Because They Can

Tales from the northernmost and the southernmost puffins.

Miami-Dade County commissioner Pepe Diaz beat a DUI at trial in Key West the other day after he was pulled over for speeding on his motorcycle there. A police officer clocked him driving his Harley-Davidson at 74 mph along South Roosevelt Boulevard next to Higgs Beach. The speed limit is 30 mph. He was there participating in Key West’s annual Poker Run bike party.

More than 10,000 motorcycles and riders from across the country rumbled down our Overseas Highway from mainland Florida to Key West during the Key West Poker Run last fall. The event began in 1972 with 46 riders and has grown into a major fundraiser for South Florida charities.

Mr. Diaz refused to take a breath test; he said he doesn’t trust the breath-analysis machines.

(As an aside, in both Vermont and Florida, under the implied consent law, refusal triggers a license suspension for the first offence and the refusal is used to underpin the DUI prosecution. One can also be arrested for a DUI in either state even if he or she is not driving.)

His defense countered with witnesses who testified that he didn’t appear drunk when he went out on the Harley and explained that an inner-ear condition and other physical limitations caused him to lose his balance during the field sobriety check. “LeBron James could not do these exercises today in this court,” Mr. Diaz’s attorney said during closing arguments. “It’s a kangaroo court designed for failure to justify an arrest.”

I watched the 27-minute arrest video and, truth, I agree. I absolutely do not want a cop who is determined to prove I’m drunk administering a test that practically guarantees I’ll look drunk on camera.

It took just 20 minutes for the Key West jury to clear Mr. Diaz of the drunk-driving charge.

I sold our old truck and bought a new truck last month (here’s the story in case you missed it) and mailed in the paperwork to transfer the tags from one to the other.

Time passed.

Vermont didn’t cash the check. A plate check showed that number still registered to the old truck. Nothing was happening.

Anne called Vermont’s DMV. The clerk suggested she check with her bank to see if her check had been cashed yet. Lordy™.

Anne finally got the clerk to look up the filing only to discover they had sent it back to her. “It should be in your mailbox now,” the clerk said.

Well, no.

The clerk told her it had been returned because Vermont needs the VIN verification verified. “The officer needs to include his business card,” she said.

South Puffin is a very small city but we do have a police department. Our sergeant had come in off patrol to do the VIN Verification when I first got the truck.

I chased the sergeant down again. He stopped by and gave me his business card.

I was walking out the door to mail it to Anne when she called me. “Their letter states that they need a letter on department letterhead from the officer who did the VIN verification along with him stating the mileage is what was stated on the registration.”

I chased down the sergeant. Again. Told him about the letterhead.

“We don’t do that,” he said. “I’ve done VIN verifications for about 18 states. None of them do that.” He called them muttonheads. Actually, he used a different word. “What kind of muttonheads are they? They have my badge number on their form. They have my agency ID on their form. We don’t do that.”

He wrote the mileage on his business card. I mailed it to Anne.

Muttonheaded bureaucrats. These are the same people who proved that Vermont Don’t Know Dick.

Vermont accepts credentials from the Universal Life Church (better known as “the Church of the lowest price ordination) and probably from Church of Bob for wedding officiants, but they don’t accept a sworn officer’s badge for a car sale.

“No taxes on weddings,” Rufus said.

That’s part of it.

“Bureaucrats spend their days coming up with novel ways to screw with you,” Liz Arden replied. And that’s it.

As of this writing, Mr. Diaz’ license is still suspended but he received a waiver that allows him to continue driving to work, for his commission duties, and other day-to-day errands. And the plate check now comes back to my new truck but we have no actual registration certificate.