Tag Archive for: Drugs

Southaven, MS Man Killed After Encounter With Police on LSD. Troy Goode, a healthy, 30-year old engineer with a wife and infant son, was, among many other things, a lifelong Widespread Panic fan. Like many who grew up listening to the band’s shows. Even those who grew up around a friend who constantly played the ‘Spread (perhaps to their annoyance), attending a Panic concert was a special event for Troy. And as he got older, as many of us find, the shows we are able to catch get fewer and farther between. As life begins to turn that young man’s freedom to travel into a fond, distant memory.

Unfortunately, Troy and his wife had to leave the show early due to Troy’s apparent intoxication. Troy began acting erratically, exiting the vehicle at one point, and soon drew the attention of the Southaven, MS police. Chief Tom Long of Southaven PD says the authorities were told that Troy was experiencing an “alleged LSD overdose.” Certainly we await results of an autopsy and toxicology report. The most cursory internet search reveals the concept of an “overdose on LSD” to be pure misconception at best, and sinister propaganda at worst. A preliminary autopsy report indicates that Troy died from a heart-related issue.

According to the family’s lawyer, Tim Edwards, Troy was acting “erratically,” but was not violent when the police forcibly subdued him. Of course, police must take every precaution. When approaching a potential suspect who appear to be on psychoactive drugs, are non-compliant and acting erratically. However, the manner in which Southaven PD subdued Troy is the real cause for concern. According to official police statements, eyewitness testimony, and cell phone video camera footage capturing the entire ordeal, what happened next was as follows:

1. This man was taken to the ground by an officer who then subdued him by sitting on his back;
2. During his arrest, officers restrained Troy’s arms and legs by “hog-tying” them behind his back;
3. Troy was then placed face-down on a stretcher;
4. He reportedly communicated to officers multiple times that he was struggling to breathe (note – Troy had asthma);
5. Troy was kept in this position (and thus not taken to the hospital) for over an hour, according to eyewitness reports.

The District Attorney John Champion refuses to say “hog-tied.” According to Champion, “… I refuse to use that term, because that’s not what this is.” Troy was placed in leg irons, which were then attached to the handcuffs he had on behind his back. Champion further stated that in his opinion, the way the officer used the leg irons on Troy was “within the law.” While I certainly hope Mr. Champion is incorrect about the legality of the use of leg irons and handcuffs in tandem behind a person’s back, even if he is correct, this practice should be reviewed given the risk of positional asphyxiation presented by “hog-tying” (I have no problem with using the term – I’ve seen a hog tied, and I am sorry to report that on video, it appears Troy was restrained in a very similar manner). Even on LSD he should have been handled differently.

Troy was eventually taken to Baptist Hospital. After a couple of hours, Troy’s family got a call from the police, saying that Troy’s condition was “stable,” but that if any family showed up at the hospital to check on their family member, they would be arrested for “obstruction of justice.” Soon after this exchange, an employee of the hospital called the family to inform them that Troy had passed away.

This story has had a surprisingly mixed response in Alabama. While many express sympathy and extend condolences to the family of the deceased, some seem to take this opportunity to advance their “anti-drug” agenda, and others outright blame Troy for his own death. It’s this last group I’d like to address here:

You are essentially arguing that “if he hadn’t taken LSD, he wouldn’t be dead.” And in all likelihood, that is a true statement. But it is also a useless statement. It’s like saying “if I hadn’t bought her that car, she never would have died in that car crash.” The argument does away with the relevant proximate cause of the death, and substitutes what is known as actual, “but-for” cause. This second conception of causation is infinitely broader than proximate cause (ie the real reason Troy is dead v. the million different decisions he hypothetically could have made that day and ended up alive).

In short, to blame Troy for his death because he took LSD is to ignore the most salient facts we have that offer a more plausible explanation for his death than “LSD overdose.” Between the anxiety of forcible restraint, the pre-existing asthma condition and ignored complaints from Troy that he couldn’t breathe, it appears his LSD intake (estimated as being 4-5 “hits”) is the least likely cause of his death.

The police have a difficult and dangerous job. They regularly encounter dangerous individuals on mind-altering substances. They are charged with the duty of enforcing the laws of their jurisdiction, but are not trained as lawyers. The police make mistakes. However, it appears this death was totally avoidable, and practices such as “hog-tying,” treatment complaints of asphyxiation, and police response to reports of people suspected of being on psychedelic drugs, are all issues that need to be examined. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Troy Goode. You can donate to Troy’s family at the link below:


Columbiana Police Arrest 16 in Synthetic Drug Sweep. A nationwide drug operation, dubbed Project Synergy, has led to the arrest of 16 individuals by the Columbiana Police Department.  Officers seized more than 400 grams of synthetic and real marijuana, as well as other narcotics during the statewide raid.  It is believed that the estimated street value of the narcotics seized is around $15,000.

In total, Alabama law enforcement agencies made 38 arrests and seized more than 200 pounds of synthetic drugs in the 10-county raid that took place on May 7, 2014.  The counties targeted by agents in Alabama were: Houston, Montgomery, Lee, Dallas, Jefferson, Shelby, DeKalb, Etowah, Morgan, and Madison.

More than 35 federal, state, and local agencies also seized $500,000 and 19 guns as part of the national drug takedown that was led by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Project Synergy is a joint operation between the DEA, Customs and Border Protection, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and local law enforcement agencies.  The raid specifically targets manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and wholesalers dealing in over 250 different types of synthetic drugs.  Most of these synthetic drugs are being manufactured in China. After that, are being sold by retailers who send profits back to the Middle East.

Columbiana Police Arrest 16 in Synthetic Drug Sweep conclusion: Initial phases of Project Synergy began in December 2012. This led to more than 227 arrests and 416 search warrants in 35 states.

For more informative blogs by Alabama Oustide Counsel click here.

Three Arrested in Jefferson County Drug Bust. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on Wednesday documenting the arrests of three men accused of trafficking methamphetamine from Georgia to west Jefferson County, and of selling heroin.  However, the arrests come at the conclusion of a four month long investigation conducted by the sheriff’s office that began in October of 2013.

According to the press release, the three suspected drug dealers had been purchasing large quantities of meth from a dealer in Atlanta, GA, and selling it within Jefferson County. On February 28th narcotics investigators executed a search warrant for a home in the 4600 block of Birmingport Road in Mulga and found the suspects in possession of 19 ounces of the drugs.  Chief Deputy Randy Christian said the amount was enough for 532 individual doses of heroin, plus meth with a street value of roughly $106,500.  An unknown amount of GHB was also recovered at the home.

The three suspects arrested on meth trafficking charges were:

  • David Leigh of Mulga
  • Bradley Gipson of Edgewater
  • Matthew McGaha of Morris

Sheriff Mike Hale classified Gipson and Leigh as “mid-level” drug dealers.

Three Arrested in Jefferson County Drug Bust conclusion: McGaha, 32, has since been released from jail after he posted a $50,000 bond, Gipson, 23, remains jailed in lieu of a $52,000 bond and Leigh, 34, is held in lieu of a $152,000 bond.

Sheriff Hale held a press conference at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, he praised the community for the tips they provided to investigators which played a huge role in the drug bust.

Justin Bieber arrested for DUI. On January 23, 24, Justin Bieber was arrested for DUI.  Unfortunately, Bieber provided a voluntary urine sample to the police.  According to reports, this urine sample has now come back. It provided a positive test result for both marijuana and alprazolam (Xanax).  Based upon reports from the police department, Bieber was unable to provide a breath sample at the police station upon initial requests.  Bieber attempted to grab the hose from the breath-testing device several times.   The police were able to convince Bieber to stop grabbing the hose from the breath-testing device. Reports show that Bieber did not provide a sufficient breath sample to test his breath alcohol content.  Reports further state that Bieber eventually provided a sample with a reading of .14 and .11.

This marks the first time Bieber has been arrested.  Since this arrest on January 23, 2014, Bieber has once again been arrested for an assault. However, allegedly occurred on December 30, 2013 after a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game.  On January 29, 2014, Bieber filed a not-guilty plea prior to his arraignment. Currently scheduled for February 14, 2014 for the DUI charge.

While Bieber was charged with DUI in Florida, the State of Alabama provides two sections for which someone arrested for DUI under theses circumstances could be charged.  First, in the State of Alabama under Alabama Code 32-5A-191(1) a person can be arrested for a blood alcohol content of .08% or better.  Second, a person can be charged for DUI under Alabama Code 32-5A-191(5) for being under the influence of any substance which impairs a persons ability to safely operate a vehicle.  Because Bieber allegedly had a blood alcohol content of .14% and .11% he could have been charged under Ala. Code 32-5A-191(1).  Furthermore, Bieber alegedly had Marijuana as well as Xanax in his system.  This would have allowed him to be charged with DUI under Ala. Code 32-5A-191(5).

If you or a family member is facing similar circumstances in the Birmingham, Alabama area, you should contact Boles Holmes White to speak with one of our DUI attorneys.  These types of cases can be fought and an experienced DUI attorney may know of viable defenses other attorneys do not know about.

Vance Woman Charged with Capital Murder. Birmingham police detectives have arrested and charged a second suspect in connection with a fatal December shooting where the victim was being robbed of heroin.  Amber Nicole Harris, 19, has taken into custody at the Jefferson County Jail where she is being held on capital murder charges with no bond.

The incident took place on December 31, 2013 when residents of the Ensley area called 911. At around 3:00 p.m. after reportedly hearing gunshots.  Birmingham Fire and Rescue paramedics were called to the scene where they pronounced Quintin Long, 22, dead.  Investigators identified Eugene Hale as a suspect and charged him with capital murder eight days later.  Further information led to the arrest of Amber Harris on January 7th, 2014.

Birmingham police spokesman Sergeant Johnny Williams Jr. said detectives have learned that the suspect and victim were involved in a dispute during a drug transaction just before the shooting.  Court records show that Quintin Long was killed while Eugene Hale attempted to rob him of heroin.  It is unclear at this time what role Amber Hale played in the murder. Williams said she was with Hale at the time Long was killed.

Vance Woman Charged with Capital Murder conclusion: Eugene Hale, 23, was also arrested in November on a charge of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. That case is set for trial this month.  Amber Nicole Hale was arrested in October on charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.  These cases have not yet gone to trial.

Birmingham Man Arrested for Selling Heroin in Tuscaloosa. Agents with the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force arrested William Earl Moore on Monday night. Therefore, after they were informed that he planned to sell heroin at a local gas off of exit 100 on Interstate 20/59.  According to Tuscaloosa Police spokesman, Sargent Brent Blankley, investigators approached him. However, for questioning immediately after the transaction took place at around 9:00 p.m.  Moore, 31, led police officers on a short foot chase before being caught and taken into custody.  During the arrest, agents recovered 1.40 grams of heroin, $1,409 in cash, and $1,635 in counterfeit money.

William Earl Moore, of Birmingham, is currently being held at Tuscaloosa County Jail on a $190,000 bond. After that, for the following criminal charges: one count of attempted drug trafficking (heroin), five counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, and one count of obstruction of justice for using a false identity.  He could face further possession of a forged instrument charges after the case is presented to a grand jury.

Birmingham Man Arrested for Selling Heroin in Tuscaloosa Conclusion: A Tuscaloosa Police Department press release noted that head bandages seen in William Moore’s mug shot are from a “preexisting medical condition” and that he had not been injured during the arrest.

For more informative blogs by Alabama Outside Counsel click here.

Per se drug laws have no impact on traffic fatalities. A recent study by the University of Colorado and Montana State University show that the imposition of per se drugged driving laws, DUI, have no impact on the number of traffic fatalities.

Researchers analyzed data from 1990 till 2010.  The data revealed that the passage of the DUI drug laws had no impact on the reduction of traffic fatalities.  This is interesting since more and more states are pushing for some type of per se drug law.  The same researchers determined that the passage of medical marijuana laws actually led to a decrease in traffic fatalities.

Per se drug laws have no impact on traffic fatalities Conclusion: Currently eighteen states have per se drug laws.  The states currently with per se laws are Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.  Even the White House has issued a statement asking states to pass a zero tolerance per se drug law.

This is not to say that a person in Birmingham, Alabama cannot face a DUI conviction when they are under the influence of drugs.  Although in Alabama there is no per se drug law, officers may still arrest a suspected DUI driver if they can show the driver cannot operate a motor vehicle safely.

The attorneys of Boles Holmes White have a history of success in the court room and are ready to represent clients nationwide. If you find yourself facing DUI or DWI charges, it is important to find an experienced DUI attorney to represent you.

Marijuana Induced DUI. In November 2012, the State of Washington legalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use.  One of the big arguments made by opponents of Initiative 502 was the legalization of marijuana would cause an increase in the number of DUI arrests.  Since the passage of Initiative 502, the opposite has actually occurred.

From December 6, 2012 till January 6, 2013 there was actually a decrease of about 30 DUI arrests from that same time frame the prior year.   Washington has set their legal driving limit at 5 nano grams per millimeter of blood.

Colorado has also been trying to set a legal limit for marijuana induced DUI.  Colorado also wishes to set their drugged driving limit at 5 nano grams per millimeter of blood.  There have been three prior attempts by Colorado lawmakers to pass such a law.  Each attempt has been unsuccessful up to this point.

It would be interesting to see if there is a similar decrease in DUI arrests if 5 nano grams per millimeter of blood were the cutoff in Colorado.  While Alabama currently does not legalize possession of marijuana, the passage of a per se marijuana state is something the citizens of Jefferson County, Alabama may one day face.

The attorneys of Boles Holmes White have a history of success in the court room and are ready to represent clients nationwide. If you find yourself facing DUI or DWI charges, it is important to find an experienced DUI attorney to represent you.

Famous Rapper Arrested for Drunk Driving and Child Endangerment in Georgia. Ying Yang Twins rapper Deongelo Marquel “Deroc” Holmes was arrested in Gwinnet County Georgia June 1st after he allegedly drove erratically near Lawrenceville.

An arresting officer stated he saw Holmes weave across the center line several times. Gwinnet police stated that the smell of alcohol and marijuana was apparent in Holmes’ vehicle. A police report of the incident also stated that Holmes eyes appeared glazed and bloodshot.

Police searched the car and found a small amount of marijuana and Xanex. Holmes was driving with his 3 year old and 2 month old children at the time of the incident.

According to a police report Holmes admitted to drinking a few beers and smoking marijuana at a friend’s house earlier in the evening.

Famous Rapper Arrested for Drunk Driving and Child Endangerment in Georgia Conclusion: Holmes was charged with two counts of DUI child endangerment; two counts of DUI; possession of drug related objects; possession of marijuana; and erratic lane change. However, shortly after entering jail Holmes was released after posting $13,500 in bail.

This was not the first time Holmes had been arrested for DUI charges. This was the third time Holmes was charged with driving under the influence in Gwinnett County.

As a member of the hip-hop duo the Ying Yang Twins, Holmes experienced great success with hit singles like “Whistle While You Twurk” and “Wait”. The rap duo also appeared on the chart topping single “Get Low” with Lil’ Jon. The duo released a new album in 2009, and recently remixed a version of Justin Bieber’s song “Boyfriend”.

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