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Kids busted for walking in street

Close to 130 schoolchildren from the Illinois’s Calumet City appeared before a local hearing officer in May to answer charges of walking in the street. The children—some as young as 9 years—were picked up by Calumet City police officers after school on several occasions during the previous two months. Parents and students alleged the children were taken to the Police Department in squad cars or prisoner vans and detained for up to two hours before being allowed to call their parents.

According to Calumet City code, “where sidewalks are provided, it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway except at a crosswalk”. The local law, adopted more than 20 years ago, mirrors the Illinois law on the matter. The enforcement efforts took place in April after the local police chief received numerous complaints from motorists.

Calumet City police estimate there are more than 6000 school age children sent into the city’s streets between 2 pm and 3 pm each school day, creating a problem for motorists and a dangerous situation for the kids who walk in the street instead of on the sidewalks. The problem, the police chief said, is when young people walk in the street and defy motorists by refusing to let them pass. Their actions intimidate and frighten motorists and present a danger to the kids, he said (from nwitimes.com, via pednet and Barry Pless).

Why we all love defence lawyers

A man has been sentenced in a Sydney court for driving offences. From the hearing it appears that the 31 year old man has three previous drink driving convictions, he had had his licence suspended two months ago but was found driving the day before the court hearing. He was facing charges after a near miss with a stationary police car led to the discovery that his car was being driven by his 6 year old nephew in his lap while the man had an alcohol reading of 0.215—four times the legal limit—not surprising in someone who admitted to having had 26 schooners of beer (equivalent to 17.7 litres) the previous evening. After a guilty plea to charges of having a high blood alcohol content, not wearing a seatbelt, and having an unrestrained child in the car his lawyer argued in mitigation that he was only 250 metres from his sister’s home when pulled over by police and had only had three drinks that day. The man was banned from driving for five years, fined US$1000, and sentenced to six months of weekend detention (from Sydney Morning Herald, April 2004; submitted by Ian Scott).

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