By Tom Rhodes, 4/25/2013
Last week the Supreme Court made a ruling every bit as important as Miranda; Missouri v. McNeely. It's a fundamental ruling that the government, it's supporting press, and many law enforcement agencies would rather you didn't know about. That's why it wasn't covered. The synopsis of the ruling is that law enforcement must get a warrant before taking your blood.
What happened is that while driving erratically in October 2010, Tyler McNeely was pulled over by a Missouri state highway patrolman and arrested him on suspicion of drunk driving. McNeely was taken to a hospital to undergo a blood test for alcohol content. McNeely refused to consent to a blood test, but the officer ignored him and had his blood taken forcibly. Based on the results of the blood test, McNeely was then charged with DUI.
D you see anything about this case in the media? The government wanted to ignore requirements for a warrant by claiming there are exigent circumstances in all DUI cases that allow law enforcement and prosecutors to ignore the Bill of Rights. The SCOTUS rightly rejected the arguments by state officials to establish a per se rule that all cases of drunk driving present 'exigent circumstances' allowing police to extract blood from a suspect without a warrant."
The media has been and still ignores the issue. It is sick state of affairs that that without judicial review (a warrant) the removal of blood from within the body of the accused by means of force in routine drunk-driving cases is common place.
Lucky for us the Supreme Court has upheld the Fourth Amendment protection of our privacy. On April 17, 2013, a majority of the Supreme Court of the United States ruling in Missouri v. McNeely, remembered a fundamental liberty we lost during the British occupation that helped ignite the American Revolution.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, wrote for the majority of the SCOTUS in upholding McNeely's refusal to consent. She described the forced extraction of a person's blood as "an invasion of bodily integrity that implicates an individual's most personal and deep-rooted expectations of privacy."
One of the most crucial points was the clear uncontested evidence that at no point did the arresting officer attempt to obtain a warrant authorizing the extraction of McNeely's blood. Sotomayor pointed out that there is "expeditious processing of warrant applications, particularly in contexts like drunk-driving investigations (to quickly get a warrant) where the evidence supporting probable cause is simple." Further noting that, "The law now allows a federal magistrate judge to consider 'information communicated by telephone or other reliable electronic means.'"
So by SCOTUS ruling it is now the law of the land that there must be that judge-issued warrant to the probable cause of the search before the extraction of blood - not just the police officer's suspicions. Americans' constitutional rights cannot be wholly discounted and conveniently discarded on the mere say so of a Law Enforcement Officer. The SCOTUS should be commended for recognizing that the bodily integrity of all persons in the United States will be in serious jeopardy if we allow the government agents broad powers to invade our bodies without consent or court order. This is a victory for the Fourth Amendment, which under Bush and Obama has taken a beating but is not yet dead.