During a year full of questionable uses of force by law enforcement, many questions and concerns have come into the spotlight. Thanks, in part, to the media, national attention has been drawn to the idea that perhaps everyone is not equal under the law.
In certain instances officers have seen accusations of excessive force and, more recently, even false imprisonment for illegal arrests. A young man named Freddie Gray was recently arrested, and, subsequently, declared dead, all for carrying a knife; an act that is legal in Baltimore. The State’s Attorney for Baltimore made headlines by issuing charges against these officers for false imprisonment for arresting Gray without probable cause. If this is the result, as it has been alleged, of a system that disfavors the poor and the underprivileged, how does the proverbial other half live? A quick look into the case that never was, The State of Florida v. Tiger Woods, gives some insight into this question.
In 2009 Tiger Woods drove his Cadillac Escalade into a tree. His wife, Elin was at his heels as the beginning of what would become a lengthy tale of Woods’ infidelity came to light before the entire world.
Elin told officers on the scene that Woods had consumed alcohol earlier in the night. Paramedics and responding officers found Woods, having just crashed into a tree, asleep at the wheel and snoring. The officers recalled finding it odd that Woods had no head trauma yet remained unconscious for at least 10 minutes. Upon asking Elin if Woods was on any medication, a paramedic soon learned that Woods had been prescribed both Ambien and Vicodin. Trooper Joshua Evans submitted a Request for Investigative Subpoena to obtain the results of Woods’ blood tests from the hospital.
In the narrative, Evans explained, “The driver lost control of his vehicle…A witness stated that the driver had consumed alcohol…Also, the same witness stated that the driver was prescribed medication (Ambien and Vicodin).” Within the hour Trooper Evan’s request was denied.
The word privilege is rooted, as many English words are, in two Latin words privi and leg. The word literally means private law and flies in the face of the oft-quoted rule of justice that no one is above the law.
The story of Tiger Woods is arguably the story of privilege. One of the officers involved in the case said, “I have gotten subpoenas issued with a lot less evidence than that.” Because law enforcement was denied access to the blood test results, they were denied access to evidence of drunk driving. They were left with nothing more than a man who had driven his car into a tree. That alone allowed them to make a report and issue Woods a ticket for careless driving. The total for the ticket was $164 and Woods paid the officers in his home during a meeting that he allowed five days after the incident. Woods’ lawyer and his agent were at his side throughout this meeting. Thus ended the would-be case of Florida v. Tiger Woods.
If you have been issued a DUI or DWI, you may not be as lucky as Woods unless you have skilled legal representation. Don’t hesitate to contact Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Offices. Our Mankato DUI attorneys will help ensure your rights are protected throughout each step of your case.