Friday, April 9, 2010

Missouri to allow vampires to wear badges

The assault on the Constitution continues in Missouri as the state legislature is on the verge of passing a bill that would allow police officers to draw blood in DWI cases without the need of a warrant. Apparently far too many drivers in Missouri have exercised their right to refuse to submit to a breath test.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Bryce Stevenson, a Republican, noted that the state should be looking at treatment options for drunk drivers since alcoholism is an addiction. His bill also contains provisions for creating special DWI courts in Missouri.
"It's an addiction and there needs to be treatment." -- Rep. Bryce Stevenson 
Of course this new wave of "specialty courts" brings with it a host of new problems. The supposed purpose of these courts is to provide alternative treatment options in a non-adversarial framework. If that's the case, why do these courts require defendants to enter pleas and accept treatment options with the threat of harsh sanctions should they decline or relapse? If that's the goal - just place the person in treatment and dismiss the criminal case or dismiss upon completion of treatment. Specialty courts are the state's method of co-opting defense attorneys and depriving defendants of their constitutional rights. But enough of that rant for now...

The proposed legislation is the state's attempt to coerce drivers to submit to blood or alcohol testing by increasing the penalty for exercising your right to refuse. Mr. Stephenson's bill seeks to lengthen the license suspension for refusing a test from one year to two years.

We don't allow the police to draw blood from rape or murder suspects without a warrant. A murder suspect is entitled to speak to an attorney before answering ANY questions from the police. We don't punish them for not submitting voluntarily to a blood or DNA test. Yet if someone is arrested for a misdemeanor that is just one step removed from a traffic ticket - the Constitution be damned.

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