Monday, July 22, 2013

No refusal isn't just for weekends anymore

No longer must we wait for holidays and three-day weekends to celebrate the evisceration of the Fourth Amendment. Now, in Harris County, we can celebrate it every day. That's because the Harris County District Attorney's Office has decided to make every day a No Refusal Day.

Going forward anytime a motorist is stopped and arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and refuses to consent to a breath test, police will obtain a warrant to strap that motorist down and stick a needle in their arm. The expansion of No Refusal Weekends was announced by the Harris County District Attorney's Office but no one from the county judiciary had anything to say (publicly) about the plan.

It strikes me as quite interesting that the DA's office would announce a program expanding the use of search warrants to conduct forcible blood draws while the people who would actually sign the warrants said nothing. There just isn't any question that men and women wearing black polyester robes will take the warrant application from their fax machine and sign it unconditionally.

No Refusal Weekends only work when judges are compliant and willing to cast aside any shred of impartiality and join "the team." There is no random wheel that assigns judges to sit and wait for search warrant applications to come across the telephone lines. Judges are recruited to blindly sign search warrants authorizing forcible blood draws at the drop of a hat.

This willingness to sign warrants without scrutiny is a blatant violation of the oaths they took when they took they position on the bench. The name of the game isn't teaming up to rid the streets of drunk drivers - the name of the game is to ensure that the constitutional rights of the accused are protected. Judges who are worried about looking soft on crime are doing us all a great disservice by sitting on the bench in judgment of others.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Paul, why don't you pull out the stops and let us know how you REALLY feel about no-refusal strapdowns?
Let's not hold our breath waiting for judges (or jurors, alas) to stop viewing themselves as arms of the prosecution.