“I only had a couple of pina coladas and I lost my whole (expletive) arm" says Jim Pellegrine…
Jimbo Pellegrine is out on bail and soon to be winging his way back to California, according to an article in today’s Garden Island.
Let’s read the most entertaining part of the story:
His lawyer won him a minor victory in his ongoing legal struggles, successfully suppressing the results of the blood draw taken without consent or warrant following the accident in December of 2014 that took Pellegrine’s left arm.
When he arrived at the Hanalei substation, Candido testified he saw Pellegrine’s car covered in blood and a blood trail, which he followed. He testified he then heard Pellegrine shouting, ‘I only had a couple of pina coladas and I lost my whole (expletive) arm.’
The ruling come in the wake of the 2014 Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that mandatory blood draws violate our fifth amendment “right to be free of warrant-less searches and seizures is a fundamental guarantee of our constitution” and “consent may not be gained by explicit or implicit coercion, implied threat, or covert force.”
Of course, a warrant could have been obtained, had the arresting officer made the effort. However, his explanation amounts to, “I couldn’t get one in time, even though I didn’t even make an attempt.”
Furthermore, despite the misquote of Missouri v McNeely by The Garden Island, the ruling actually stated that “… the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not constitute an exigency in every case sufficient to justify conducting a blood test without a warrant.” Therefore rendering the prosecutions claims of exigency totally invalid.
This type of legal fumbling has become par for the course in Kauai courts following last year’s departure of 8 of 12 deputy prosecutors over the span of a few months, leading to a rushed hiring of inexperienced attorneys to fill the vacancies.
Unfortunately for Jimbo, this ruling makes little difference in his larger case, beyond proving he has a competent attorney. Hawaii’s DUI laws are notoriously lax, in comparison to places like California, and are classified as petty misdemeanors carrying no penalties beyond minor fines and possible license suspension.
The oft repeated mythical explanation for Hawaii’s more or less inconsequential DUI laws stem from a defendant’s right to a jury trial when facing misdemeanor charges. Supposedly, prior to the weakening of DUI penalties, the courts were clogged with DUI cases, cases in which local juries are typically unwilling to convict. Because everyone drives drunk out here, it’s a small place, and no one wants to see their family members go to jail. It’s always a been a bit mind-boggling to me, but I come from California, a place with insanely tough penalties, and was well indoctrinated with the idea that driving wasted is a very bad thing.
Jimbo’s not out of the woods yet. He still faces felony terroristic threatening charges due to his ambulance freak out on the way to the hospital. A freak-out which, according to an anonymous source, continued into the emergency room where he let loose on the attending nurses. The nurses declined to press charges, as dealing with that type of behavior is more or less part and parcel of working the late night ER.
Jimbo is currently out on $25,000 bail, and will be returning to the mainland for a few weeks before he returns to court on March 28.