Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cops packing needles

Police in Arizona and Idaho are now carrying needles along with their sidearms in an attempt to limit further the rights of those arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. It's not enough that states strengthened penalties for those citizens who exercised their right not to incriminate themselves by refusing to submit to a breath test, now they want motorists to submit to blood draws by police officers in the field.

In Idaho, about 20% of the motorists arrested for suspicion of drunk driving exercise their right to refuse to submit a sample of their breath (the national average is 22%). Prosecutors say breath test refusals are the reason they still have to try as many DWI cases as they do. On the flip side, maybe the cops are a bit overzealous in arresting motorists for drunk driving. Of course, couldn't happen, right? All that state and federal grant money doesn't have any effect on the number of motorists arrested for DWI, does it?

According to the Associated Press, NHTSA is in contact with the Houston Police Department to institute phlebotemy training for DWI task force officers here in the Bayou City.

So now we have the Harris County District Attorney upset because people who plead guilty to driving while intoxicated are choosing to pay a fine and deal with a license suspension rather than opting for 12-18 months of probation (and headaches). We have prosecutors in Idaho upset that motorists are electing to take their DWI cases to trial. What we don't have is any acknowledgement from law enforcement that sometimes, believe it or not, they don't get it right - that sometimes they arrest innocent people.

According to the Bill of Rights, we are innocent unless proven guilty -- perhaps someone should examine the curriculum at the police academy and baby prosecutor school.


Jeff Gamso said...

And you should be prepared to deal with the fact that there will be forced and warrantless blood draws, which they all believe is perfectly fine based on the near-universal misreading of Brennan's opinion in Schmerber v. California.

Anonymous said...

No cop is taking my blood.

Andrew J Wright said...

nor will they be taking mine.