurality is enough

At the recent Democratic debate, all of the candidates were asked if the convention should nominate the candidate with the most delegates even if it wasn’t a majority. Only Bernie said yes.

It used to be that each state would pick delegates to go to a convention and then, at the convention, they’d all debate and decide who should be the candidate. Then states started deciding that it would be better if delegates were committed to a specific candidate when they went, so they started having caucuses to decide this and then later primaries (which, in the history of this country, is a fairly new development). And even then, these committed delegates were allowed to change if no one candidate could get a majority.

Bernie and his supporters are now screaming and yelling that this is undemocratic and is just a ploy to keep Bernie from getting the nomination if he has the most delegates.

Apparently, this manipulative ploy is so devious that it was established long before Bernie was ever born, simply in an effort to keep him from becoming the candidate.

If Bernie doesn’t like the way the way the Democrats set their rules for the way they choose their candidate, maybe he should have worked to change it during all those years when he was a member of the party.  Oh, right.

Here’s why we should not nominate whoever has the most delegates.

Suppose Bernie ends up with 32% of the delegates and Biden has 31%. This is not a glowing endorsement for Bernie, is it? Should we really be handing the nomination to someone who maybe only has a one delegate advantage, especially when the majority of delegates there support someone else?

Or worse yet: Suppose Bloomberg manages to convince 32%? Clearly, 68% of the delegates wanted someone else. Bloomberg shouldn’t get the nomination when a majority doesn’t want him, should he? No, what should happen is what works in a democracy: compromise. Negotiations. Working to find a candidate that the majority can support.

Now if Bernie ends up with 49.9% of the delegates, then yeah, politically it’s probably a good idea for him to be nominated on the second ballot.  It would look terrible otherwise.

But to just make a blanket statement that it should go to the person with the most votes even if it is a minority of those voting is ridiculous.

Conservatives just want us all to be exactly like them

A right-wing troll who thought he was getting the better of me in a debate about “how liberals are forcing their views on everyone” said, “Oh yeah? Well, how many genders do you think there are anyway?”

I replied, “I don’t know and I don’t care. If people want to call themselves whatever gender they want or no gender at all, it doesn’t affect me in the slightest and I’ll call them whatever they want to be called because it makes them happy. The real question is: Why do you care?”

And that’s what a lot of conservative philosophy is about, isn’t it? Forcing everyone to live by their standards for things that don’t affect them personally in the slightest? Making everyone conform to what they believe?

“We don’t like abortions so you can’t have any. We don’t like gay marriage so you can’t get married. We believe in prayer in schools so you have to say our prayers. We think marijuana is bad so you can’t have any.”

Just leave us alone already. So many fights between liberals and conservatives would be over if they’d just leave us the fuck alone.

Be that guy

And before someone chimes in with “but liberals want to force us to do things all the time!” allow me to point out that those things do affect us. Your guns affect us. Giving you health care does affect all of us. Having good environmental policy does affect us.

What we’re not doing is passing laws telling you that you have to live your personal life according to our rules.

When conservatives talk about “freedom,” what they often really mean is “freedom to not have to do anything I don’t like” and “freedom to discriminate”: “Why is government telling me I have to serve gay people who I can’t stand? Why do they think they can regulate the environment so that I can’t burn my trash? Why do I have to pay taxes? Get the government off my back!”

Basically, conservatives want government off our backs in business and economic matters only (so they can get richer) but love having government involved in moral issues. Liberals want the exact opposite. We want government off our backs in moral issues but want government involvement in economics. And that’s because economics does affect us all.

And it’s all because they don’t like people who are different. They’d be thrilled if the entire country was white, Christian and straight. Anyone who steps out from the roles they want us to be in has to be criticized by them.

So don’t let any conservative try to tell you that you have to live your life according to their rules about how you should act, who you should love, what you should dress like, or anything that does not affect them personally. That’s what real freedom is.