Entries in Alcohol (12)


Idaho Inmates Sue Booze Companies, Blame Them for Being in Jail

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Five inmates at a jail in Boise, Idaho, have filed a billion dollar lawsuit, claiming they wouldn't be behind bars if it wasn't for booze.

The Idaho Statesman reports Cory A. Baugh, Jeremy J. Brown, Keith Allen Brown, Woodrow J. Grant and Steven J. Thompson -- who all were sentenced to jail for crimes ranging from murder to selling drugs -- say manufacturers like Miller Brewing Company and Anheuser-Busch, as well as wine makers like E. and J. Gallo, should have warned them their products can be addictive.

The inmates, who don't have a lawyer, are asking for warning labels on alcohol products, and a billion dollars in damages.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Bloomberg vs. Booze: Will Mayor Take on Alcohol Use?

Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Mayor Mike Bloomberg is famous for curbing the city’s smoking, soda, and greasy food habits with legislation, but New Yorkers are now wondering whether Bloomberg has set his next target on a different vice: alcohol.

A 50-question survey focusing on New Yorkers’ drinking habits is being formulated by the Department of Health, and will be used to try and understanding alcohol use and abuse in the city through telephone surveys, according to the mayor’s office.

A spokesman for Bloomberg said that the office is not currently working on any reform or legislation, and that the Health department surveys New Yorkers about health topics frequently.

“The focus of what they ask is about underage drinking. They’re working on the survey. There is no legislation at this time, they’re working to get a handle on what is happening,” said Mark Lavorgna.

Bloomberg has previously introduced legislation banning New Yorkers from smoking in bars and public places, banning the use of trans fats in food preparation, forcing restaurants to post calorie counts on advertised food items, and limiting the size of soft drinks to 16 oz. in restaurants and convenience stores.

All but the soda ban has been passed into law.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mom Accused of Giving Toddler Beer at Restaurant

ABC News (PHOENIX) -- A Phoenix mom was arrested after she allegedly put beer in her toddler’s sippy cup and a witness claimed the child fell out of his chair in a possible state of intoxication.

Officers arrested Valerie Marie Topete, 36, after they were called to a Peter Piper restaurant in Phoenix by witnesses who said they saw the mother of three pouring beer into her 2-year-old son’s sippy cup.

“Witnesses further stated the child did drink from the cup after the suspected beer was poured and, at one point, the suspect left the child alone with the alcohol in the cup.”

Topete said she gave her son beer after he “kept reaching” for the pitcher on the table. She initially denied her son drank from the cup but later said it was possible he could have, police said in a statement.

Officers determined the contents of the cup were “consistent with beer” and arrested Topete on one count of child abuse.

Her son was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure, police said.

Topete’s other two children, ages 8 and 4 years old, were released into the care of their father.

ABC News was unable to reach Topete for comment.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wis. Mother and Son Killed in Different Auto Accidents

Thinkstock/Getty Images(WEST ALLIS, Wis.) -- Two unrelated car accidents claimed the lives of a mother and her son early Sunday morning in West Allis, Wis.

Mary Moore, 45, was struck by a car, while lying in the street at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday morning. According to a report by the medical examiner, a witness behind the car that struck Moore initially thought the first car had gone over a speed bump.   But when the witness got closer, they realized that a woman was lying in the roadway. Moore was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, authorities said. The driver who struck her was arrested a few hours later, according to police. The driver had left the scene.

Approximately four hours after Moore was struck, her son, Thomas Olson, 22, was killed as he was being driven to the hospital. Olson was riding as a passenger in his girlfriend’s SUV, when the driver lost control of the vehicle, hit three parked cars and flipped over, according to a report by the medical examiner.  Olsen was ejected from the vehicle and later succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. His fellow passengers suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Police say alcohol may have been a factor in both of the fatal crashes. The person driving Olson to the hospital was arrested for a DUI after the accident.

West Allis Police Department Deputy Chief Charles Padgett told ABC News that although Moore had been drinking, it was unclear how much alcohol she had consumed. The driver who allegedly struck her was also seen at a local tavern prior to the accident, but Padgett said police are not pursuing alcohol-related charges in that case at this time, he said.

The two fatal accidents happened within just two miles of each other under circumstances Padgett called “unusual and rare.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Baby-Faced Man Busted Buying Beer

WSB/ABC News(ATLANTA) -- A baby-faced man has an upcoming court date after he spent two days in jail for disorderly conduct while trying to buy beer.

At 22 years old, Jose Sanders looks more like a middle school student than a beer-drinking adult due to a pituitary condition, which he said has been a constant source of discrimination.

Police in Brasleton, Ga., said Jose Sanders became belligerent on March 26 when the cashier and a supervisor at a Kroger store cast doubt on the authenticity of his driver’s license.

“He gets mad, starts cursing, gets all upset. We show up and he’s still cursing,” Lou Solis, assistant police chief in Brasleton, told ABC News. “[So] we go ahead and tell him we’re going to arrest him for disorderly conduct.”

Sanders told WSB-TV that he did not mention his condition because he felt it was no one’s business.

“I just said, ‘You can call the police. I have no worry. My whole intention is to buy this beer,’” he said. “I was kind of frustrated, talking to myself. Sometimes I talk out loud.”

Sanders didn’t get his brews. Instead he spent the next 48 hours in jail before he was released on his own recognizance.

Sanders’ court date is set for April 10.

He’ll have to pay a $276 ticket.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Boston Tops List of 'Drunkest' Cities in US

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- This weekend, people around the country will be partying in celebration of the New Year.  It's possible that two cities in Massachusetts will party the hardest.

The Daily Beast has released a list of the "drunkest" cities in the United States in 2011, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and a survey conducted by market-research firm Experian Simmons.  Topping the list is Boston, where 15.5 drinks are consumed per month, on average, per person.  Over 7 percent of Bostonians are heavy drinkers, and over 20 percent are binge drinkers.

Springfield, Mass., ranks second, followed by Milwaukee, Reno, Nev., and San Antonio.

Here are the top 10 cities on the list:

1. Boston
2. Springfield, Mass.
3. Milwaukee
4. Reno, Nev.
5. San Antonio
6. Chicago
7. Austin, Texas
8. St. Louis
9. San Diego
10. Tucson, Ariz.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Blagojevich Prison Strategy: Substance Abuse Problem?

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Soon after ex-Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was handed a stiff prison sentence -- 14 years in a federal pen -- another Illinois political figure who had done time offered some sage advice: tell the feds you just can’t stop drinking.

Scott Fawell, a former top aide to a different convicted governor, George Ryan, shaved time off his six-and-a-half-year sentence by entering a drug and alcohol rehab program at the federal prison camp in Yankton, S.D. After completing the nine-month regimen, Fawell got nearly a year’s credit in addition to time off for good behavior, serving just four years.

“It’s the only game in town,” he told ABC News, because parole is no longer available in the federal prison system.

A few days ago, Fawell contacted the Blagojevich defense team to offer some guidance. Now, Blagojevich is asking for drug and alcohol counseling at the minimum security prison in Englewood, Colo. U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel has agreed to the request, though the final decision is up to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

During his two trials on corruption charges, Blagojevich never mentioned a drug or alcohol problem. But Fawell says it doesn’t take much to qualify for prison rehab -- just an admission of regular drinking, such as knocking back five or more drinks a week.

“They set the bar pretty low, telling you five drinks a week makes you a problem drinker,” said Fawell.

Fawell said he, like many first-time convicts, did drink more heavily before reporting to prison: “You have more time on your hands and you’re nervous about what prison will be like.” He told ABC News, “any lawyer worth their salt” knows to ask for drug and alcohol treatment for clients headed to a federal prison.

But U.S. prison officials were quick to splash some cold water on that theory. “We’re on the lookout for people trying to game the system,” said Chris Burke, a spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons. “We only take those with demonstrated, documented substance abuse problems who can get real benefit from our programs.”

And with beds in rehab facilities at a premium, Burke told ABC News, applicants must have solid evidence to back up their claims. Blagojevich, who must report to prison March 15, could get as much as two years off his 14-year-sentence for good behavior.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Casey Anthony Broke, Sober and Unemployed Say Probation Officers

Red Huber-Pool/Getty Images(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Casey Anthony is unemployed, has not consumed alcohol or drugs and has not made any money over the past month, according to the Florida Department of Corrections where Anthony reported for probation at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

“She was cooperative and answered all the questions of her probation officer,” according to a media advisory.

Anthony, the 25 year old acquitted of murdering her daughter Caylee, also reported that she had not attended any classes, had not used or purchased illegal drugs nor had any contact with law enforcement over the past 30 days. Anthony’s attorney did not wish to comment on Anthony’s probation visit.

Despite Anthony’s declaration that she does not have a job and has not made any money, there is speculation that Anthony will be able to cash in on her notoriety with a book or television appearances. So far, however, she has remained in hiding since her release from jail.

It also comes as Judge Belvin Perry presided over a hearing Friday on whether Anthony should have to reimburse local and state authorities for money spent on Caylee’s search, according to ABC News’ affiliate WFTV in Orlando. Anthony admitted to and was convicted on four counts of lying to authorities. One of her admitted lies was that Caylee had been snatched by a babysitter, triggering a massive investigation and search.

Anthony could be facing bills that add up to more than $500,000. Agencies including the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney’s office have all been called to testify regarding how much money they spent in the search for Caylee, according to WFTV.

Prosecutors want Anthony to pay up for every day from July 15, 2008 when Caylee was reported missing to Sept. 19, 2008 when her remains were identified.

Friday’s hearing is one of several lawsuits Anthony can anticipate.

Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, the woman who shared a name with the fictional nanny Anthony claimed abducted Caylee, is suing Anthony for defamation.

“When Zenaida first came to me, we never thought Casey would see the light of day again,” Fernandez-Gonzalez’s attorney John Morgan told “It was never about money in the beginning. Now, it’s about accountability and responsibility.”

According to Morgan, Fernandez-Gonzalez received threatening phone calls, lost her home and lost her job because of Anthony’s use of her name.

Anthony is scheduled to do a video deposition for the defamation lawsuit next month and the trial has been tentatively set for April 2012.

Anthony is also facing a suit for $100,000 by EquuSearch, the volunteer search organization that hunted for Caylee after being assured by Anthony that her daughter was alive and pleading with them to help find Caylee.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Colorado Air Traffic Controller Accused of Drinking at Work

Comstock/Thinkstock(LONGMONT, Colo.) -- An air traffic controller in Colorado is under federal investigation after allegedly being caught drunk while at work.

ABC News affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver reports that Federal Aviation Administration officials conducted a random alcohol test on the  veteran controller on July 5, six-and-a-half hours into his eight hour shift. His blood alcohol content, sources told KMGH, registered at twice the legal limit.

The controller, who has not been named, has since been removed from his position at the Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center in Longmont while officials investigate the matter, KMGH reports. He has reportedly entered an alcohol rehabilitation program, according to ABC's Good Morning America.

It is not yet known if the air traffic controller was consuming alcohol while at work or if he went to work already drunk.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


ATF Head: Not Sharing Weapons Tracking Info 'Eye-Popping'

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Interviewed by congressional investigators earlier this month, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Ken Melson agreed that the allegations that federal agencies weren’t sharing information regarding the Fast & Furious program were “eye-popping,” according to transcripts of the interview exclusively obtained by ABC News.

In the controversial Fast & Furious program, the FBI allowed assault weapons to be trafficked across the Mexican border in order to try to locate criminals. But many of the guns have since shown up at crime scenes in the U.S. One theory investigators are exploring is that the ATF agents were unknowlingly selling weapons to straw purchasers created by the FBI using informants and maybe even taxpayer money.

Melson was asked about this -- politely called an “interagency communication issue” -- when he testified behind closed doors to congressional investigators over Fourth of July weekend. In the below excerpt from that testimony, Melson describes a conversation with the deputy attorney general (DAG) Jim Cole on July 16, the day after the ATF hearing on the Hill. “IG” is a reference to the inspector general who is investigating the Fast & Furious case internally at the Justice Department.

Below is the relevant exchange:

Q: Do you have any concerns that because you raised the interagency communication issue with the DAG and also with the IG that you might be viewed as speaking out of turn.

MELSON: Well, I guess I have -- I have got concerns about talking with you about it, as well as pushing it as I have in the Department, because it could be a very sensitive issue.  I don't know.  Better communication with them would have helped me understand how sensitive it is, if it is, or what the ramifications of its disclosure is. I mentioned it to the DAG's office in good faith to try and avoid further damage to the Department or the government if this thing is as you have laid it out and it unravels and the American public sees ATF investigating straw purchasers and another agency working the money angle and the ordering of the weapons.  I mean, that would make us look pretty silly, I think.  So my mention of it to the DAG's office was simply to let them know, to give them a head's up so if this was occurring, they could figure out what to do with it.  And we weren't getting any responses.  I'm still concerned about it.  I'm still concerned about not just what was done, but what could be ongoing as well.

Q: When I first heard about the information sharing issues, my eyes nearly popped out of my head.

MELSON: Well, so did mine.

Q: I'm curious when you communicated that to the DAG, did his eyes pop out of his head, did he think this was a big problem.

MELSON: I can't tell you what he thought or how he thought.  But he simply said, "We will have to look into it."

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) who is investigating the operation, has accused the Obama administration of "stonewalling" his efforts. "This administration, at the highest levels approved a process that allowed thousands of high-powered go to the worst of the worst on both sides of the borders," Issa told Fox News last month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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