This summer the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that public defenders may refuse new cases if they cannot handle the ones they have. At first, it sounds like a disaster for people who are accused of crimes and cannot afford a defense attorney. But it could pave the way for longer-term solutions for the state's overloaded criminal justice system.
A Missouri DWI case is making national headlines this month after the Supreme Court agreed to hear a dispute over forced blood draws for drunk driving suspects. The decision of the nation's highest court could affect drivers' privacy rights across the country.
In 1990, the Supreme Court ruled that before conducting a sobriety checkpoint, officials must file a plan that describes how the random vehicles will be chosen. Drivers cannot be stopped because of race or other protected factors. The officials are also generally required to choose every third or fourth vehicle. If that standard isn't adhered to, a sobriety checkpoint is considered illegal.
Recently, a chemist in Massachusetts allegedly tampered with criminal evidence in the state's drug laboratory. Allegedly, the chemist contaminated samples, mixed different samples and manipulated the weight of drugs. The chemist worked for nine years in the laboratory and handled approximately 60,000 drug samples over that time period.
The commonsense phrase "don't drink and drive" is seemingly straightforward. Yet, you can drink and drive. You just have to consume an amount of alcohol under the legal limit, and an amount which does not leave you in any way impaired. Sometimes, ensuring that you don't cross the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) line is more difficult than you might think. Can you have those two glasses of wine while out with friends and remain sober? Those few beers over the course of several hours with your buddies?