Monday, June 18, 2012

Kansas Judge talks about harsh new DUI laws.

Well, our constitutional protections are beat down even more.  The Kansas Legislature is making it a crime to exercise your fifth amendment right.  It is a long held belief that you don't have to do anything that provides evidence to prosecute you in a criminal case, but that looks like it will be changing on July 1, 2012.  The legislature is making it illegal to refuse to blow in a breathalyzer.

This just doesn't make sense to me and I can't see how it will stand up to the fifth amendment when it gets to the Kansas Supreme Court, which is surely will.  I don't understand how anyone can use the legal argument like used in the article below?  Punishing people more harshly for a law that they don't even know exists does nothing to deter criminals.  That and to say that its ok to violate our constitutional protections because it makes the streets safer is moronic!  Why don't we just start going into people's houses and start searching for illegal things, I mean if it keeps the streets more safe it would be justified by this line of thought.  Or better yet we could just suspend the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendment altogether.

Here is the article that inspired this post.

Judges hopeful new DUI laws will equal safer streets

By Craid Andres

Wichita, Kansas -- Two of the last five years Kansas had the second largest increase in alcohol-related fatalities in the nation. One Wichita judge says a new law may help change that statistic.  Beginning July first, if you refuse to take a breathalyser test on a suspected DUI traffic stop, it's a crime. A second traffic stop and refusal is a felony.  "I think the new law will certainly help," says Wichita judge Phil Journey.  For Journey, it's personal.

"Well I've been working on the issue and trying to improve the DUI laws in Kansas for almost a decade now," explains Journey. "Since I started in the Kansas Senate years ago. I started running bills when I was in the Kansas Senate and it was always a very difficult and emotional issue."  But Journey says making the second refusal to take a breathalyser test, a big move. A move he hopes will get the attention of those who chose to drink and drive.  "Well, I can't tell you how frustrated I get sometimes when I see an offender that has come before me two or three times in the past and that they just can't seem to make a little better choice in their life," says Journey. "But, I think that we will find eventually that these will be very positive changes in Kansas law that will help make us all a little bit safer."

Some attorneys in Kansas are left wondering if personal freedoms are being infringed upon with the new law.
"Any time anybody comes in and says we need tougher DUI laws that always sounds good initially," says Wichita Attorney Kurt Kerns. "Oh, sure, I'm all for tough law enforcement. But there reaches a point where you're sacrificing essential liberties and essential freedoms."

"It's been long held that nobody accused of a crime should be forced to do anything to... Provide evidence against themselves. Yet here we are passing laws that basically say that's the case. You have to offer evidence that could be used against you. And I think it violated the 5th amendment. I always have."

Judge Journey counters with keeping the streets safer. He also says, as a judge, he tries to use preventive measures to keep DUI offenders from offending again.  "I think it's really important as a judge that I have an array of options in front of me," says Journey. "You can't just jail them and expect them to get better. You need to have as many tools in the toolbox as possible and the statutes do give me more tools. For example, on repeat offenders they can be sent to the Department of Corrections for treatment prison rather than simply just be warehoused in the county jail. And then, after they come back from the treatment program, I can decide whether they stay in jail or get probation."

The new law begins July 1st.

4 comments:

  1. Personally, I believe the entirety of the DUI industry (and industry it is) is in flagrant violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

    While the concerns of advocacy groups are certainly valid, from a view of the paw, the appropriate mechanism is to specify intoxication as an aggravating factor for existing offenses, rather than to create an entirely new and separate offense.

    Official policy is of paramount importance, as those assumptions and attitudes are reflected back on the people in the character of the social institutions they construct for themselves.

    Unfortunately, people rarely concern themselves with the rights of others, but only take note when it is their own rights being violated.

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  2. The above comment should read, "...from a view of the law..."

    I would also like to note that placing more power in the hands of judges, due to issues of absolute immunity, etc., constitutes a decline in accountability of government.

    There's so much that is so wrong about this.

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  4. Journey forgot to say "I'm doing it for the kids"

    Make a fingerprint activated self breathalyzer ignition lock, so a friend can't blow in it for you.

    I'm sure there's some car lobby that has a reason to be against this.

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