Archive for June 1st, 2006

Court: OK to Arrest in Home Without Warrant….if a DUI

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

The latest victory in the War on Drunk Driving…and on our Constitution:

Justices: Police Can Arrest DUI Suspects

 in Homes With No Warrant

San Francisco, CA.  June 1 – Police may enter Californians’ homes without warrants to arrest those suspected of driving under the influence, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a case testing the scope of the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

The 6-1 decision follows similar rulings in about a dozen other states.

A dissenting justice said the majority handed authorities a "free pass" to unlawfully enter private homes and arrest people without warrants.

Under the Fourth Amendment, authorities are prohibited from entering a home and making an arrest without a warrant unless so-called "exigent" circumstances are present. Those include "hot pursuit" of a fleeing felon, imminent destruction of evidence and the risk of danger to the police or other persons inside or outside of a house, among others…

A state court of appeal tossed the conviction, saying Thompson’s constitutional rights were violated. The Supreme Court reversed, saying the lower court misapplied search-and-seizure precedent.

Santa Barbara County prosecutor Gerald McC. Franklin said the decision means there is no "absolute bar into entering a house without a warrant for the purpose of arresting somebody for driving under the influence of alcohol."

‘Still think I’ve been exaggerating about "The DUI Exception to the Constitution"?

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Assembly Line Justice

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

From the Rush to Judgment department:

Resolving DUI Cases Faster is Project's Goal Attorneys group fears speed could lead to injustice

Tucson, AZ May 27. The wheels of justice turn slowly. At least that's what they say. Well, when it comes to driving under the influence, the Arizona Supreme Court is trying to speed up those wheels. On July 1, nearly a dozen justice and municipal courts — including Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts — will embark on a pilot project aimed at resolving 90 percent of all DUI cases within four months and 98 percent within six months…

"Justice delayed may be justice denied, but expediency without regard to fairness will produce injustice," Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice wrote in response to the committee's recommendations. "We must continually guard against assembly-line justice, in which the court's concern for case management is placed ahead of fundamental fairness."

Delays are often completely out of the attorneys' hands, (AACJ President Joseph) St. Louis said. It takes 45 to 60 days to get blood tests back from the state crime lab, because it is often overwhelmed by requests, St. Louis said. Until those tests come back, defense attorneys can't interview chemists, investigate the lab and its equipment, or file pretrial motions.

Also, according to St. Louis, there is only one competent DUI defense expert in the state, and with so many defense attorneys trying to hire him, scheduling trials is difficult…

Don't you wonder why only DUI cases are being targeted for assembly line justice? Why not fast-track murder cases? Rape? Child molesting? Why not all criminal cases?

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