This is an interesting story from the Daily Herald: http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=405169. A woman is suing the police and the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office for malicious prosecution and wrongful arrest for DUI. She was pulled over for DUI and Police and the State’s Attorney’s Office obtained a warrant to take her blood. She refused to comply and was charged with contempt of court as well as DUI. The contempt of court charge was thrown out and she was found not guilty of the DUI.
It will be interesting to see if her case is a winner. This appears to be a new trend the police and prosecution in Illinois. They have a judge “on call” to issue warrants for blood of people accused of DUI’s. In order for the police to obtain a warrant, they must have probable cause. My concern with this new trend is whether the judge is actually evaluating each case to determine if the police do in fact have probable cause to obtain the evidence from someone’s person.
This should not be taken lightly. We are dealing with the Fourth Amendment right to free from unreasonable search and seizures. And we are not dealing with a search of someone’s home, which is obviously very important. Instead we are dealing with the search of someone’s actual person. What can be a more sacred right than that? I don’t think they should be allowed to take our blood without consent, period.
However, if the courts do believe it passes constitutional muster, I still have concerns about the way it is being done. My fear is that the judge issuing the warrant is just hearing the same old contrived story from police officers concerning DUI arrest. The person, in the police officer’s subjective point of view, failed field sobriety tests. However, there are many police officers who are not qualified to give such an opinion. If we are going to allow the State to take such an invasive action such as taking our blood from our persons, I think we must demand that the proper standard of probable cause be met.
To me, this at the very least requires the judge granting the warrant to inquire into the police officers experience in giving the very technical field sobriety tests they rely upon.