“I Was There” left a comment to my post about involuntary catheterizations in DWI cases. The Attorney General’s Office for Washington State had settled a civil lawsuit – without an admission of wrongdoing – for, well, there’s no polite way to say it… shoving a tube down his penis and forcibly drawing urine from him.
That’s right. To prove a DUI/DWI case.
The anonymous commenter offers this for our consideration:
The article covers little of the story.
Arthur was on the WA equivalent of felony parole. He committed several crimes that night (hit and run, 2 counts of felony malicious mischief, and was tried and acquitted of felony harassment) in addition to DUI and was believed to have left the home of his domestic violence victim (for whom there was a no contact condition) immediately before his crime spree.
His bizarre and violent behavior (and prior drug use) led his parole officer and hospital staff to believe Arthur was intoxicated on something other than alcohol. Hospital staff needed to know to clear him before he could be booked into the jail.
The parole officer needed to establish whether Arthur posed an increased threat to his DV victim or society. (In WA, the parole officers have broad responsibilities levied by a state Supreme Court ruling to assess risks and warn and protect "reasonably foreseeable" victims.)
As such, the blood and urine draw were sought, despite Arthur’s initial refusal. Despite his claims, neither was taken by force. In fact, he was cooperative with the blood draw and does not even remember it!
The blood and alcohol tests were not intended for, nor used in, his criminal trial.
OK. Arthur was a bad guy. Bad bad. BAD.
But don’t kid yourself. Once the law allows the police to do this to Arthur, they can (and will) do it to you next. That’s how the law works.
It’s axiomatic that bad cases make bad law. Here’s how that works.
An appellate court decides to rule in the State’s favor in this oh-so-special-“He’s a bad guy”-case. And then precedent takes over. Now it’s A-OK approved procedure for everyone.
As long as you’re OK with that…