Surprise Officers Arrest Man For DUI Who Registered 0.000 on Breathalyzer

Surprise_AZ_seal275px-BafometroI am beginning to get an idea of how Surprise, Arizona got its name. Jessie Thornton, 64, was arrested for driving under the influence after he passed a sobriety test. A later breathalyzer registered 0.000. The officer arrested him because his eyes were red. After Thornton explained that he was swimming, the officer was unconvinced and arrested him anyway.

Thornton was handcuffed and forced to sit on the curb despite telling the officer that he recently had hip surgery. The pain grew worse when he was put in the police cruiser and he asked an officer if she could move her seat up, but he says that she told him to stop whining. He was taken to the station and given the breathalyzer test and blew 0.000. He was then taken to a drug recognition expert who also cleared him. He was forced to get his car out of impoundment but the charges were dropped.

He is now suing and his lawyer alleges that the mistreatment was due to his client’s race. Thornton is African-American.

He is now suing for half a million dollars.

By the way, legend has it that the town was founded in 1938 by Flora Mae Statler, who named it Surprise as she “would be surprised if the town ever amounted to much.” With cases like this, it may be too early to tell.

Of course, Thornton’s reading was just .05 off the produced new blood alcohol level being pursued by the Administration. At a one drink limit, some people could pass a sobriety test and still be legally drunk.

Source: CBS

70 thoughts on “Surprise Officers Arrest Man For DUI Who Registered 0.000 on Breathalyzer”

  1. nick:

    come on, quit pallabering and get to work. More pen to paper and less parley.

    We got the John Birch Society, the Kochs, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Mises Institure and ARI to post for today.

    Between you, mahtso, G. Mason, Bron and others who post here, your work is cut out for you.

  2. Mike, I’m getting the distinct sense you think I’m stupid. And of course, you’re real smart. I’m really unworthy to engage w/ you on any topic but “sports and movies.” Let’s just leave it @ that. Have you seen 42?

    1. “Mike, I’m getting the distinct sense you think I’m stupid.”


      I’ve written copiously on my opinion of your behavior here and never once characterized you as “stupid” since not only are you far from it, but if you were really stupid I would have never replied to you out of pity. As to what you are I’ll let my words speak for themselves, but you are definitely misinterpreting me if you think I believe you’re stupid.

      As for “42” I haven’t been able to see it yet, but I will eventually. I actually was aware of Jackie Robinson in 1952 when my interest in Baseball really began.
      Born in Brooklyn, I was of course a Dodgers fan. While I saw him at a few games in Ebbets Field, mostly it was on TV. The Dodgers broadcast more games on TV than any other baseball team at the time and the announcer was the superb Vin Scully. Jackie was my second favorite player on the Dodgers after Duke Snider. The truth was though that Jackie was the best player on the team by far and that was a great team.

      I was until I became really sick in 2005 a rabid baseball fan and also somewhat of a baseball historian, especially statistically oriented. I mostly lost interest in the game after that because I no longer knew every starting lineup and pitching rotation and because of the steroid issue. since statistics were my great interest, once it became known that many records were probably broken due to juicing, baseball lost interest for me, except prior to 1990 when I think the skewing of the records was less apparent. The beauty of baseball for me was always in the fact that their long statistical record allowed someone to make comparisons of players throughout the ages. Also looking at a players career states alone you could make good suppositions about their careers and their lives.Look at Don Mattingly for instance and you can surmise that an injury cut short his potential HOF career. Herb Score is of course on of the greatest example.

      Now when it comes to Jackie I’m well aware of what he had to endure and it was despicable. I was thrilled when I first heard about “42” because history has sort of papered over the terrible hurdles he faced and that history should be recounted for a new generation. Sadly, what also got lost in the turmoil of his being the “first” is that Jackie was probably in the top tier of all time great ballplayers and by that I mean Ruth, Cobb, Gehrig, Johnson, Matthewson, etc.
      He was the most exciting ballplayer of his time, save for perhaps Ted Williams, Stan Musial and Mickey Mantle. He had all the tools and in his major league career he played every position and played them all at a high level of skill.
      His range factor at 2nd, 3rd, and Left ranks with the all time great fielders at those positions. Had he come up at 21, his sheer greatness as a player would have been apparent in his stats.

      Also you’re correct I am a Mets fan and hate the Yankees, although I appreciate some of the great players they’ve had. Such as Mickey Mantle, who never should be mentioned in the same category as my idol Duke Snider.
      Snider was a better CF before his knee injury, but couldn’t compare to Mantle as a batter, not even close. Willie Mays ranked with Mantle and of course was the best CF of the three. When they sing of “Willie, Mickey and the Duke”, it’s unfair to the first two.

  3. If you know ANYTHING about prison guards, and I believe your daughter is one, they don’t look for fights. Hacks are outnumbered and unarmed. The vast majority of fights are prison guards breaking up fights amongst inmates. You see, I have lived a varied and interesting life and know a lot of stuff. That’s the rub.

    1. “If you know ANYTHING about prison guards, and I believe your daughter is one”

      Where you got that information is a mystery to me. I have known some prison guards though and some were nice and some weren’t. However, like much else you fail to grasp my point. Also “knowing a lot of stuff” and understanding a lot of “stuff” are two different things. A distinction which is possibly difficult for you to realize.

  4. Bossman, When I worked @ Leavenworth that’s what inmates from down south, particularly Texas would call us hacks[guards]. Can I call you bossman?

  5. I forgot, your not liberal, or progressive, you are sans label. Although you have no problem calling me a right winger when anyone w/ an ounce of perspective knows I’m not. But, I don’t give a rat’s ass, I know who I am. I’ve been called a right winger, liar, embellisher, possible false anecdote, a “I can top that.” I’ve had the jobs I’ve held challenged, and much more horseshit. So, Mike I apologize for calling you a liberal, would you prefer jerk?

    1. Nick,

      I guess your boss wasn’t kidding about earning uour keep and we are back to the same old Nick. See the exchange above and show me where I attacked you, or called you names. When i try to engage in a discussion with you Nick, sans anger, it doesn’t go very far because it seems that anger seethes within you. Now even in my reply to you there was no attack, just an aswer to your question with no understones. However, Nick despite your protestations to the contrary you seem to want to fight. Quite sad that you are locked into the need for aggression and pretense of power. Is that the old prison guard in you?

  6. nick:

    Mike can be quite radical; such as his desire to end the Fed, shades of Midas Mulligan.

  7. Michael. It’s probably different in each area but I would venture to say probably 1/3rd to 1/2 of officers are equipped with PBTs unless the department has a dedicated traffic unit that is on duty all the time then it is usually the traffic units that only have them. They tend to be expensive, probably around $500 each so they are typically only issued to officers who actually will be using them. If the officer in this story had one, I thought they did but I was probably wrong, it might have prevented this from happening but if the officer was convinced the person must have then been under the influence of drugs it wouldn’t have mattered.

    I tend to believe the Drug Reco Expert was called in after the .000 reading where there must have been a suspcion (justifed or not I don’t know) that the man must have been drug impaired. Or it could have been a last ditch effort of CYA, again I don’t know.

    If someone here presented a copy of the arrest report which included Field Sobriety Test results it would be easier for me to make a more complete judgement.

    You mention that she might have interpreted the FST data because she had already come to the conclusion he was drunk due to the eye issue. That is quite possibly the case. It is one of the classic pitfalls any investigator can make if they are not careful, arriving at the conclusion and only looking during the course of the investigation at evidence that supports that preconception. (whether or not it is intentional or subconscious it does happen)

    It would be good to read the official reports though.

  8. Mike, That’s how cops handled drunk drivers during the 50/60’s. Maybe you’re just being nostalgic. I consider the evolution of our attitudes and laws toward drunk driving positive. You yearn for the past. That’s pretty conservative for a liberal guy.

  9. Oterray Scribe,
    The Surprise PD has a staff of 134, so the photo doesn’t tell me anything about the race of the officers involved in the arrest.

  10. Darren, thanks for response. I must be confusing the PBT with a “breathalyzer” but I had understood that officers typically administered a breath test at the stop, at least here in Texas. There is no mention of any breath test at the stop in the news story, so I assume none was given. How common is it that officers do not have a PBT with them? I would have thought something to measure BAC would be standard issue in just about every police department. If this cop had administered a breath test, then she might have avoided making this mistake.

    As a side note, the officer did give a field sobriety test and the report indicates that the arrest was made afterwards. Presumably, the officer thought he failed the FST. However, more sobriety tests were given at the station by a drug recognition officer and he apparently passed this test. This leads to the question as to why the discrepancy? Officer interpreted the test to get the result she already “knew” because of the blood shot eyes? Officer poorly trained/incompetent in administering the test? The guy did something to fail the test in the field but not at the station?

  11. MikeS, I agree w/ the aggressive drivers and add texters and telephone talkers. I have little doubt those drivers cause more accidents than drunk drivers. I will call in aggressive, drunk, drivers but usually get from the dispatcher,”thanks, we’ll see what we can do.” But, I still believe in aggressive enforcement of DUI laws and so we’ll just need to disagree. When I asked if you thought you and I were closer than you were to billy mack, it was a lighthearted attempt to infuse some positive energy into our usually acrimonious discourse. After reading billy, what do you think?

    1. Nick,

      I don’t agree with overturning DUI laws as he does. What he says though about “arresting” texters for instance is a slippery slope argument that I think has some merit. I think texters (with evidence) should get heavy fines, but I don’t agree with arresting them. Getting back to the subject of DUI laws though, should they be covered by criminal law or traffic law is a good question.

      I don’t think that criminalizing DUI is the best solution to it. For instance if someone is found to be driving drunk at a traffic stop, while they certainly should not be allowed to drive further at that point, perhaps arresting them isn’t the best solution. Their car should be towed with them paying the costs. They should be driven home and charged for the transportation and they should have to pay a heavy traffic fine. Sending this type of violator to jail, thus making them felons, has not worked to stop it. Economically punishing them could be much more effective.

      Now where it does become criminal is when someone is actually harmed through the actions of someone who is DUI. In this instance, not only do we have non-Dui laws on the books with which to criminally punish them, but I wouldn’t be opposed to having a DUI status call for a greater penalty, as in the laws adding time for using a weapon in a crime.

      I think that one of the things that is turning our country into a police state is over criminalization of many acts. A DUI arrest after a stop, is in essence a victimless crime and remains that way until someone is victimized. While the consequences of DUI can be horrific that is potential. It disturbs me that the potential for committing a crime should be dealt with in criminal court. The tendency of the U.S. to over-criminalize and to send people to jail disturbs me. With no large part being that the system as set up is not fair. If you are a non-White and if you are poor you are many more times likely to go to jail, or even be stigmatized by a lifelong criminal record, which tends to
      encourage criminality through engendering a “what the hell” attitude, that in the end encourages criminal behavior.

  12. nick spinelli —

    Speakiig of showing up – do you ever leave here? I see you poppong up in every comments section as though you are convinced the world awaits the benefits of your ___, no matter how peculiar or obtuse they usually are.

  13. billy mack, I knew you would be showing up, but that was quick. I’m trying to discern if you have a fellow believer in Mike Spindell. Why don’t you read his comments and give us your thoughts. I’m waiting on Mike’s thoughts.

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