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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

January 8, 2005

dui cherry cordials

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,lawyer news or ethics,Schenectady Synecdoche — David Giacalone @ 4:47 pm

cherriesSmG one-breath(alyzer) pundit We don’t often make national news here in the NYS Capital Region, but when we do, it often seems to involve various addictions, vices, and/or ditzy judges. One local criminal law story this week fits neatly in that rubric.

You see, Martha Hamlin of Averill Park, NY, is out on bail pending appeal of her one-year sentence for a DWI conviction (related to an accident in which her auto struck and killed a 17-year old boy). One condition of her bail is that she may not have any alcohol. She is checked six times a day, over the telephone, using a Sobrietor. As CapitalNews9 reported on Jan. 6th, “But at 8 a.m. on Dec. 26, her blood alcohol level checked in at .06.” Hamlin contends that her consumption was unintentional, because she ate a box of chocolate-covered cherries she had received as a Christmas present, which contained liquor. According to the Troy Record:

cherriesSm “After rising at 6 a.m. she consumed the entire box of cherries, along with several cups of flavored coffee, before the 8 a.m. reading, Hamlin said. By the time she spoke with [Probation Officer] Powell, her fiance had burned the package along with other Christmas trash, but a similar box notes chocolate liqueur as an ingredient, Hamlin says.”Apparently, still in the holiday spirit, Judge Anthony Carpinella chose to believe Hamlin, finding that the DA had not proven she had been drinking. As you might imagine, the District Attorney’s office disagrees [“to the point where you’re at .062, you’ve got to be eating a lot of chocolate.”], as does the victim’s mother [“Have you ever eaten that much chocolate and not thrown up? I mean, it’s ridiculous.”]. Hamlin’s victorious lawyer Charles J. Wilcox said: “I’m convinced that my client is telling the truth, and I think it’s unfortunate. But it’s perfectly human for someone to ingest candy.”

Local media engaged in some heavy investigative reporting on this issue: The Troy Record found out from the owner of a candy store that “that chocolate liqueurs can make up five percent of the candy’s weight, and that they are subject to the same regulation as beer or hard liquor. ‘The chocolate cherries are alcohol filled, and you have to be 21 to buy them. Some customers who have eaten many of these candies at a sitting tell her they feel the effects of alcohol, she said’.” More on point regarding the merits of the “cherry cordial defense,” John McLoughlin, the Falstaffian reporter for the local ABC affiliate, WTEN, decided to do his own testing:

“After buying three pounds of chocolate-covered cherries soaked in brandy, two WTEN employees agreed to eat nearly two pounds of the brandied cherries during a two hour period. “The women were then taken to the Albany Police Department’s Traffic Division where Officer William Wilson checked their sobriety. Both women registered zero readings for alcohol. “In Martha Hamlin’s case, she said she ate the candy for two hours that morning, the judge said two pounds of candy might equal four shot glasses of alcohol. Hamlin’s blood alcohol reading was .06, which is nearly three-quarters the legal limit for DWI.”

Personally, I’ve never liked cordial cherries very much. The last time I ate a boxful in one sitting, they gave me a stomach ache and a slightly dizzy feeling.

all night
under the cherry blossoms

………………………………… from Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue











butcherj Backyard Butchering Update: Last week, we explained that Schenectady, NY, major Brian U. Stratton wants to ban backyard butchering of livestock. Indeed, Corporation Counsel had noted that the ban would need to cover hunters in order not to be discriminatory (some citizens believe the ban is aimed at East Indian immigrants from British Guyana; see the NYT article on Schenectady’s Guyanese Strategy). Well, it looks like the deer-hunter lobby is too strong locally, as Mayor Stratton has announced that Butcher Bill to exempt game (Albany Times Union, Jan. 7, 2005). The public hearing on the proposal will be held Monday, Jan. 10, at City Hall.

growing old–
even the cherry blossoms
a bit annoying

he’s a mountain
cherry blossom-crazed
old man

a hot bath
a prayer
then cherry blossoms!

world of pain–
and the cherry blossoms
add to it!

…………………………………….. from Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

frozen river —
snow hides
the elm’s reflection

…………………… by dagosan









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