IS MARILYN HUEPER BEING GASLIGHTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT?
Marilyn Hueper, whose Homer inn and spa was raided by federal agents in late April, as they searched for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s stolen laptop computer, spent the night in the Homer jail last Thursday.
She was released the next morning, but the experience has made her question everything she ever thought was possible regarding the criminal justice system and the U.S. Constitution.
Hueper was leaving the Homer Spit in her car, after having stopped to get a gelato dessert at Carmen’s Gelato, next to Captain Pattie’s, a favorite restaurant. The Spit is a straight stretch of highway that leads to a small commercial and fishing area at the end of the 4.5-mile road into the middle of Kachemak Bay. Hueper was driving about 10 miles under the 45-mile-per-hour speed limit, eating gelato and enjoying the sunset on her way home, when the bright flashing lights of a police car came from behind. She pulled over.
According to Hueper, the officer would not tell her why she had been pulled over. Hueper asked the officer for the reason, but got no reply. Instead, the officer asked for backup, and when a second officer arrived, she was handcuffed and taken to jail for a driving under the influence charge.
Hueper had not been drinking alcohol at all that day and had not been speeding. She says she tends to hug the right side of the road at night, just to give everyone room who might want to pass her. And she was enjoying her gelato.
But Hueper refused to blow into a Breathalyzer, and she also refused a blood test for alcohol, not because she was afraid of the results but because she was not provided access to an attorney or the magistrate. With the experiences she has had since she went to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6 to watch President Donald Trump speak, she’s gotten a lot more wary of the ways and means of justice.
Hueper, refusing to cooperate on the Breathalyzer, said she would not give up one of her rights (a lawyer) in order to access her other rights (her freedom). She was told she could not have an attorney or speak to the magistrate until she tested for alcohol. That was a bridge too far for her.
Under Alaska law, the refusal of a Breathalyzer test can be as serious as a conviction for a DUI. People can lose their license for refusing to take the test, if and when an officer demands it. It’s part of the “implied consent” law that states if you are lawfully arrested for probable cause of DUI, you automatically consent to taking the test.
Hueper said she does not think she was lawfully arrested, and that there was no probable cause, but thinks she was being harassed by local law enforcement. She has a video tape of much of her discussion with police, which she says proves she was lucid, not slurring her words, and not being combative. She believes the stop was unlawful and her constitutional rights were violated.
But Alaska law says licensed drivers have “consented” to taking a preliminary breath test, even if they are not arrested yet. Law enforcement officials may require a blow test for those who have broken a traffic law, or who are in a collision, or if there is an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. The first offense for refusing the test is three days in jail, fines of up to $1,500 and a mandatory ignition interlock device that won’t allow the vehicle to start unless the driver blows into the testing component
Hueper says the officer could not provide her with any reasonable rationale for why she was stopped. After her experience with the FBI, Capitol Police, and other federal agents breaking down the door to her home in April, holding her and her husband and guests in handcuffs for hours, and after she and her husband were, as a result of being in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, put on the special-screening list for the Transportation Security Administration and are now searched repeatedly when they travel, she can’t assume she’s not being targeted.
“It was disturbing but was a great dive into deep-end training. And if a few more people get trained to do what I did I think we’d have some great law enforcement “auditors,” which are much needed, and ways to challenge unlawful laws and actions. You need to have a good tolerance for walking in honor even when being threatened and bullied…and know the difference between legal and lawful and how to stand on your rights. We need a lot less bullying and maybe we can even win our law enforcement back to the people’s side,” she said.
Hueper says the Breathalyzer law, denying people a right to counsel, is an example of an unconstitutional statute that needs to be challenged and changed.