October 27, 2020

US Justices to review chemical testing of suspected drunk drivers

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Credit: aijohn784/iStockphoto.com.

Credit: aijohn784/iStockphoto.com.

By Marcia Coyle, From The National Law Journal

Case tests laws criminalizing refusals, absent a warrant, to take alcohol tests.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether states can impose criminal penalties on someone who, in the absence of a warrant, refuses to take a chemical test to detect alcohol in his or her blood.

The justices said they would hear arguments in three combined cases—Birchfield v. , Beylund v. Levi and Bernard v. Minnesota. North Dakota, Minnesota and 11 other states make it a crime for persons suspected of driving while impaired to decline to submit to warrantless chemical tests of their blood, breath or urine.

“These criminal test-refusal penalties apply even when the person prosecuted for refusal to submit to a warrantless search was not charged with—or, indeed, was acquitted of—driving while impaired,” Mayer Brown’s Charles Rothfeld, counsel to , writes. “The issue presented by these statutes therefore is a stark one: The criminal penalty here is imposed purely and simply for refusal to surrender the right to resist an unwarranted search.”

The high court also added three other cases to its argument docket, including Sheriff v. Gillie. In that case, Ohio’s attorney general asks the justices whether lawyers who are appointed as special counsel to collect debts owed to the state are “debt collectors” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The petition also asks whether it is misleading for those lawyers to use the attorney general’s letterhead to indicate that they are acting on behalf of the attorney general. Ohio contends the answer to both questions is no.

The other two cases are:

Army Corps of Engineers v. .: whether property owners have a right to judicial review of a decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that their property contains “waters of the United States” under the .

Ross v. Blake: whether there is a common-law “special circumstances” exception to the Prison Litigation Reform Act that relieves an inmate of his mandatory obligation to exhaust administrative remedies when the inmate erroneously believes that he satisfied exhaustion by participating in an internal investigation.

IMAGE: Credit: aijohn784/iStockphoto.com

For more on this story go to: http://www.nationallawjournal.com/id=1202744691582/Justices-to-Review-Chemical-Testing-of-Suspected-Drunk-Drivers#ixzz3uJtN44eA

 

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