eyewitness at 6, 10-21-13

5:51 PM, Oct 21, 2013   |    comments
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    Hello everyone. 

     Thank you for joining us.

    I'm Frank Malloy.

     First tonight at six...You may have seen law enforcement setting up roadblocks designed to catch unlawful activity like drug possession or DUI's.

     But a recent Georgia Supreme Court ruling says some of those may be a violation of peoples' constitutional rights.

     Tom George has our top story tonight.

The ruling stemmed from a 2010 case.

A Bibb County man was arrested for a DUI in an early morning checkpoint at Washington and Orange Streets... in downtown Macon.


The court says the search violated his Fourth Amendment rights.

They say that's because the Bibb County sheriff's office failed to show that the checkpoint "had an appropriate primary purpose other than ordinary crime control."

Those checkpoints are common in some other Macon and Bibb neighborhoods.


Vanessa Howard lives near Anthony Road... where she says she sees a lot of roadblocks set up.

< I don't feel like it's necessary because a lot of time when you stop people, those are actually not the people that you're looking for, and then you're searching people's cars and random things that you do and invading your privacy    >


She says the roadblocks don't always catch the people they're supposed to.

When the traffic line backs up...she says...police just let people through.

She worries that can lead to profiling.

< Yes, because if you're going to do a roadblock, you should check everybody, everybody that comes that way.>


The court says that to set up a roadblock....officers must have a specific reason....like vehicle safety or driver sobriety.


They say simply basing the checkpoints on ...quote... "legimitate law enforcement purposes", is too vague...and "cannot justify a regime of suspicionless vehicle stops.


Sheriff David Davis says he feels officers follow procedure.

But  he admits the current written guidelines may be too broad.

< We all live to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Georgia, so when we get guidelines from the courts, we have, we're compelled to incorporate those into our policy and our practice.     >


Davis says he expects the updated guidelines to be finished by the end of the week. He says they'll be incorporated when the new Consolidated Sheriff's Office begins in January.


Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.>

      The goal of these road blocks....of course... is to deter crime...cut down on activity like drunk driving....even help catch fugitives and other criminals on the loose.

      But the fourth amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.     

     Earlier today, I asked David Oedel, professor of law with Mercer University....where courts draw the line on these roadblocks.

1. What's the constitutional issue with random roadblocks?


2. Describe some legal precedents.


3. What happens to arrests that are made...cases that are prosecuted ...Because of these roadblocks?


     Bibb County solicitor Rebecca Grist says her office has handled hundreds of cases resulting from roadblocks...like the one in this case. She says...as far as she knows...the ruling affects only the single D-U-I case reviewed by the state's Supreme Court.


A milledgeville couple is accused of killing their two-month-old child.

That's according to a police news release.

They say the child died on September sixth...in an apartment on North Lincoln Street.

A news release says the GBI medical examiner ruled that the child died from a blunt force trauma to the head...and called the death a homicide.


Police say the father...Tamarus Hartry...and mother Jessica Driskell...were arrested Friday.

Both are charged with Felony Murder and first-degree child cruelty.

We'll update this story when more details are available....at 13WMAZ-dot-com.

     We're just about three weeks in to the opening of enrollment for the health care dot gov website, under the Affordable Care Act.

     We've been following the technical problems and the many frustrated users who just can't seem to get on and buy a plan.

     Anita Oh tells us what the administration is doing about the problems...

     And the changes that are coming.

Signing up for health insurance through the health care dot gov online marketplace was supposed to be easy...

But 21 days into the roll-out of the exchange,

The site is still knee-deep in technical problems.


<there's no sugarcoating it. The website has been too slow, people are getting stuck during the application process>


The problems may be bigger than that.

Insurance companies say they've been getting reports of duplicate or incomplete enrollment forms... With sensitive personal information


A CNN survey finds about 257,000 people have signed up for health insurance through state-run exchanges...

But officials have been tight-lipped about releasing concrete enrollment numbers in 36 other states like Georgia,

where the federal government is running the online marketplace.


In a speech Monday morning, President Obama addressed technical problems,

Stressing patience, and a promise to deliver.


<there's no excuse for these problems, and the problems are getting fixed


So what steps are being taken?

President Obama says top IT technicians are working around the clock to boost the site's capacity...

But it's unclear who exactly those technicians or or where they come from.

The administration is also making some changes to the health care.gov website...


You can now view plans and prices without filling out an application

And there's an improved cost calculator so you can see whether you're eligible for cheaper premiums and tax credits

They've also added more educational content to inform people about their options


If the website won't work, there's hope for you yet.

On Sunday night, the administration updated the website's homepage to include other ways you can apply for insurance:


-by phone: call 1-800-318-2596 where marketplace representatives are available to walk you through enrollment

-by mail: download an application and mail it in

-in person: find a trained navigator who can help you apply in-person


Anita Oh, 13wmaz eyewitness news.

     The enrollment period opened October 1 and will continue through March 31st.

     Virtually all Americans must buy insurance by 2014 or face paying a fine.

     In other news tonight, A shooting in Houston county on the 500 block of Lake Joy Road... That's near the intersection of lake joy road...and sandefur road...  sends a family to the hospital... Jennifer moulliet tells us more.

     In just over two weeks - voters in the city of Gray will elect a mayor.

     Judy Le met up with both candidates today to see why they think they deserve your vote.


<The Jones County mayor may be a part-time job ... But it's a full-time responsibility.

Gus Wilson has filled the shoes for four years and is seeking re-election.

<gus - i'm not a yes person. If I disagree, i'll stand up and tell you. I fight for our citizens>


He's running against Stephen Tingen ... Who moved to Gray two years ago


<tingen - i want to do my part to make sure that Gray stays a family oriented small town with family values >


There's almost a twenty year age gap between the candidates. Tingen runs a transportation business from home and Wilson is a private contractor who remove bodies for Bibb County.


The mayor hopes to concentrate on building a waste water treatment plant for city and further develop downtown Gray

<gus - we've got one part of town that's real pretty and we've got another side that's a bus light and some other things we'd like to change>


Tingen's focus is on schools and community involvement

<tingen - when you have a city event and you bring in the school in it, you bring your community in to it. >


The newcomer hit the streets to make introductions...

<it took three and a half weeks. It was a lot of walking>


and to get his name around town. Wilson is relying on experience rather than yard signs.


Whichever the strategy ... Both men will need the votes come election day.

Judy Le 13wmaz eyewitness news>


As with the other city elections this fall....Gray's early voting ends November first. Election day is Tuesday...November 5th.


      Some Pre-K kids are hitting the dusty trail that actually isn't so dusty anymore.

     Northwoods Academy celebrated in style in honor of their new tricycle path.

     The path was funded by Bob Easter of Leadership Macon and named after his mother who was a special needs teacher.

        The school was chosen to receive the path due to lack of pavement on the playground. Kids were forced to ride in the grass and in the hallways of the school.

   The use of tricycles is not only good for exercise but other skills as well. 


<the bike path for early learning childhood in three and four year olds grows motor skills. Being to learn how to maneuver their limbs and also social skills. Learning how to take turns and sharing and playing cooperatively with others is a big part of preschool.>

     The kids have already started putting the track to use.

     They not only use it for the tricycles...but for scooters and wagons as well.

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