Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Passed-out driver free on two drug charges

Peter Small Courts Bureau

Jerry Junior Hewitt sat unconscious at the wheel of his mother's Jeep Cherokee with the engine running at a busy intersection.
On a summer Sunday morning, it was enough to spark concern from passersby. A woman tried to wake Hewitt. Someone called 911.
After police arrived at Dufferin St. and Davenport Rd. to check on the deejay events planner, one officer found crack cocaine in the Jeep.
Yesterday, however, Superior Court Justice Arthur Pattillo threw out the drug charges against Hewitt, ruling police had breached the 27-year-old's constitutional rights.
"I find that the search constituted an unreasonable search and seizure," Pattillo said.
"The actions of the police in searching Mr. Hewitt's vehicle in the manner in which they did on June 18, 2006, were not a lawful exercise of either the police's statutory or common-law duties," Pattillo ruled.
He ordered Hewitt acquitted of cocaine possession and trafficking charges.
Hewitt's lawyer, Ari Goldkind, said outside court that the officers had no more right to look through Hewitt's vehicle than they had to rifle through his pockets.
When Const. Irwin Correa arrived at 9:41 a.m. to find Hewitt sitting unconscious in his vehicle, he tried to wake him up but got no response.
He saw the keys were in the ignition, the Jeep was running and the gear shift was in drive – although Hewitt's foot was on the brake.
Correa reached in to turn off the ignition and put the Jeep in park.
Hewitt then woke up and Correa asked him if he was okay.
He noted that Hewitt's eyes were red, and he was disoriented and confused.
When Hewitt tried to turn the car back on, Correa grabbed the keys, told him not to move and asked if he had consumed alcohol. Hewitt said no but agreed to have paramedics check him out, the judge said.
Hewitt then got out to walk to the ambulance, escorted by Correa.
Minutes later, Const. Eliana Santos, who had arrived after Correa, said she located several bags of crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia in the Jeep.
Thirteen grams of crack were found after a search of the accused and his car.
Santos testified she found the drugs while looking for medication at the paramedics' request.
But the judge rejected the explanation.
"He could have easily been asked directly if he was on any medication," Pattillo said.

Editor's note -


  1. Typical nonesense from our courts. Judges should be elected to office like they are in the US ... so we can boot them out when they make asinine decisions like this. Ludicrous.

  2. Absolutely nuts?! Does the judge not realize the severity of what this guy was doing? They couldn't even wake him up?!?! Does this guy deserve a slap on the wrist? Do these Judges ever have family killed by drunk drivers? Or shot by a stray bullet do they have family at all? Do they even live in here at all and or not pick up a newspaper or turn on a tv set and see the news? Do they live in a bubble? How can a fellow human being who see's all the good the police try to do (especially while there are several witnesses to witness this guy's intoxication) and turn around and slap the police in the face along with the paramedics and the other drivers on the road. I know that there are some 'bad apples' out there, but this is not the case here. Shame on you Judge Arthur. Shame on you!

  3. Maybe if the judge lost someone he loved to impaired driving (by either drug or alcohol)he wouldn't feel the same way. I'm surprised that in his infinite wisdom the judge didn't order that the coke and other paraphanalia be returned to the accused. That would be typical of a Canadian judge who is more concerned with the rights of the accused than the rights of society as a whole. Yes, we should elect our judges and kick their butts out when they make such assinine decisions.

  4. Maybe our Judges should be more accountable to the public...prove their accredations, get nominated for the position, hold an election every two or three years re: qualified individuals who want and are qualified for the job.