Ol Olsoc wrote
Then I demand you produce the evidence that she wasn't. This is silly to demand that I produce evidence,
There use to be this ideal of "innocent until proven guilty". What makes you trust this woman so much? The NPR article didn't state why she was anonymous. (I assume she said she didn't want to give her name, as I believe 911 operators normally ask.) You don't find it odd that this woman -- who has supposedly been wronged by the truck driver -- wanted to remain anonymous? Why remain anonymous when she could be helping to put a drunk or dangerous driver behind bars?
Perhaps he didn't run her off, but now you have to produce some sort of sane argumemnt that a stoned guy was randomly selected by a lying woman just to screw with him.
The article didn't state the truck driver was stoned. How do you know that?
Why do you assume this was random? It could have been an ex-girlfriend wanting to screw over the guy. It could have been a woman from another drug gang wanting to mess with this guy's business. It could have been a female Federal agent wanting to create a parallel construction of evidence.
You do know that making a false report on 911 is a crime, don't you?
Why does that matter to crazy ex-girlfriends, female drug gang members and corrupt female Federal agents (or the other examples one could come up with)?
The story isn't about where they went, and isn't even relevant to the thrust of the story, which is if people are allowed to call 911 to report crime. The perp's layer is arguing that since the tip came from an anonymous source, it was invalid.
Of course people are allowed to call 911 to report a crime, but one needs to make sure that reporting is not abused by either the callers or law enforcement. (I.e. the "parallel construction of evidence" mentioned above.) And one needs to make sure constitutional rights (the right to face one's accuser, for one) are protected.
An anonymous call, by itself, warrants just the smallest of investigations -- in this case, the law enforcement official followed the vehicle and did not see any evidence of wrong doing. That should have been the end of it. The woman apparently did not want to press charges or even testify since it is assumed she refused to give her name.
The original poster was pointing out the very relevant fact that there was no other evidence to support the allegation that this man ran this woman off the road: no erratic driving, no witness that can be cross-examined, no highway reports of damage where the car was forced off the road, etc. the police would have been totally justified in stopping this man if they did witness erratic driving, or the woman did give her name to be a witness or if there was some other evidence to support the allegation.
911 calls are recorded and used as evidence all the time. When reporting a crime, the 911 center does not make the person swear on a bible that they are telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. But they are still used as evidence.
I've only heard of them being used as evidence when the caller is identified, but I could be wrong on that. I suspect in this case, however, you'd need to have the caller identified since if the run-off-the-road case was taken to trial, the defendant has a right to cross-examine witnesses.
As for her continued anonymity, they could certainly retrieve that information, and use voiceprints to confirm that it was indeed her making the phone call. Did they? I dunno, you'd need the transcripts of the trial.
This may be the poor reporting by the news media, but the run-off-the-road case was not reported to have been taken to trial -- only the drug bust was. Due to the numerous violations of constitutional rights in order to support drug prohibition, I do not think it is wise giving even more nearly-unaccountable authority to those in power.
Real reasons to think there was some hanky panky going on would be if the defense had knowledge of the caller, (which would be unforgivably incompetent if they didn't attempt to access that) and she knew the perp, and had some reason why she would make a fraudulent and illegal call to 911.
It would be interesting to hear `how` anonymous the 911 caller is and whether she could have been found. It still bewilders me why she wanted to remain anonymous. Afraid of retribution? Didn't want to be hassled with appearing in court as a witness? I don't know. But with nothing but an anonymous complaint, I think the police initially took the appropriate action (finding the alleged truck and observing it). However, lacking a witness and upon not finding any other evidence, I do think they overstepped what was appropriate for the situation. This precedent gives yet another tool with such a great potential for abuse.