New Law: No Right to Jury Trial in DUI Cases

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on May 10th, 2011

For those of you who follow this blog, you’re familiar with the steady erosion of constitutional rights in drunk driving cases — what I refer to as "The DUI Exception to the Constitution".  See, for example, Are DUI Roadblocks Constitutional?, Forced Blood Draws by Cops: Constitutional?, DUI and the Disappearing Right to CounselBelieving You Have Constitutional Rights in a DUI Case Can Be DangerousThe Disappearing Right to Jury Trial…in DUI Cases and Who Cares About the Rights of Those Accused of Drunk Driving?  

The right to jury trial is one of many constitutional rights quietly disappearing in MADD’s "War on Drunk Driving"….


New DUI Law Wasn’t Vetted

Phoenix, AZ.  May 8
– Two big, emotional issues collided at the Legislature: the scourge of drunken driving and the right to trial by jury.

But you didn’t know.

First-time, non-extreme DUI defendants have lost the right to request a jury trial.  

But the public didn’t find out until after Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill.

Is this a good move or a bad one? What does it mean for public safety? For justice? How does it square with the state Constitution?

We never had a chance for debate.  Like so much legislation this year, it all happened too fast, too far under the radar.

The restriction on jury trials was a last-minute amendment to Senate Bill 1200, which dealt with penalties for driving under the influence. It was part of the onslaught of bills in the pell-mell race to end the session on April 20.

Here was legislation about core values. We should have had a chance to explore them…


As Edmund Burke once said, "All that is needed for the triumph of evil is for enough good men to do nothing."
  

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