Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Court overturns ruling in DUI case
pennlive.com ^ | 8/24/06 | PETE SHELLEM

Posted on 09/01/2006 8:37:33 PM PDT by elkfersupper

It was a case that prompted the president judge of Commonwealth Court to upbraid some judges for ignoring the constitution in the name of stopping drunk driving.

At issue: If a police officer outside his jurisdiction stops a vehicle and the driver refuses to take an alcohol breath t est, can the license of the driver be suspended for a year?

The answer is no, according to a ruling this week by the state Supreme Court.

Police have grounds to make arrests outside of their jurisdiction when they see a "felony, misdemeanor, breach of peace or any other act which presents an immediate clear and present danger to persons or property."

A motorist normally faces an automatic one-year license suspension by the state Department of Transportation if they refuse to take a breath or blood-alcohol test to determine intoxication. But that does not carry over if the stop is done outside the officer's jurisdiction, the high court reaffirmed.

In this case, a Hampden Twp. officer began following Myra J. Martin around Nov. 27, 2003, in the township, but stopped her in Camp Hill. She refused a breath test.

Because of Martin's refusal to take the breath test, PennDOT attempted to suspend her license. Cumberland County Judge Edgar B. Bayley threw out the suspension, but the Commonwealth Court overruled Bayley.

In Tuesday's opinion, Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille said the Commonwealth Court ruling contradicted almost identical cases and issues decided by the Supreme Court.

"I agree with the Supreme Court that PennDOT was trying desperately to revisit that issue and the Supreme Court said they were not going to do that," said Martin's attorney, John B. Mancke.

The high court ruling also backed what Commonwealth Court President Judge James Gardner Colins said when he disagreed with his court's majority opinion that backed the suspension.

"We do not want a police state," Colins wrote in his dissent. "It seems we are on the precipice of becoming one, in the name of DUI."


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: dui; dwi; madd; pennsylvania; sanity
Last paragraph:

"We do not want a police state," Colins wrote in his dissent. "It seems we are on the precipice of becoming one, in the name of DUI."

1 posted on 09/01/2006 8:37:34 PM PDT by elkfersupper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: CSM; VRing; JTN; Gabz; inneroutlaw; freepatriot32

Ping.


2 posted on 09/01/2006 8:38:39 PM PDT by elkfersupper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: elkfersupper

Love it love it love it.

Take cover from the incoming fireballs from DUI zealots.


3 posted on 09/01/2006 8:41:17 PM PDT by relictele
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: relictele
Ready.

Cover my 6.

4 posted on 09/01/2006 8:45:30 PM PDT by elkfersupper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Abram; albertp; AlexandriaDuke; Allosaurs_r_us; Americanwolf; Americanwolfsbrother; Annie03; ...
Libertarian ping.To be added or removed from my ping list freepmail me or post a message here
5 posted on 09/01/2006 8:48:11 PM PDT by freepatriot32 (Holding you head high & voting Libertarian is better then holding your nose and voting republican)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: elkfersupper
I'm glad to see this happen, The whole DUI issue is a gateway to destroy the rights and privacy of citizens. Tonight I was on the way home from dinner and got behind 7 police cars on the way to setting up a "Sobriety Checkpoint" where they stop everyone who comes down the road whether they have done anything wong or not.

Most likely the revenuers will not catch any drunk drivers, but the local operating budget of the police will be padded somewhat from tail lights being out, and tires not having enough tread. I recall hoping that the revenuers had to sit there through heavy rain that was happening in the area.
6 posted on 09/01/2006 8:59:45 PM PDT by KoRn
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: elkfersupper

It's good to know there are still judges following the law..


7 posted on 09/01/2006 9:03:02 PM PDT by Experiment 6-2-6 (Admn Mods: tiny, malicious things that glare and gibber from dark corners.They have pins and dolls..)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: KoRn
I'm with you.

I've already modified my behavior in that I won't drive at night anymore unless I have to.

How would I know whether any of the myriad of lights on my rig burned out while I was driving or not?

I don't want to have to do the roadside monkey dance for a burned-out license plate light.

8 posted on 09/01/2006 9:08:21 PM PDT by elkfersupper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Experiment 6-2-6
It's good to know there are still judges following the law.

I have the notion that he is doomed.

People have no idea how powerful MADD is.

They have "courtroom observers" who crucify judges like this.

9 posted on 09/01/2006 9:11:52 PM PDT by elkfersupper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: elkfersupper
This ruling surprises me for two reasons.
First, there are numerous rulings that if the officer begins to pursue someone, or observe an offense in his jurisdiction, then the officer can pursue the offender and make a stop outside of the jurisdiction.

Second, there was a ruling in the New Jersey state courts some years ago about jurisdiction. Some people might not like it, but when you think about it, it is absolute common sense.

In the case, a local police officer observed an offense outside of his town and stopped the car. The accused was convicted and appealled based on the fact that the offense did not happen in the officer's town, and the stop was not made in the officer's town, therefore the officer had no jurisdiction to make a stop.

The state argued that police officers in New Jersey are sworn to uphold the laws of the State of New Jersey. Since moving violations are part of the state laws, title 39, the court ruled that the officer was in fact upholding the laws of the State of New Jersey and was doing exactly what he was sworn to do.

And they are right. The oath and the laws authorizing police officers in new Jersey say nothing about the particluar town that swears the officer. If you're a cop in New Jersey, you're a cop in all of New Jersey. I wonder why other states have not followed this ruling.

10 posted on 09/01/2006 9:25:14 PM PDT by sig226 (There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who do not.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: elkfersupper
People have no idea how powerful MADD is.

MADD claims the NHTSA statistics as "drunk driving fatalities". MADD is lying.

NHTSA defines a fatal traffic crash as being alcohol-related if either a driver or a non-occupant (e.g., pedestrian) has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01 or greater in a police-reported traffic crash.

If a legally sober driver is involved in a traffic accident in which another legally sober person is killed, and the person killed happened to drink one beer 30 minutes prior to the accident, the NHTSA will classify that fatality as alcohol-related, and MADD will use that particular fatality to bolster its numbers in an effort to persuade the legislature to enact tougher laws to curb drunk driving.

MADD Flunks The Honesty Test .
11 posted on 09/01/2006 9:40:50 PM PDT by mugs99 (Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: elkfersupper
I don't know. I have mixed opinions on this one. Here is the simple fact: Most people pulled over for drunken driving are drunk. I was one of these people.

People who drink should not operate a vehicle for no less than 24 hours after their lips last touch a bottle. These are the rules I obey now.

Granted, far too much of DUI laws have been dictated by the neo-prohibitionist MADD. Nonetheless, I want to keep drunks off the road.

Go home. Grab a twelver and rent a movie or three from Blockbuster. Get F'ed-up in your home. Stay off the roads.

12 posted on 09/01/2006 9:48:04 PM PDT by Drew68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: KoRn
The wording in your post kind of triggered some synapses at this end. You noted the possibility of a "not enough tread" stop within the context of passing through a gauntlet of cops setting up a "sobriety checkpoint"....but you also noted that it was raining heavily. Now, in the situation of it raining heavily, I think you'd have to admit that "insufficient tread" has an increased likelihood of creating a hazardous skid condition even for a perfectly sober driver. Given that such a driver is assumedly sharing the road with you and/or me, it stands to reason that our safety would be negatively impacted. I'll for sure admit that a random cop-stop is unlikely to cause good feelings on your/my part while it's happening and our system of laws looks down on police action before a crime is committed....but at a much more vivid level, isn't this a similar concept to the CIA/FBI eavesdropping thing? I bring this up just as a thought exercise and I'm not calling you wrong. Just something to think about.
13 posted on 09/01/2006 10:16:38 PM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder (You're never more than a half-step away from a good note.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: sig226
I wonder why other states have not followed this ruling.

"We do not want a police state," [Commonwealth Court President Judge James Gardner] Colins wrote in his dissent. "It seems we are on the precipice of becoming one, in the name of DUI."

14 posted on 09/01/2006 10:26:56 PM PDT by brityank (The more I learn about the Constitution, the more I realise this Government is UNconstitutional.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: KoRn
I'm glad to see this happen, The whole DUI issue is a gateway to destroy the rights and privacy of citizens.
Yeah, you're right.

It is worth 10,000 - 20,00 or even 30,000 more deaths on the road each year ...

I would HATE to be inconvenienced even 30 seconds to save a life not my own for the sanctity of not having my rights violated.

15 posted on 09/01/2006 10:39:28 PM PDT by _Jim
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: elkfersupper

We already became a police state for the War on Drugs... then it was aimed at cigarettes... now at alcohol... when will it stop?


16 posted on 09/01/2006 10:40:17 PM PDT by thoughtomator (There is no "Islamofascism" - there is only Islam)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: _Jim; KoRn; freepatriot32; soundfly; OrthodoxPresbyterian
Yeah, you're right.

It is worth 10,000 - 20,00 or even 30,000 more deaths on the road each year ...

Presumes as fact matters not in evidence. In light of the inflated MADD DUI death statistics posted above, you should perhaps examine that figure, as well as consider alternate causuality.

I would HATE to be inconvenienced even 30 seconds to save a life not my own for the sanctity of not having my rights violated.

i see...and how many more of your rights are you willing to give up for the "cause of the day"? Funny thing this line of reasoning. Many on this board castigate the Libertarians and libertarians that post here as advocating a 'pick and choose anarchy', while those who are supposedly more enlightened authoritarians are demonstrating their hypocracy while picking and choosing which God given rights they would have violated for their pet causes.

Don't mean to offend FRiend, but if the shoe fits wear it proudly. If not, then toss it.

17 posted on 09/02/2006 5:24:00 AM PDT by Calvinist_Dark_Lord (I have come here to kick @$$ and chew bubblegum...and I'm all outta bubblegum! ~Roddy Piper)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: elkfersupper
" They have "courtroom observers" who crucify judges like this."

That they do, I know it for a fact.

They had one at mine and she wanted to sit with the prosecutor,at her table. We had to formally ask the judge to move her back to the gallery.

I'd never seen her before never affected her life, yet she was there to make sure I got the maximium penalty.

I found out later this is like her hobby she shows up all the time with her knitting and then stares the judge down during the dui cases. Now you not only have to face your acusser, but the fanatics too.

18 posted on 09/02/2006 5:30:30 AM PDT by Kakaze (Exterminate Islamofacism and Apologize for nothing.....except not doing it sooner!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: elkfersupper

Great decision by the judge.


19 posted on 09/02/2006 5:34:15 AM PDT by Mrs.Nooseman (Proud supporter of our Troops and President GW!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: thoughtomator
We already became a police state for the War on Drugs...

Ain't it the truth. We lock this kid up for 2 years for the crime of being asked by an undercover cop to sell him some marijuana. And that's a Federal mandatory sentence, one the jury was not told would be in effect. I'm not too inclined to worry about what happens to drunk drivers.

20 posted on 09/02/2006 5:34:18 AM PDT by Wolfie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: sig226
The oath and the laws authorizing police officers in new Jersey say nothing about the particluar town that swears the officer. If you're a cop in New Jersey, you're a cop in all of New Jersey. I wonder why other states have not followed this ruling.

Because state laws vary by state. That's why. What happens under New Jersey state law is irrelevant in Pennsylvania.

21 posted on 09/02/2006 5:35:42 AM PDT by ContraryMary (New Jersey -- Superfund cleanup capital of the U.S.A.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Drew68

People who drink should not operate a vehicle for no less than 24 hours after their lips last touch a bottle.



That seems pretty medically irrational.


22 posted on 09/02/2006 7:29:20 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your FRiendly FReeper Patent Attorney)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: _Jim

It is worth 10,000 - 20,00 or even 30,000 more deaths on the road each year ...



The total is about 40k. Only about 10% of that is *caused* by drunk drivers. And most of those deaths are the drunk drivers killing only themselves, or their adult passengers who consented to the risk.

The percent of traffic fatalities who are innocent victims of drunk drivers is relatively small indeed. And the vast majority of those are killed by drunks with BACs over 0.15, where the real correlation with impairment is found.


23 posted on 09/02/2006 7:35:51 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your FRiendly FReeper Patent Attorney)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: KoRn

"The whole DUI issue is a gateway to destroy the rights and privacy of citizens."

methinks you would feel differently if a relative was killed by a drunk.


24 posted on 09/02/2006 7:37:11 AM PDT by razzle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: sig226

The judge was commenting on the lack of due process for one particular type of offense.


25 posted on 09/02/2006 12:48:26 PM PDT by elkfersupper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: relictele

Being a DUI zealot strikes me as entirely sensible. This was a statutory case. Clearly, the statute needs to be amended. Police anywhere, on duty or off, should be able to arrest a DUI perp when they see one, no matter where they may be in a state. The drunk might kill somebody.


26 posted on 09/02/2006 12:51:27 PM PDT by Torie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: _Jim
It is worth 10,000 - 20,00 or even 30,000 more deaths on the road each year ...

You are sadly misinformed.

I would HATE to be inconvenienced even 30 seconds to save a life not my own for the sanctity of not having my rights violated.

That's not what all this is about.

27 posted on 09/02/2006 12:51:48 PM PDT by elkfersupper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: thoughtomator
when will it stop?.

Not until the torches and pitchforks come out.

28 posted on 09/02/2006 12:52:50 PM PDT by elkfersupper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Kakaze
Now you not only have to face your acusser, but the fanatics too.

In this part of the world, they participate in the roadblocks.

29 posted on 09/02/2006 12:53:57 PM PDT by elkfersupper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: razzle
methinks you would feel differently if a relative was killed by a drunk.

Define "drunk".

30 posted on 09/02/2006 12:55:13 PM PDT by elkfersupper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Torie
Being a DUI zealot strikes me as entirely sensible.

Zealotry is never sensible. Zealot: a fanatical partisan (according to Webster). We have enough partisanship and fanaticism without injecting it into yet another area of society in the name of 'safety' as defined by zealots.

Clearly, the statute needs to be amended

Strictly in your opinion. I happen to disagree and so did the judge.

Police anywhere, on duty or off, should be able to arrest a DUI perp when they see one, no matter where they may be in a state.

Arrest wasn't the issue. The issue was the breath test courtesy of the presumed-guilty implied consent law.

The drunk might kill somebody.

Perhaps but DUI enforcement has diverged wildly from its proper direction and scope and now encompasses 'checkpoints' that make a mockery of the 4th Amendment and MADD now has a cozy home at each state capitol still spouting false and misleading statistics and demanding more infringment of liberty. In other words, MADD=zealots and we don't need or want zealots making law, no matter what the cause.

Enacting laws and attempting to police what citizens MIGHT do is a fool's errand.

31 posted on 09/02/2006 5:59:42 PM PDT by relictele
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: sig226
You're joking, right.

No other States follow New Jersey law because New Jersey judges don't follow Jersey law. See the Toricelli case for example.

32 posted on 09/03/2006 9:59:07 AM PDT by metalurgist (Believe in my God or I will kill you! The cry of all religious extremists.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Wolfie

Uh, he was actually arrested for actually selling the actual marijuana. You'll get a lot more sympathy for your (arguably just) cause of castigating the police for conducting a sting if you would stop lying about the incidents.


33 posted on 09/03/2006 10:06:44 AM PDT by AmishDude (`[N]on-state actors' can project force around the world more easily than Canada". -- Mark Steyn)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: ContraryMary
You're missing the point. A police officer is sworn to uphold the laws of the state of . . . The laws on moving violations are state laws in any given town in any given state. They're not local to one town or another. So how do we swear the cop to enforce the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and then tell him that he can only enforce them in this area? His oath and those laws are just as valid in any other part of the state.

While I have enjoyed travelling at a speed greater than the posted limit on many occasions, and I got away with it (mostly), the New Jersey argument is right. They're doing what we swore them to do.

34 posted on 09/03/2006 5:37:28 PM PDT by sig226 (There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who do not.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: metalurgist

See post 34. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while.


35 posted on 09/03/2006 5:38:09 PM PDT by sig226 (There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who do not.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: sig226
So how do we swear the cop to enforce the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and then tell him that he can only enforce them in this area?

You're missing the point. It depends on the laws of the particular state.

36 posted on 09/03/2006 5:43:20 PM PDT by ContraryMary (New Jersey -- Superfund cleanup capital of the U.S.A.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: sig226
A police officer is sworn to uphold the laws of the state of . . .

If that were true, they wouldn't participate in those "Click it or Ticket" czechpoints.

37 posted on 09/03/2006 5:49:11 PM PDT by elkfersupper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: ContraryMary

I am not missing the point. Unless the state passes a law that prohibits police officers from enforcing laws anywhere other than their own town, the officer gets to enforce state laws. I am surprised that no other state has used this argument in its own appellate court.


38 posted on 09/03/2006 6:49:14 PM PDT by sig226 (There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who do not.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: elkfersupper
That is the result of a stupid SCOTUS ruling that assigned liability for car accident injuries to the car makers, unless the states passed laws requiring car occupants to use seatbelts. I wish I could remember the name of the case.

The seatbelts checks are often funded by federal money, but the states and towns operate the checkpoints and write the tickets and collect the money. It is a stupid encroachment of federal government in state affairs, and an insane ruling by the courts, but that's what we get when the courts fail to disbar people like John Edwards.

39 posted on 09/03/2006 6:54:47 PM PDT by sig226 (There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who do not.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: sig226

Well, you're obviously wrong -- at least in Pennsylvania.


40 posted on 09/04/2006 5:08:01 AM PDT by ContraryMary (New Jersey -- Superfund cleanup capital of the U.S.A.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: Drew68
People who drink should not operate a vehicle for no less than 24 hours after their lips last touch a bottle.

I had a few beers last evening at a friend's barbeque, I was home by nine. Are you telling me that I should not drive my car until nine this evening now?

41 posted on 09/04/2006 5:13:07 AM PDT by ShadowDancer (No autopsy, no foul.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: ShadowDancer
Are you telling me that I should not drive my car until nine this evening now?

I will tell you that you took a near-unacceptable risk.

Attract the attention of Law Enforcement on such an excursion, and you have 2 years of hell, and a lifetime of consequences.

42 posted on 09/04/2006 3:39:47 PM PDT by elkfersupper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: elkfersupper
I will tell you that you took a near-unacceptable risk.

That is patently absurd. Three beers between 4 and eight-thirty of one evening and you think driving before nine the next night is an unacceptable risk? That is silly at best.

43 posted on 09/04/2006 3:49:27 PM PDT by ShadowDancer (No autopsy, no foul.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: ShadowDancer
That is patently absurd.

I agree.

Read it and weap.

The DUI Exception to the Constitution"

44 posted on 09/04/2006 4:04:15 PM PDT by elkfersupper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: ContraryMary

I'm wrong that I'm surprised that no other state has followed the New Jersey ruling?


45 posted on 09/04/2006 9:12:39 PM PDT by sig226 (There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who do not.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson