George Maloof, Las Vegas Mogul, Arrested for Drunk Driving

George MaloofGeorge Maloof, owner of the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas and part owner of the Sacramento Kings, was arrested on Saturday, October 9 in Las Vegas for drunk driving.

Maloof was pulled over while driving home with his assistant from a friend’s wedding at The Mirage. His BAC level was .086—just over the Nevada legal limit of .08. He admitted to consuming four beers during the event and felt “nowhere near intoxicated” when he got into the car.

This was irrelevant to the arresting officer who pulled him over for driving 20 – 30 miles over the speed limit, having no proof of insurance or valid driver’s license, and making an illegal left turn. Maloof spent the night in jail and opted not to post bail. He has taken full responsibility for his actions and claims that it will never happen again. Because he was so close to the legal limit, Maloof says he may fight the DWI charge in court.

In Nevada a first-time DWI can result in any combination of the following: a 90-day driver’s license revocation, two days jail time, a fine of $400 – 1,000, and mandatory DWI classes. Had Maloof been arrested in Minnestoa, he would have likely been charged with a fourth degree DWI, the penalty for which is a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 90 days in jail.

The type of BAC test administered to Maloof has not been reported. Maloof’s defense attorneys could explore a few possible legal avenues in fighting the DWI charge—all of which are dependent on the nature of the BAC test:

Maloof could fight this on the G.E.R.D. issue. Las Vegas police use the Intoxilyzer 5000 to test BAC levels through breath, the same device used by Minnesota law enforcement. The device has been under scrutiny for some time now, causing many open DWI cases to be put on hold until further legislation rules on the Intoxilyzer 5000’s validity. Defense attorneys claim that contaminates other than alcohol in one’s throat, mouth, and lungs can cause inaccurate results. If Maloof suffers from Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (G.E.R.D.), he could have given an inexact BAC reading—giving him legitimate grounds for defense.

If Maloof had an independent urine test conducted after the state test and his BAC was on the way down (not up), then his results could come back lower than .08. This is because it often takes a while for an independent tester to get to the station. As long as it had been a while since Maloof’s last drink, his independent test results would probably be lower than 0.086.

If Maloof had an independent blood test conducted after the state test and his BAC was on the way down (because it had been a while since his last drink), then his results could come back lower than 0.086.

Even if Maloof’s attorneys are able to cast doubt on the BAC test, he could still be found guilty of a DWI based on his additional charges of speeding and making an illegal left turn. In Minnesota drivers may be convicted of a DWI if they are driving erratically with a BAC of as low as .04—even though the legal limit is .08. However, prosecutors find such a case harder to prove because the determination “erratic” driving is based solely on the arresting officer’s word. Juries tend to convict more when the BAC test is ruled valid by the courts, because the scientific nature of the test is much more objective.

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NY Jets Wide Receiver, Braylon Edwards, Issued DWI

Braylon EdwardsNew York Jets wide receiver, Braylon Edwards, was arrested for drunk driving on Tuesday, September 21. Police pulled Edwards over around 5:00 a.m. because his windows were illegally tinted; but Edwards received more than just a simple citation. The arresting officer reports that the car reeked of alcohol and Edwards, who blew a BAC level of .16—twice the legal limit, was the source.

Edwards began his night around 8:00 p.m. by attending a charity poker event in Manhattan, where he was seen double-fisting cocktails. As the night progressed, Edwards continued to drink. He told the arresting officer that his last drink came at around 4:00 a.m.

Jets management expressed their disappointment in Edwards’ judgment and said they would take appropriate disciplinary measures upon conviction. Most disappointing of all is the fact that Edwards chose to drive himself instead of using a team-sponsored shuttle service that provides players out on the town with a free ride at any time, day or night.

Edwards is still on probation for a misdemeanor aggravated disorderly conduct charge he received last year for assaulting a man in Cleaveland, Ohio. This DWI charge may be viewed as a violation of his probation and could ultimately result in jail time.

On top of the legal concequences, Edwards faces a possible NFL fine of up to $50,000. The Jets could also choose to impose their own punishment by benching or suspending their star player.

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MN State Representative Mark Buesgens Charged With DWI

Mark BuesgensMinnesota State Representative, Mark Buesgens, was charged with a DWI on Saturday, September 18 after Wright County police found him driving his car around in a ditch. Buesgens faces three misdemeanor charges surrounding the incident—two related to the DWI itself, the third for having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle.

Buesgens must now wait for his October 27 court date. Less than a week later, Scott County voters will decide whether or not to elect Buesgens to a seventh term in the House.

This marks the second drunk driving arrest of a Minnesota political official in the last two months. Buesgens’ DWI arrest follows shortly after Mankato Mayor John Brady’s DWI charge in August.

Until recently Buesgens worked closely with Tom Emmer in his campaign for Minnesota governor and also acted as a consultant to the Minnesota Republican Party. He has since resigned from both positions.

No information has been released yet regarding Buesgens’ BAC level or any aggravating factors that may have been present at the time of his arrest. At minimum he will likely face a fourth degree DWI, which is punishable by payment of a fine of up to $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail. But the civil consequences of such a charge may outweigh the criminal consequences for Buesgens and his campaign.

Since the arrest, Buesgens has publicly apologized and promised to seek treatment.

Click here to see a video of Buesgens’ arrest.


U of MN Fraternities Shut Down Parties Following Sexual Assaults

U of MN Fraternities

University of Minnesota fraternities have imposed a ban that restricts alcohol at Greek parties after three reported sexual assaults in the past month. The interfraternity council, which oversees 24 fraternities at the school, voted unanimously on October 3, 2010 to restrict consumption of alcohol at fraternity sponsored parties until further notice.

The ban follows the third reported sexual assault at a frat house in three weeks. The latest report came from a 19-year-old student who claims she was assaulted at the Phi Gamma Delta house on Friday September 30. The two weeks prior, sexual assaults were reported at the Chi Psi and Delta Kappa Epsilon houses. Minneapolis Police have begun an investigation of all three cases.

The interfraternity council has also issued a four year suspension to the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity for violation of council policy.

Fraternity leaders and U of MN staff alike believe that alcohol plays a major role in these assaults. Donna Dunn, executive director of the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault says that “In 75 percent of college sex assaults, the offender, the victim or both have been drinking.”

As long as the ban stays in place fraternities are allowed to host dry parties, and house residents over 21 can drink. However, if guests are present, drinking is forbidden. The council itself will be in charge of enforcing the new rule.

U of MN administrators support the council’s decision as a short-term fix, and have agreed to work with the fraternities on more long-term solutions.

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Wally the Beer Man Suspended for Selling to Minor at Twins Game

Wally the Beer ManLegendary Twins beer vendor, Wally the Beer Man, was suspended on September 30 for selling beer to a minor at Target Field. The bust was part of a 21-vendor sting in which Wally and seven other beer slingers were suspended from their jobs through the playoffs.

Wally the Beer Man (Walter McNeil, 76) has been an icon at Minnesota sporting events for 40 years, gaining a fan following that rivals many athletes.

McNeil was purportedly selling beer to two men at the Twins game on Thursday, when a third man standing next to them asked for a Michelob Golden Light. “He looked like he was over 30,” Wally said. “I ID everyone all day every day, for 40 years. … It must have been a lapse.” This is Wally’s first citation in his 40-year career as beer hawker.

The situation doesn’t sit well with Attorney Appelman. “Do we really want our tax dollars funding full-on clandestine operations to get beer hawkers like Wally suspended?” said Appelman. “Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not for serving alcohol to minors. But I’m also not for shady operations that prevent these beer slingers from putting food on their tables.”

Since his suspension fans have set up “Free Wally” Facebook pages and Twitter accounts in the hopes of restoring the Beer Man’s job. Delaware North Sportservice, the company that employs all Target Field vendors, is sticking with its decision to suspend the busted vendors, but Wally will still be slinging beers during the playoffs. Minneapolis bar, Sneaky Pete’s, has offered the man a job selling beers at their place during the Twins’ playoff run.

Sneaky Pete’s is honored to have the Minnesota sports legend serving at their bar. According to manager Leslie Hafiz, “Target Field’s loss is Sneaky Pete’s gain.”

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