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California’s Unconstitutional Checkpoints Roll On Unchecked September 21, 2010

Posted by scmla in Original Article.

California’s Unconstitutional Checkpoints Roll On Unchecked
SoCal Martial Law Alerts
September 10, 2010

SANTA MARIA, California — Santa Maria Police Department conducted yet another unconstitutional and illegal DUI / Driver’s license checkpoint as part of California Office of Traffic Safety’s (OTS) “Year of the Checkpoint” campaign for 2010.

The Santa Maria checkpoint was only one of more than 2500 (ostensibly) OTS-funded checkpoints which are due to be carried out within the state of California during 2010.

(Following the money trail, the funding actually traces back to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is an agency under the federal Department of Transportation (DOT), which is a cabinet position under the President of the United States.)

If OTS’s “Year of the Checkpoint” campaign is successfully carried out, then California drivers will endure more than 208 of these unconstitutional / illegal checkpoints per month.

“To my knowledge, California conducts more checkpoints than any other state,” said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy.

While DUI checkpoints were officially (if unconstitutionally) sanctioned by the Supreme Court’s Michigan vs. Sitz case, driver’s license checkpoints were not.

A quick survey of police department websites also reveals that most DUI / sobriety checkpoints are dual purpose; that is, police officers regularly check for driver’s licenses in addition to checking for driver impairment.

Also problematic is the fact that, although DUI / sobriety checkpoints are routinely trumpeted in the press as an effective means of reducing traffic deaths, the unvarnished truth is that driver’s license checkpoints are far more lucrative for cash-strapped law enforcement agencies than checking for drunks.

According to Ryan Gabrielson, a public safety reporter for CaliforniaWatch.org, “Sobriety checkpoints in California are increasingly turning into profitable operations for local police departments that are far more likely to seize cars from unlicensed motorists than catch drunken drivers.”

In addition, this most recent Santa Maria checkpoint violated California’s Ingersoll guidelines for DUI / sobriety checkpoints in that drivers were not allowed an opportunity to avoid the checkpoint completely, as the video shows.

Unfortunately, although driver’s license checkpoints are not legal according to case law (and many checkpoints tend to violate the guidelines set up for them), most drivers are unaware of these facts and so the practice continues unabated and unchallenged by the court system.







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