Bad Twit

Working the overnight shift in patrol, you get your share of intoxicated person calls. Intoxicated drivers, fighters, streakers, sleepers, urinators, and related—you name an oddity and an officer on duty at 2 am has likely seen it multiple times.

More often than any officer wants to see, these intoxicated folks will become belligerent and combative as they are being placed under arrest. After getting the subject restrained, then the officer has the joy of a long drive to booking, perhaps a probably cause hearing (in some jurisdictions a 24-hour circus called Night Court), and a lengthy stop for processing. Maybe the arrest will even involve an escorted trip to the hospital for medical treatment.

Whichever of these actions are required for the prisoner, it always provides ample time for the officer to be called every name that these inebriated yet often creative folks can create.

Every once in awhile, maybe later, the arresting officer gets a brief moment of satisfaction at the expense of his belligerent and combative defendant-—as I am sure this officer did:

BELLEFONTE — Court lesson of the day: Watch where you tweet. Less than 140 characters can help land you in jail.

A Penn State student from New Jersey was sentenced Thursday to spend at least 33 days in jail after the police officer who arrested him for DUI and resisting arrest told President Judge David E. Grine he found the man had been posting to his Twitter account during his March trial.

Penn State police officer Matthew Massaro said Scott Ruzal, 20, wrote: “When all else fails, try ignorance. I watched four cops lie on a witness stand today and I didn’t say a word.”

That was at 1:35 p.m. March 16, the day a jury found him guilty of the charges.

Twitter is a networking Web site where users may post entries -- each entry is limited to 140 characters --that can be viewed by anyone on the Internet.

Ruzal, of Fort Lee, N.J., was charged in April 2008 after police spotted him driving erratically. He was found to have a blood alcohol level of .280 percent after refusing to voluntarily submit to a portable breathalyzer and a blood test.

Police say Ruzal was kicking and hitting police, refusing to cooperate and had to be restrained on the East Parking Deck on campus.

Thursday at his sentencing hearing, prosecutor Karen Kuebler asked Grine to sentence Ruzal to more than a month in jail for repeatedly disrespecting law enforcement.

She said Ruzal was intoxicated the night he fought with police officers and hospital personnel, but was sober in court and still exhibited no respect.

“I believe 30 days in jail will certainly give him the wake-up call that he needs,” Kuebler said.

Ruzal apologized for his actions last year, but defended his Twitter postings. “That wasn’t anything I said out of disrespect of the court,” Ruzal said. “It was just an expression of a particular sentiment that I was feeling at the time.” ...
Having an arrestee who fought with police and hospital staff, and then hacked-off the prosecutor and judge after his trial-—earning an extra month in the local house of detention--must have prompted the arresting officer to smile (even just for an instant).

Too bad Twitter was not around when my belligerent combative defendants were on trial.


Expat From Hell said...

Yes, but blogging is alive and well. Good law enforcement will continue to prevail, I hope. Keep up the good posts.


Sandra G. said...

Some people never learn.

Cindy Beck said...

Interesting post. I agree with what Sandra G. said, "Some people never learn."

Meadowlark said...

on an only partially related note:
doing ridealongs as a reserve candidate in the state of virginia, I was amazed that people were not actually "arrested" until they went to a magistrate and had him sign a warrant. (or something like that). Even thought the guy would be in the car in handcuffs.