Thanksgiving Weekend Can Be Deadliest Holiday for DUIs

Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday of the year when it comes to drunk driving, according to Corso Law Group.

“Many people incorrectly assume that New Year’s Eve is responsible for the most drunk-driving deaths,” said John M. Rhude, Esq, of Corso Law Group. “In reality, Thanksgiving Day accounts for more fatalities related to DUIs than any other holiday. And because people don’t take it seriously, the fatality statistics continue to remain high.”

According to a 2009 Forbes magazine study, an average of 401 people die each year on New Year’s Day, the fifth worst holiday for drunk driving. The worst is Thanksgiving, with an average of 567 deaths each year. And a 2010 study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that year’s Thanksgiving holiday to be the most dangerous of the year.

Both Rhude and his founding law partner Christopher P. Corso, Esq. believe many people simply let their guard down during the long Thanksgiving weekend, with the day-long festivities encouraging them to not only drink more, but incorrectly assess how much alcohol they’ve consumed over the course of the holiday.

“And then after all of the meals, these same people get in their car and drive home,” he said. “And with Black Friday shopping sales beginning on Thanksgiving now, that puts a lot of families on the road with drunk drivers.”

Both lawyers know from experience the Arizona DUI arrests that can arise during the Thanksgiving weekend. Both attorneys previously prosecuted DUIs, DWIs and OUIs for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. Combined, Corso Law Group have handled more than 15,000 DUI cases as prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Arizona law requires that any person found guilty of drinking and driving (even a first offense) serve jail time. And DUI convictions can also include extensive fines up to $2,500, suspension of driving privileges and the installation of an ignition interlock device – even for first offenders.

“DUI is a serious offense and something that no person should take lightly,” Corso said. “When you’re armed with the facts, it makes it even more vital that you have a designated driver if you plan on drinking – especially on Thanksgiving.”

Tempe Police Officer Resigns After Criminal Investigation

Jessica Dever-Jakusz, a Tempe police officer, resigned earlier this month because of her involvement in a criminal investigation for hindering prosecution.

Dever-Jakusz was a part of the show “Job Swap”, where she went to Switzerland for a week to patrol driving violations of citizens in Zurich. She received national attention for her participation in the show and her colleagues told CBS 5 that she was a “well-liked, well-respected officer.” Jessica Dever-Jakusz

The allegations surrounding Dever-Jakusz have been handed down to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. The investigation stemmed from allegations that Dever-Jakusz had slept with a drug dealer she was trailing.

Before the nature of the allegations became public, an internal statement Tempe police Chief, Tom Ryff said, “I can confirm that Jess’ decision to resign was voluntarily [sic] in nature and for reasons which are personal to her and her family. Additionally, I can confirm that an active criminal investigation related to the crime of hindering prosecution was undertaken based upon evidence discovered and as such, the matter was recently forwarded to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for a charging review.”

[Click here to read the full police report (PDF)]

According to kpho.com, Dever-Jakusz also disclosed to her “lover” the fact that there was an ongoing drug investigation along Mill Avenue and that she was assigned to him.

Dever- Jakusz has been with the Tempe Police Department since 2000 and her husband, Garrett Denver, is a police officer with the Chandler Department.

Garrett Denver is under a non-criminal, internal investigation.

Free Speech? Football Player Suspended After Reading a Poem

An Ohio football player, Nick Andre, was suspended from Rittman High School for four days and kicked off his football team after writing a poem about his frustration with the team.

Andre wrote the poem, which he titled “Stupid”, as part of a project in his English class. Andre felt that he was just expressing his opinion and had the right to speak out under free speech.

The principal of Rittman claimed that his poem was a form of harassment and bullying.

Andre said he was astonished by his school’s reaction to the poem because he was doing an assignment for class and did not think that it would cause the problem it did. He told Fox 8 News, “It’s like wow, just over doing my school work I get in trouble, get thrown off the football team … (and) get suspended for four days, which could potentially really mess up my grades,”

The poem references the coach of the football team and a “star-player” who constantly “misses passes”. Andre did not use any names but the head football coach is Bill Dennis, who has a son on the team and is committed to play at Akron University.

Andre’s mother is also not happy about the principal’s decision to suspend her son from school and kick him off the football team, expressing that it is not a form of bullying when the teacher asked her students to write a poem about something that they were frustrated with.

This story has become national news and is making headlines all over the country because many believe Andre’s actions to be protected by free speech and that he should not be punished for expressing his feelings.

Here’s the poem in question:

“Losing season,

Favoritism,

Non stop passes from best friend to best friend,

Continuously doing what doesn’t work,

The inability to separate being a father and a coach,

Dropped passes,

But yet still the “super star”,

Yeah right.

Where’s my scholarship?

I can drop passes,

Run backwards,

Miss tackles,

And be afraid to take a hit.

That’s top of the line Div. 1 material right there.

If that’s what they wanted,

They definitely got it.

This whole town will be glad when he’s gone.

For anyone who doesn’t understand what I’m saying,

AKRON’S SCREWED!”

Amado Retrial Sheds Light on Brady List Violation

Randall Amado, a Crips gang member in California, was convicted of aiding and abetting a senseless murder in 1998.

Amado’s gang hung out at a bus stop in Los Angeles along a bus route that would also pass through the gang area of the Crips’ rivals, the Bloods. The Bloods rode the bus through the Crips territory and would often taunt the Crips. Amado and others from his gang decided to take matters into their own hands and get on the bus, ultimately murdering one person with a handgun.

Amado was found guilty of the murder with the help of a crucial witness in the case who stated that he saw Amado carrying a gun and walking towards the bus and then fleeing the scene of the crime.

Prosecutors failed to disclose that the witness had committed robbery, was on probation and was a known gang member. Amado requested a retrial in light of this and the California court denied because of harmless error.

The court ruled harmless error because even with this new information about the key witness, they believed the defendant still would be found guilty of the crime.

In 2011, nearly thirteen years later, Amado’s defense team requested a retrial once again, citing Brady v. Maryland, where critical information was withheld from a case, with the defendant successfully arguing that such information was against violated the 14th Amendment and the right to due process.

The court found that a Brady violation was committed during Amado’s original trial and a retrial was ordered this week. The court also granted writ of habeas corpus and the defendant was to be released from custody unless the district attorney initiated proceedings for a new trial quickly.