Tag Archives: Drunk Driving

Average JOE SCOTUS: United States v. Palomar-Santiago

This is a pretty straight forward case about Mexican Refugio Palomar-Santiago, who legally came to the US and was granted permanent residence in 1990. A year later, he was apparently so excited to be an American, he got drunk as a skunk, and jumped behind the wheel of a car, drove like shit, and got popped for DUI.

In California at the time, a DUI was considered a violent crime, and as such, was a deportable offense. So the US told Refugio he could fuck right off back to Mexico.

Since then, three years later, the Ninth Circuit decided in a separate case, that calling a DUI a crime of violence is fucking stupid. So they quashed that law, and made it retroactive so that anyone prosecuted under that law, would no longer be deemed a violent criminal. In 2004, SCOTUS also came to the decision in Leocal v. Ashcroft, that this was bullshit.

Refugio was like, “Sweet” and made his drunk ass back to the US, but this time he came in illegally. He was eventually busted, so he was like, “Hey assholes, you decided the reason you kicked me out the first time was bullshit, so I have a right to be here. I should’ve never been kicked out the first fucking time. You’re just lucky I’m not asking you to cover my travel expenses.”

But the government was like, “Listen fuckhead. There are rules in coming back into the US. You don’t just get to violate them because the reason we kicked you out has been rendered invalid. You still gotta go through the proper channels, or you’re here illegally.”

Their opening argument points out that Refugio had options available to him for judicial review and shit, but he didn’t pass go, he just collected $200.

In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS sided with the US, and told Palomar-Santiago to haul his ass back to Mexico. Had he went through the proper channels to get his removal order invalidated, he’d be fine. But he broke the rules coming back, and that shit ain’t allowed.

Hear audio from the case, or read about it here.


Average Joe SCOTUS: Mitchell v. Wisconsin

Fourth 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.

Facts of the case

So this drunkard Mitchell was being a total piece of shit, driving under the influence. In Wisconsin, the legal limit is 0.08% blood alcohol level. This motherfucker was 0.222, nearly four times above the legal limit.

This motherfucker was so drunk in fact, he passed out in the squad car, so the cops had to take his dumb ass to the hospital instead of jail.

At the hospital, he passed out again, so the cops had the hospital take a blood test to determine how drunk this motherfucker was. The astute of you will say, “Hey, that’s a non-consensual search without a warrant.” You’d be right. But Wisconsin has a law that says if you obtain a driver’s license, you automatically agree to such a search.

Anyway, Mitchell thinks this is some bullshit end-run around the 4th amendment. So after trying his level best in Wisconsin court to get them to drop the results of this search, they were like “fuck you, you drunk motherfucker. We need to get your drunk ass off the streets.”

While SCOTUS acknowledges the exigent-circumstances rule allows for a blood test when someone is unconscious, it would have to be a situation where they needed to do so to prevent destruction of evidence, or to save a life. But in this case, the police did have time to get a warrant. So 5:4 decision for Mitchell.

While Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor dissented, they argued that the exigent circumstances rule shouldn’t apply to this bullshit rule in Wisconsin. That the state can’t create a law that basically exempts them from the limits in the Constitution. So they seemed to weirdly side with Mitchell, while still dissenting from the majority opinion which allows the rule, but requires a warrant be obtained in this case, since they had time to do so.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.