HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Latest Breaking News (Forum) » (SCOTUS) Justices Look at...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 03:08 AM

(SCOTUS) Justices Look at Legality of Drunken-Driving Test

Source: NYT

Prosecutors in Missouri, supported by the federal government, came to the Supreme Court on Wednesday with a big request: They wanted the justices to rule that the police do not need warrants to obtain blood samples in drunken-driving investigations.

There seemed little enthusiasm among the justices for that categorical approach. Instead, the argument turned into a search for a middle ground that would take account of the practical realities of roadside stops, body chemistry and the administration of justice in the digital age.

On the one hand, the natural dissipation of blood alcohol means that time is of the essence when people suspected of drunken driving are pulled over and refuse to consent to a breath test. Obtaining a warrant, moreover, takes time.

On the other hand, several justices expressed discomfort with what Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. called the “pretty scary image” of government-sanctioned bodily intrusions involving sharp needles.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/10/us/supreme-court-weighs-drunken-driving-blood-tests.html

42 replies, 4553 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 42 replies Author Time Post
Reply (SCOTUS) Justices Look at Legality of Drunken-Driving Test (Original post)
alp227 Jan 2013 OP
AtheistCrusader Jan 2013 #1
Major Nikon Jan 2013 #7
Orrex Jan 2013 #9
Major Nikon Jan 2013 #11
Orrex Jan 2013 #13
Major Nikon Jan 2013 #15
Orrex Jan 2013 #22
Riftaxe Jan 2013 #2
dballance Jan 2013 #3
dotymed Jan 2013 #5
dballance Jan 2013 #25
Fantastic Anarchist Jan 2013 #39
AAO Jan 2013 #16
dballance Jan 2013 #28
AAO Jan 2013 #35
Jenoch Jan 2013 #29
AAO Jan 2013 #36
Jenoch Jan 2013 #37
Fantastic Anarchist Jan 2013 #40
Blue_Tires Jan 2013 #30
Socal31 Jan 2013 #4
MADem Jan 2013 #27
christx30 Jan 2013 #33
Fantastic Anarchist Jan 2013 #41
christx30 Jan 2013 #42
unblock Jan 2013 #6
Dr_Scholl Jan 2013 #8
Disconnect Jan 2013 #10
Evergreen Emerald Jan 2013 #12
AngryAmish Jan 2013 #14
AtheistCrusader Jan 2013 #23
AAO Jan 2013 #18
Tempest Jan 2013 #20
Tempest Jan 2013 #21
jeff47 Jan 2013 #32
Ash_F Jan 2013 #17
Tempest Jan 2013 #19
NCthraxman Jan 2013 #24
samsingh Jan 2013 #26
Kelvin Mace Jan 2013 #31
okwmember Jan 2013 #34
Fantastic Anarchist Jan 2013 #38

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 03:30 AM

1. How hard is it to staff for a judge

around the clock? There are other issues that need a warrant all hours of the day as well.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 08:20 AM

7. Some rural counties only have one judge

It's already hard to staff some counties because of working conditions that require calls at all hours of the day and night.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Major Nikon (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 08:31 AM

9. In this case, there was a judge available on-call

And it's been shown that warrants can be fast-tracked for this sort of situation in order to minimize the metabolizing of alcohol in the bloodstream.

So the question is, if the warrant can be obtained in a timely manner, can the police order your blood to be drawn without first obtaining that warrant. I would hope that the answer is no.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Orrex (Reply #9)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 09:07 AM

11. Can does not mean should

If judges can be expected to be on-call 24 hours per day for routine things like BAC blood tests and are only a phone call away, then probable cause would never apply to anything because the same standard could apply to any search. The constitution doesn't protect you from all searches, just unreasonable ones. If people were being pulled over at drunk roadblocks and being asked for blood samples without probable cause, it might be one thing, but I don't think that's the case anywhere. I'd much rather see the court establish federal guidelines for what constitutes probable cause rather than creating some system of on-call judges to rubber stamp everything the police do.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Major Nikon (Reply #11)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 09:34 AM

13. But that's not the issue before the court

At some later date they might hear a case defining precisely what constitutes probable cause, but don't hold your breath; such a tight restriction is unlikely to be established any time soon. The driver in this case had already failed four out of four field sobriety tests, thereby establishing a reasonable suspicion that he was intoxicated.

Like it or not, judges already have considerable authority to grant warrants if probable cause has been demonstrated, and if that includes the drawing of blood, then--as it stands now--the law supports this.

You may argue that judges shouldn't possess this authority; I welcome you to tell us who should have that power instead. .

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Orrex (Reply #13)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:21 AM

15. I'm not saying that's the issue before the court

Nor am I saying judges shouldn't possess that authority. However, rulings in one case may certainly be used as precedent in others. That's why I don't think the court is ever going to rule categorically that warrants are neither required or are not necessary in this instance. I do expect some guidance in the form of a probable cause test of some sort.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Major Nikon (Reply #15)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 11:07 AM

22. I expect that they will rule that warrants must be obtained when they reasonably can be

In cases where a warrant can't reasonably be obtained in a sufficiently timely manner, then the definition of "probable cause" will likely be expanded, giving greater jurisdiction to the officer(s) on the scene. This would open a whole can of worms as to what "reasonably be obtained" might mean, but that's how it goes. Given the court's track record, and since the issue primarily involves local jurisdictions versus individual citizens, I sense that they will rule in generally favor of the government even if this particular case is acknowledged to have dropped the ball.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 03:31 AM

2. I vote for the other hand

While people may not remember when BA levels had to be .10 or higher, on this at least we are moving in the right direction.

However; it hardly means that blood can be demanded at will, surely the 4th of that much derided document must have some hold.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 04:02 AM

3. Okay SCOTUS may have made a good decision for a change

Last edited Thu Jan 10, 2013, 03:22 PM - Edit history (1)

I think they were right to question how it might be okay to stick a needle in some one's arm without a warrant. I cannot see how that is NOT a violation of a person's privacy. How prosecutors could possibly think that is okay baffles me. Aren't prosecutors supposed to be fair and ethical? Talk about prosecutorial misconduct. That would seem to be the best example.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dballance (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 07:42 AM

5. On New Years eve, in Tn.

The police set up road-blocks and if you were suspected of DUI, you did not have the "right" to refuse a blood test. I do not know if this is a permanent law that went into effect this year, but it was definitely in effect for New Years. The article in our local paper was not clear if this was a temporary "law" or not.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dotymed (Reply #5)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 02:56 PM

25. My Home State of TN Still Continues to Embarrass Me. /eom

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dotymed (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:26 AM

39. In my opinion, that is not Constitutional.

Also, one thing that's always bothered me is the arbitrary designation of .08 BAC as the threshold for criminality. A person can chug a beer, and be above that threshold for 20 minutes or so, and not be drunk. Another can drink continuously all night and not seem drunk, yet they most certainly are.

I don't know, I have a problem with these DUI laws. I know it's not a popular position to take, but just my opinion.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dballance (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:26 AM

16. If they always had a trained nurse on hand to take the blood

 

it wouldn't bother me, but I really don't want some fat-fingered cop digging around my arm for a vein. But this all arises from someone refusing the breathalyzer. If they'd rather have a cop rooting around for a vein, I guess that's there decision. After all the cops would have already had probable cause by then, because they conduct the FS Tests first.

But let me be clear - they would certainly need to have a warrant to invade your bloodstream.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AAO (Reply #16)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 03:07 PM

28. Seriously That Would Make It More Legal?

Just because they may have a professional on hand does not make it less invasive to a person's privacy.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dballance (Reply #28)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 09:28 AM

35. Make what legal? Taking your blood with a search warrant?

 

They can do this now!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AAO (Reply #16)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 03:36 PM

29. Even if SCOTUS were to rule

that blood can be drawn without a warrant I am sure it would still need to be done at a medical facility (ER or clinic) or at least by someone certified such as a nurse or EMT.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jenoch (Reply #29)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 09:30 AM

36. I though the whole point was to do it onsite before the alcohol left their system?

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AAO (Reply #36)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 10:40 PM

37. I am not aware

of a situation where LEOs are actually drawing blood. With some exceptions, such as remote areas, there are medical facilities nearby. Also, most of the time, at the time an arrest for DUI is made, the driver's BAC is still rising.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AAO (Reply #16)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:29 AM

40. What difference does it make?

If it's a cop or a nurse?

We have to draw a line somewhere. The state has too much authority as it is.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dballance (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 03:50 PM

30. Well, given the way they ruled on Florence last year, I don't have much hope...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 04:41 AM

4. They should NOT be able to take blood from you without a warrant.

Only exemption being if you are involved in an accident with bodily injury to someone other than yourself. At that point, if there is probable cause that YOU caused the injury, and you refuse a breath test, you should be coerced for blood.

Here in CA, if you refuse a misdemeanor DUI test, you get the same penalties as a DUI (suspended license, etc), but you do not get a DUI. That is how it should be.

The reason they want blood immediately is due to rising BAC, Benzodiazapines with short half-lives (Alprazolam AKA Xanax), etc.


If I blow a .06 in the field, which is inadmissible in court on the "People's" side due to the inaccuracy of standard field sobriety tests, and then 45 minutes later at the station I blow a .09, anyone with $5k is getting the case thrown out, because they can argue at the time they were not impaired.


Again, my stance is for misdemeanor DUI suspicion, AKA you get pulled over after leaving the pizzeria. If you refuse, yes, you will pay fines, lose privileges, etc. But nobody should be able to stick a needle in your arm due to the standard police description in a DUI report of "I pulled him over because he/she made a wide left-turn. They had watery eyes and poor coordination when accessing their wallet for their driver's license."

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Socal31 (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 03:04 PM

27. I have a relative who had a pretty bad stroke. He gets around just fine, but he can look a little

loaded when he's tired.


He doesn't drink. Not a drop. Ever. Nor does he take any mind-altering substances, legal or illegal, save perhaps a cup of coffee with breakfast.

He'd be pulled into one of those "wide net of suspicion" type events that you describe.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Socal31 (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 06:19 PM

33. I wouldn't like that

I don't drink, unless I'm alone at home. And I don't drive since my car died a year ago.
But we have that pesky protection against self incrimination. And you should (and do) have the right not to consent to a search. And that includes your blood. If the cops think they have enough PC to take away your freedom and your money through fines, ect, let them work for it. If I was driving on nothing but root beer, I would still refuse the blood test.
Make them work for it. A cop is not your friend. He is not there to help you. He's there to put you, innocent or guilty, in a cage. Make them work for it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to christx30 (Reply #33)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:33 AM

41. Kicking your post for truth.

Well said.

Make them work for it, indeed.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Fantastic Anarchist (Reply #41)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 02:39 PM

42. In other words:

What good is it to have civil rights if you get punished for using them? "You can insist on a warrent for me to enter your home, but then I'll bring dogs in here and they'll rip up your stuff." or "You can insist on a warrent for blood, but then I'll fine you as if you were already guilty."

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 08:09 AM

6. what really sucks is that any victory for civil liberties here is likely to be hollow

i heard a snippet of oral arguments on npr. as a practical matter, requests for warrants are rarely denied.

they really just want to avoid the hassle and time delay of getting a warrant (which may only be a phone call away anyway).

if a warrant were a requirement, they could get it as a matter of course. really, on what basis would a judge deny it?

only perhaps it if was apparent that it was being overused, e.g., if a judge were bombarded with an implausibly large number of warrant requests, or repeated requests for the same suspect.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 08:28 AM

8. This oughta be interesting n/t

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 08:50 AM

10. Alcohol is odorless and tasteless

 

So when a cop says he smells the "ODOR" of intoxicants on your breath, he/she is lying!! What they really smell is the flavoring, such as beer. In evidentiary exhibits cops can't tell the difference between Near Beer and regular beer.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Disconnect (Reply #10)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 09:10 AM

12. Really? I have smelled alcohol on drinkers.

There is definitely an odor to those who have been drinking.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Evergreen Emerald (Reply #12)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 09:37 AM

14. As stated above, you do not smell the etoh but the other stuff in the booze

Many serious alcoholics favor vodka because there is less stuff in it to smell. They can brown bag it all day and you don't notice until slurred speech or they do something inappropriate like pee on the rug.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AngryAmish (Reply #14)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 11:51 AM

23. At some point they end up smelling like a distillery.

Probably coming out of their pores. I can smell hard core vodka drinkers, no problem. Gin too.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Disconnect (Reply #10)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:41 AM

18. Ever try tasting 190 proof Everclear? 95% alchohol - the taste alone can kill you.

 

Sounds like you are talking about a subject you know nothing about. You're not a drinker I take it?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AAO (Reply #18)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 11:04 AM

20. We used it to start fires when the temperture was below zero in Alaska. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Disconnect (Reply #10)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 11:05 AM

21. Ignorant statement

Alcohol combines with enzymes in the body to create the alcohol-like smell.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Disconnect (Reply #10)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 05:48 PM

32. Ethanol definitely has a smell.

As people who've worked in any sort of biology lab can tell you - we use it all the time as a sterilizing agent.

Also, alcohol metabolism releases a ton of smelly substances.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:34 AM

17. If you can't secure a conviction from a jury with a video of the suspect...

then no conviction is warranted. PERIOD FULL STOP. Forcibly taking blood..disgusting and shameful.

Edit - And posters here are ok with it with 'qualifications'. DU 2013

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 11:03 AM

19. An unlicenced, unpracticed cop taking blood. What could possibly go wrong?

And would local police reuse needles to save money?

Scary shit indeed.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 01:29 PM

24. WHA??

 

So I can refuse a breath test but I can't refuse my blood being drawn against my will. Really???
And some people on this board are okay with blood being drawn?
That sure is not underground thinking.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 02:59 PM

26. kick

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 05:24 PM

31. Since driving is a privlege, not a right

and since you consent to a breathalyzer test when you apply for a license, it seems to me that refusing the test should simply be treated as a guilty plea in any case not involving injury or death.

If someone has been inured or killed, then a warrant is called for, since the matter went from misdemeanor to felony.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2013, 07:07 PM

34. What I was most surprised by was the hospital performing the test

not only without the patient's consent but with his expressed refusal.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:45 AM

38. Fuck them ...

Oh, and the tests, too.

Now, I'll read the article.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread