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Subjective Law Enforcement

I’m all for very stiff penalties for people who drink and drive. However, I’m troubled by the police state subjective tactics that are gaining popularity:

While some citations are backed by evidence gleaned from DWI arrests or accident-scene investigations, most rely on the observations of SID agents and little or nothing else, according to a Tribune review of case files.

As the state puts increasing pressure on liquor sellers as part of a larger DWI crackdown, critics say that leaves the system open for abuse and places an impossible burden on bartenders.

“The concern that we have is that this is all very arbitrary,” said Carol Wight, president of the New Mexico Restaurant Association. “We have concerns about the standards of evidence. We have concerns that certain establishments are being targeted. We have a lot of concerns.”

Schwartz, a former Bernalillo County district attorney, said he’s comfortable prosecuting the cases filed by SID, including the Sauce-Liquid Lounge-Raw case. He points out that many criminal cases are based solely on the word of police officers or victims.

This is a very slippery slope away from personal responsibility. I can’t help but wonder if it’s really just about generating money through punitive fines.