Utah DUI–Fourth Amendment is Still Alive!

I found an interesting article this afternoon.  It was really interesting to me because it was my case.  This case was first heard in the North Logan Justice Court.  The judge in that Court heard the exact same evidence but ruled that the officers had reasonable suspicion.   I didn’t agree with the judge’s decision so we appealed the case to the District Court.  The District Court Judge Judkins listen to the evidence, analyzed, and questioned the evidence.  He made the correct ruling regarding an unpopular crime.  Here’s the article.

4th Amendment holds in a case of mooning, alcohol
The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 05/08/2008 02:18:46 PM MDT

Posted: 2:20 PM- LOGAN — A judge threw out a drunken-driving charge in a case that involved bare bottoms and a defiant step on the gas.
Police stopped Nicholas Johnson, 22, after he revved his pickup truck in response to friends who mooned him at a traffic stop.
An officer smelled alcohol and arrested Johnson, who had a blood-alcohol level of 0.13 percent, above Utah’s legal threshold.
But defense attorney Glen Neeley claimed the officer had no probable cause to stop the pickup truck last September in North Logan. First District Judge Clint Judkins agreed.
"We’re not a police state yet," Judkins said Wednesday. "Revving your engine is not illegal.
"This has to be looked at through two windows. The first being that the police officer was on the street simply doing his job, the other is a person’s Fourth Amendment right," the judge said, referring to an unreasonable search.

Here is two other links to the same story.

  1. Ksl
  2. AOL

    It is interesting to read the comments at the end of these posts.  Some people feel that Officer Elleman was justified in trampling over the 4th Amendment, that he did the wrong thing but for the right reason.  Many others agree with the judge.  I am proud of judges that make the right decisions regardless of the popular vote.  This type of judge protects what little rights we do have–even in a case that involved someone "accused" of a DUI.  While getting a criminal justice degree, students learn the importance of respecting peoples constitutional rights, and because the  judge did not just protect this young man’s rights, he protected all of us from an unreasonable search and seizure.  Imagine a police state where an officer can pull you over for no reason.  Many say, "I don’t have anything to hide."  To you I say good for you; can’t wait for the government to intrusively invade your life for no reason and find that one imperfection in your life so you can say, "I have nothing to hide".  Then you will be looking down the barrel of a prosecution that is wrongful and false, and your only defense is "I have nothing to hide."

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