The Devil's in the Details
May 29, 2014
Have you ever walked into a room and forgot what it was you were going to do? Maybe your mom asked you to go to the store for some butter and you bring back a bag of chips and a six-pack. Maybe you wife "asks" you to fix the toilet and you wind up watching the final four. Hey - it's a brain fart; you forgot. It's an honest mistake. You didn't mean to forget - it just happened. No blood, no foul, right?
Well, sometimes not. See, back in 2011, a federal park ranger found driver Sean Harrington sitting in Yosemite National Park with his engine running. He was just sitting there. Oh, and, it seems, Mr. Harrington drunk out of his mind. Didn't know where he was but he was cognizant enough to fight with the park ranger and get arrested for a DUI. Back at the station, park ranger reads Mr. Harrington his rights (a whole paragraph worth) but, for some inexplicable reason, the ranger forgot to add the one little detail about that it was a crime if he refused to submit to a blood alcohol test. Imagine the gall of some people!
Forget that Mr. Harrington WAS drunk AND was driving in a national park. Forget that he was cooked to the gills and that anyone could smell his Jack Daniels breath three states away. Forget all that. The point was that he committed a crime and the court let's him off on a technicality. I'm not saying we should toss out the 4th Amendment but, really?! They had this driver dead to rights on a DUI and the court lets him go because they didn't say he would be prosecuted for failing to submit? Dang, but people get jail time for smoking a joint. People go to jail for jaywalking. People get arrested for using the bathroom of the opposite sex but this guy gets a pass on a technicality?!? Couldn't they have dropped the charge for failing to submit and still nail him for a DUI? Nope - drop the whole thing and let the guy walk. Yeah, uh...clearly, I'm missing something.
Bret is a Legal Research & Instructional Services Librarian at our Main Library.