Sunday, June 16, 2013

McNeely Curiosity, or Why Are Judges Hypocrites?

An interesting judicial phenomenon is spreading across the Fruited Plain, and things will get worse before they get better.

47 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a warrantless blood draw from a person arrested for drunk driving was okay IF exigency existed, AND the evanescence of the alcohol in the system was not, by itself, sufficient to justify the search - there had to be more.

Some courts in the country respected that ruling [as all must, under Supremacy Clause holdings]; courts in this state [the supposed land of Liberty, except to those of us who practice law in it!], however, did not - for decades they thumbed their noses at the Supreme Court's clear rule, holding, in contrast, that the evanescence of the alcohol alone is sufficient exigency to warrantlessly stab a person and suck out his life's juices.  That is, our courts practiced anti-liberty judicial tyranny, just as the courts of the old Jim Crow South did.

The Supreme Court held, just about a month ago, again that evanescence is not enough - there must be more.  Now our courts are saying, in essence, "well, since the cops relied on our old rule for so long, evidence collected in reliance on that old rule, concededly now unconstitutionally seized, should not be suppressed, because that would be unfair to them."  Uh..., HELLO!  Unfair to the cops????  Is that what the Constitution guarantees, fairness to the constabulary, at the expense of liberty?

In our courts' twist, the cops can rely on "ignorance of the law" IS an excuse for their conduct, but us regular folk would be laughed out of court, or into jail, for pleading "ignorance of the law" in our matters, because it is no excuse.  Because our courts have thumbed their noses at the U.S. Supreme Court for almost 5 decades, our cops should be given a pass?  In our scheme of things, or the Framers' scheme of things, who is to be protected by the Constitution, individuals or government?  Was the Constitution written to protect government?

Our judges should be ashamed of themselves for concocting a doctrine of reasonable reliance on erroneous law; that is being woven from whole cloth.  It is bad enough that cops are able to get away with "ignorance of the law is an excuse" for bad warrants [if they would not have known] or for reversed direction of the Supreme Court, but to allow it when the Supreme Court merely reiterates a rule that others, in the pursuit of easy DUI convictions, have chosen to ignore calls into question the entire meaning of a rule of law, and of constitutional law.

Judges are charged with a duty to patrol the boundary lines of the Constitution and to protect individuals from overweening government; they are not supposed to become the overweeners themselves nor to protect their police chums.

All doubts should be resolved in the direction of the individual, because that is what constitutional law is all about.

There are so many other aspects of this new state judicial tyranny, but we want to give it in installments so the constituent parts can be fully absorbed.

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