James Eli Shiffer, the Star Tribune’s watchdog and data editor, digs into data and documents to uncover the news. Reach him at 612-673-4116, james.shiffer@startribune.com or follow him on Twitter at @jameselishiffer. Tell us what to investigate. Send your story tips to whistleblower@startribune.com.

St. Paul refuses license to taxi driver who used meth to stay awake

Posted by: James Eli Shiffer Updated: July 16, 2014 - 12:50 PM

Taxi driver Patrick Murphy's trouble with the city of St. Paul began with an encounter with police in a Super America station at Snelling and Englewood last October. The police, who were watching the station, nabbed a guy they suspected of buying a dime bag of marijuana inside Murphy's taxi. A judge's ruling lays out what happened after police approached Murphy, here called the "Licensee":

Licensee admitted to police, following notice of his Miranda rights, that he had sold marijuana to a particular man inside Licensee’s taxicab and that he had previously sold marijuana to that man. Licensee admitted that he had additional marijuana in his taxi cab as well as “meth.” Licensee advised the police that he did not sell “meth,” but rather used it himself to help with long hours driving his taxicab.

Despite what appeared to be a full confession, Murphy was never booked or prosecuted for any crime. Still, the city found out about the situation and sent him a letter May 9 indicated it intended to revoke his license, saying his actions violated city ordinances.

Murphy appealed the case to the Office of Administrative Hearings. On July 3, Administrative Law Judge Jim Mortenson recommended upholding the city's decision. Mortenson noted that Murphy refused to stipulate to the facts, but did not challenge them with specifics or offer a different story.

"The city of St. Paul, and the public in general, are entitled to be safe from the potential violence often associated with illegal drug trafficking and impaired driving," the judge wrote. "The revocation of the license, in this case, is a logical remedy to mitigate the risks associated with the Licensee’s admitted illegal activities in his taxicab."

I could not reach Murphy for comment. He no longer lives at the residence where his revocation order was sent.

Here's the ruling:

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT