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Readers' forum: DUI checkpoints

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  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Feb. 21, 2012 6:13 a.m.

    I am not opposed to DUI checkpoints.

    However, while they have someone pulled over, they should check the drivers phone also to see if they have been Texting or Web surfing while driving.

    If it is about making the roads safer, this check should be included.

    And the penalties should be the same.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 8:26 a.m.

    You should know by now that Republicans want the rules to apply to everyone else except them personally. The Constitution is great, except when it is inconvenient to their particular views.

  • Noodlekaboodle Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 9:24 a.m.

    Just like this letter writer i'm suprised as well. That I agree with an ultra conservative republican senator, when i'm to liberal to be a democrat. DUI checkpoints are irritating and I would love to see them go. Why should I have to prove that i'm not doing anything wrong? If i'm drunk driving pull me over. If I look like i'm drunk driving pull me over. But why, as a law abiding citizen should I be subject to questioning and search because i'm driving down a street I helped pay for?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 21, 2012 9:32 a.m.

    I am 100% behind catching drunk drivers, but regardless of what the courts say, the 4th Amendment does not allow a blanket search warrant to be issued to trap anybody who happens to be in the area:

    4th Amendment:

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 9:39 a.m.

    the repub ideal of guilty until proven innocent is getting old. If TSA is horrible then why are DUI checkpoints ok?

    Once again, the inconsistency from the crazy right knows no bounds!

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 10:08 a.m.

    Could it be that legislators are afraid of getting caught?

  • Arm of Orion Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 10:20 a.m.

    Couple of issues that need to be raised here people. First off Joe your idea of having cops look at someones phone is unconsitutional on its face using the 4th amendment. You want my phone get a warrant otherwise you can't look at it.

    Mike, based on common law found before the founders created the constitution we see that there is no issue with a warantless check on DUIs seeing that they are not in the privacy of their own home and are a public health and safety issue. Therefore, we can see that since they are not in private and they could be a clear and present danger then a stop like is constitutional not only because there is no privacy expected but because it targets everyone equally without respect to race, religion, gender, orany other protected class.

  • David King Layton, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 10:27 a.m.

    As Americans, we have to take more seriously our rights and know them before we lose them. Many DUI checkpoints will ask "Have you had anything to drink tonight?" Many states will not require you to answer this question as it violates our 5th amendment rights against self-incrimination. You can find videos on the internet of people who refuse to answer this question and are eventually allowed to proceed, because the police know they cannot legally force you to answer this question. The question itself may be more to just buy time to look for probable cause. Because I don't drink, and don't want to waste time, I would just say "no, I haven't had anything to drink" but I do think it's important that we recognize that we are answering such questions voluntarily, and are not legally obligated to do so. (That is, in some states. I don't know if there is a specific provision in Utah that requires a response or not.)

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Feb. 21, 2012 11:48 a.m.

    "since they are not in private and they could be a clear and present danger then a stop like is constitutional not only because there is no privacy expected but because it targets everyone equally without respect to race, religion, gender"

    Hmm Arm. I just don't see how your logic allows for DWI checkpoint and not a Txting While Driving Checkpoint. TWD has been shown to be even more of a danger on the road.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 1:12 p.m.

    Meanwhile, the conservative Eagle Forum has joined the conservative chorus shouting that use of safety belts in cars is a matter of "individual choice."

    Will they next be telling us that drinking and driving is also a matter of "individual choice?"

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 1:20 p.m.

    Arm of Orion said:
    Couple of issues that need to be raised here people. First off Joe your idea of having cops look at someones phone is unconsitutional on its face using the 4th amendment. You want my phone get a warrant otherwise you can't look at it.
    Therefore, we can see that since they are not in private and they could be a clear and present danger then a stop like is constitutional not only because there is no privacy expected but because it targets everyone equally without respect to race, religion, gender, orany other protected class.

    But by your own logic your phone is in a public place, exactly like your vehicle and person, and it is a "clear danger" to be txting since statistically your as dangerous as a drunk.

    Also putting a dozen cops in one place doesn't serve the public as well as patrolling does.
    Why don't we just put fences around every township, and the police could check every person coming and going for the proper paperwork and a UA?

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 2:37 p.m.

    @Arm of Orion

    I am a staunch believer in the 4th amendment, and believe it to be the most important as to prevent government encrouchment in our lives. That being said, in the State of Utah driving is considered a privilege, not a right. (I dare anyone to get through life without a drivers lisence though) When we renew our lisence we sign a form that is called implied consent. Basically by operating a vehicle I consent to be subject to alcohol tests.

    While it does not specifically target phones (yet) it seems to be a logical step. Studies show driving while texting is just as dangerous while driving while drinking. I think it only a matter of time before we have implied to consent to search cell phones for signs of usage.

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 3:16 p.m.

    "Um, 'scuse me sir. Have you had anything to drink tonight? Could I please see the texting records of your phone? Oh and, could you please show me your papers?"

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 3:43 p.m.

    Doesn't Bush's "Patriot Act" already allow checking your cell-phone records?

    DUI checkpoints PALE in comparision as an infringment of privacy compared to that little trampling of the Constitution.

    Why are Conservatives so silent on that one?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 21, 2012 4:22 p.m.

    Common law does not supersede the Constitution. The Constitution guarantees that we will not be searched without a specific court order, based on probable cause. That condition does not exist in a checkpoint.

    I've been stopped. I've complied, but each time I do that, I wonder why I didn't demand to see the court order that specifically gave the police the authority to search me and my car. I had nothing to hide, but I am a citizen and I have rights that are protected by the Constitution. I personally believe that those rights are violated at those check-points.

    To me, it is not a matter of "catching drunks"; it is a matter of the Constitutional right to NOT be searched without a warrant that SPECIFICALLY states the reason that the judge has for searching ME or anything that I own.

  • David King Layton, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 4:41 p.m.

    @LDS Liberal "Why are Conservatives so silent on that one?" (referring to the Patriot Act)

    I don't know if I qualify as a representative of conservatives, but the Patriot Act is one of the greatest crimes against the Constitution of our time. The fact is, though, that neither party has done much to oppose it. We have President Bush to thank for it's creation and President Obama to thank for signing its extension. Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate (Republican or Democrat) that even talks about it anymore. Sadly, those who have taken the most principled stand against it are derided as "extremists". Dennis Kucinich on the left, Ron Paul on the right. Our own Mike Lee deserves some commendation for voting against the extension of the unconstitutional power grab that is the Patriot Act.

    This issue, I think more than any other, demonstrates that neither party has a claim to defending the Constitution, limiting government, or defending civil liberties.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 5:14 p.m.

    I really wish folks like Mike Richards would actually read these types of stories and be honest.

    Anyone else remember a free and glorious America? When one could be successful with hard work? Instead of rewarded handouts for being the son of a rich car manufacturer? When secretaries of billionaires paid less than their bosses in taxes?

    Anyone else remember the America that provided us a good balance of freedom and security? I remember growing up, no one forced me to wear seatbelts or monitor my texts.

    Now? Because of the repubs, they have these guilty until proven innocent DUI checkpoints and TSA. Now, the government is in my bedroom, kitchen, and car. They tell me everything, from what I can text to where I can use the pot. I grow tired of this government overreach.

    Where in the Constitution does it mention DUI checkpoints? TSA? Patriot Act? Where?

    Why is it that the Constitution is merely a piece of paper when a repub is President? Why does our Utah government rant against the federal government's bullying then promote local government bullying and overreach?

    I long for a free America, lets not sell our liberties for cheap security.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 6:49 p.m.

    re: Maverick,

    Having a bad day? Why else would you publicly attack another poster and claim that he is the problem. Did you read his posts? BOTH of his posts explicitly stated that he believes that DUI checkpoints were NOT Constitutional. Do you have a problem with that or is this just another of your daily attacks against that poster?

  • Let's Agree to Disagree Spanish Fork, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 8:54 p.m.

    I am sorry but I have to set something straight. These texting while driving vs DUI 'studies' are ludicrous. I would love to see the scientific methods they use to arrive at this result. So many things can be done to skew results for a study like this, even unintentionally (or intentionally if you are going to get another grant to continue your research).

    I could make half a dozen arguments here, but I will stick to one. What are they considering drunk? Someone who shows no signs of being inebriated but is over the technical legal limit? To put this another way, I have seen people so drunk that they were reduced to moving from point A to point B on their hands and knees (still unclear is why they considered this fun). I have never seen a person similarly incapacitated by texting.

    Please do not misconstrue what I am saying as an endorsement of drinking or texting while driving...I do neither.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Feb. 22, 2012 6:25 a.m.

    To Agree to Disagree,

    The point is this.

    These checkpoints will nail anyone who has a Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) of .08 or higher.

    Given the choice I would rather share the road with someone at .10 BAL than someone that is texting.

    Now, .15 or .20 BAL? I may take my chance with the texters.

    But, it is easy for me to see how someone texting while driving is more dangerous than someone slightly over the legal limit.

    But these things are typically viewed VERY differently.

  • Arm of Orion Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 22, 2012 7:09 a.m.

    Ok gentlemen let's first look at the differences between asking for a phone and asking if you've been drinking. For drinking it is not invasive to ask, "Have you been drinking?" Then look in the car or smell the breath from the person driving. That is assuming that the cop doesn't open the car door without a warrant or express spoken permission of the car owner. If a cop were to enter the car without permission of either a warrant or the driver then the search is unconstitutional plain and simple. This is akin to a cop looking into an open window and seeing someone grow marijuana. As it was said in many cases, "The eye cannot be guilty of tresspass."

    Now let's go onto the phone. A phone according to SCOTUS is an "effect" therefore to be seized the officer must have a warrant. If he asks to look at a phone and the driver says no the cop can do nothing to seize the phone without the warrant. For this standard to change we would need to have a change in the case law. For that I say good luck it is nigh impossible to get a case to the SCOTUS.

  • Arm of Orion Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 22, 2012 7:26 a.m.

    Let's though turn now to a far more prominent issue Mike that seems to pop up everywhere you go. The issue is this: you believe that there are no other possible interpretations to the constitution other than what you have prescribed. Anyone who disagrees with you is at best anti-consitution and at worst a Nazi-Communist. How is that possible seeing that the document is rather vague, especially when dealing with privacy seeing that this is a penumbra right. The founders left room for interpretation they had to otherwise the nation would become rigid and stale. The dynamic nature of the document which allows for various interpretation is what makes this nation great. Robust debate on the founding principles and how to fulfill them is what allows our nation to progress and yet Mike you would have us stifle this? That would not serve the nation at all!

    Now let's look at your statement of "common law does not supersede the constitution." Whether you like it or not common law is the constitution in action and has been since the days of Marbury v Madison. If you know your history you would realize that this was made a standard in the days of the founders. Seeing that they did nothing to stop this it is obvious they gave a form of approval to this specific way of deciding the constitutionality of a case. However does that mean case law is always right? No that is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that case law is what decides what is constitutional at the time. Sometimes they get things wrong more often than not they get it right. You want to change this system again I say good luck you will need a constitutional amendment.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 22, 2012 8:40 a.m.

    Now I understand you, Arm of Orion. If I use the words of the Constitution and if those words don't agree with your philosophy, then I am labeling you as a Nazi-Communist.

    What nonsense! How would any American who can read say that the 4th Amendment does not say exactly what it says:

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    Did you read the part that says " no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    I am a person and my car is a place.

    If the police think that I've been doing something illegal in my car, they are REQUIRED to take their evidence to a judge and get a warrant to search my car or my person BEFORE searching my car or ME.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Feb. 22, 2012 9:54 a.m.

    I agree with those who demonstrate that it is unconstitutional to search anyone anywhere without a legal and specific warrant, officially signed and issued, and that a general warrant is illegal under the supreme law of the land. This protection of the individual against arbitrary searches and general warrants is centuries old, pre-dating even the Constitution. and is wisely re-stated in express terms in the Bill of Rights.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 22, 2012 10:27 a.m.

    Mike Richards | 8:40 a.m. Feb. 22, 2012

    So I'm curious,
    Who did you allow them to do it?

    Why didn't you stop them, since it is your Constitutional right?

    You seem to be all talk, with not walk.
    But some action behind those words.

    Show me, Don't tell me.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 22, 2012 10:38 a.m.

    LDS Liberal,

    What did YOU do when stopped? Before telling me what to do, tell what YOU DID.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 22, 2012 11:12 a.m.

    Mike Richards | 10:38 a.m. Feb. 22, 2012
    South Jordan, Utah
    LDS Liberal,

    What did YOU do when stopped? Before telling me what to do, tell what YOU DID.

    ===============

    I've never been stopped as a Civilian,
    but in the Military we got stopped DAILY.

    Now please, your turn, answer the question....

    Why didn't YOU Defend the Constitution?

    talk, talk, talk....

  • James B. Young SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 23, 2012 6:31 p.m.

    The constitutions are interpreted by the Supreme Courts of the various states and the national government. Those interps have the force of law. We can complain all we want, but we are merely complaining. That will change nothing.

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 5:57 a.m.

    It is my opinion that little by little our rights are being taken away under the guise of protecting us.

    Just think of how many rights we have lost under the war on terror. We no longer can have an expectation of privacy in our communications and our lives.

    Our own Senator Orrin Hatch was one of the principal authors of the "Patriot Act"

  • offramp SLC, UT
    Feb. 24, 2012 10:37 a.m.

    Butterfield is either ignorant or purposefully ignoring facts, truths and statisitics. NHTSA research has proven, without a shadow of a doubt, that DUI checkpoints are the most effective tool against drunk driving. When used often and effectively they can lower DUI deaths by up to 25 percent. Saturation patrols are great for arresting drunks. Checkpoints are great for saving lives. Which is Butterfield more interested in?