A 2015 decision of the Georgia Supreme Court has created a puzzle for drunken driver enforcement. In Georgia (and other states), blood alcohol tests are "voluntary" (to bypass the issue of whether drivers can be forced, or even pressured, to endure a test that ultimately helps convict them), but the Georgia court has ruled, against custom, that a "consenting" driver might be "too" drunk to appreciate the consent — in which case, the test results would be inadmissible in court. Equally awkwardly, prosecutors would be forced to argue that the drunken driver — too drunk to handle a motor vehicle — was still sober enough to give knowledgeable consent. Atlanta's WSB-TV reported in October that judges statewide are grappling with the issue.
Familiar (but weird) behaviors
Funerals and burials, in the United States and elsewhere, are no longer always so staid. Most famously, one man was, per his instructions, lowered to the ground inside his beloved Cadillac; dressing corpses in fanciful outfits (such as the Green Lantern) is not unheard of. In October, after Jomar Aguayo Collazo, 23, was killed in a shootout in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the family outfitted his body in his favorite blue tracksuit and propped him up at a table in his mother's tavern ("playing" dominoes and holding a drink) — as friends and relatives passed by to pay their respects.
In October, a 20-year-old Michigan man became the most recent alleged drunken driver to reveal himself in the most awkward of ways: by accidentally swerving into the midst of a sheriff's deputies' roadside stop — of another alleged drunken driver. (Coincidentally, both arrestees are 20 and registered matching 0.17 blood-alcohol readings.)
"Service" animals are ones that have been specially trained to provide help for people with disabilities, but untrained "comfort" animals are also privileged for those diagnosed with panic attacks or depression. In an October report on college students hoping to keep their pets in no-animal dorms, the New York Times noted that school officials have entertained student requests for the "comfort" of (besides dogs and cats) lizards, potbellied pigs, tarantulas, ferrets, guinea pigs and "sugar gliders" (nocturnal, flying, 6-ounce Australian marsupials). Informal Justice Department guidelines rule out only animals that are aggressive or destructive or that trigger other students' allergies.
In September, Audrey McColm, 25, who was stopped in Randolph County, Ind., for driving "erratic(ally)," became the latest parent ratted out by her child. When Mom denied having been drinking, her son, 7, blurted out, "Yes, you have, Mom." McColm registered 0.237, had nearly hit another officer's car head-on, and was so hammered that she "urged" a different officer to "shoot her in the head."
In October, the Washington Post and the New York Post separately reported episodes of government agencies keeping high-earning employees on the payroll with no job assignment, because the agencies were unable to adjudicate their misconduct cases. Almost 100 shelved Homeland Security employees turned up in a Washington Post Freedom of Information Act request, and one information technology analyst warehoused by the New York City employee pension fund said she had earned $1.3 million over 10 years doing absolutely no work for the city. "I watched movies," said Niki Murphy. "I crocheted — right in front of [supervisors]."
High school principal George Kenney believes he has a gift to aid students' concentration abilities — hypnotism — and practiced it extensively at North Port High in Sarasota, Fla., until 2011, when three of his students died in separate incidents (two by suicide). The Sarasota school board did not close the chapter until October 2015 when it granted $200,000 settlements to the families of the three students. The lawsuits complained of Kenney's unlicensed "medical procedure," which altered the "underdeveloped" teenage brain — but Kenney, now retired, had also pointed to improvements in studying by other students.
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