As many of you know, the United States Supreme Court in Michigan v. Sitz found that although sobriety checkpoints were apparent violations of the Fourth Amendment, they were only “minor” violations. Permitting police to stop citizens without reason to believe they had done anything wrong, Chief Justice Rehnquist said, was permissible in view of the government’s ongoing “War on Drunk Driving”. (See my earlier post, “DUI Sobriety Checkpoints: Unconstitutional?“)
Subsequently, politicians — fearful of MADD’s influence at the polls — have authorized the use of DUI roadblocks in 41 states. Others, including Washington State, have rebelled at this refusal to protect their citizens’ right to privacy and have banned the practice by relying upon their own state constitutions.
Recently, there has legislation proposed in Washington designed to avoid their own state Supreme Court’s ruling that DUI roadblocks were illegal. The Governor of the state, Christine Gregoire, has very publicly thrown her political muscle behind the new bill…
DUI Roadblock Bill Dies in Olympia
Olympia, WA. Seattle Times — Gov. Christine Gregoire suffered her first major defeat of the 2008 Legislature on Thursday when her push for drunken-driving checkpoints died without enough support from lawmakers…
But the plan encountered strong, bipartisan resistance in the Legislature. Critics said the Washington constitution’s privacy protections, which are stronger than those in federal law, prohibit police searches without a greater degree of suspicion.
Rep. Steve Kirby, D-Tacoma, said he heard loud and clear from constituents that the police roadblocks weren’t a good idea. He agreed.
“To me, this is a step away from letting the police stop us on the streets and search our pockets and our backpacks,” Kirby said.
It’s unfortunate that the politicans of so many other states are more concerned about MADD than about the rights of their citizens.
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