Friday, October 28, 2011

People v. Thomas (Cal. Ct. App. - Oct. 28, 2011)

This makes me really inclined to voluntarily submit to an alcohol screening.  Which the police used here as a pretext to obtain the defendant's DNA.

I'm sure, by the way, this was all coincidence.  The police receive an anonymous tip about defendant.  They follow him, and promptly stop him for alleged traffic offenses.  They say he's got bloodshot and watery eyes, so ask him to take a PAS test, which he blows into -- at which point they now have his saliva and thus DNA, which they then analyze to tie him to a series of crimes.  Of course, they don't charge him with DUI or even a traffic offense, since they got what they wanted.  Plus he passed all the tests.

On the one hand, that's darn good police work.  As well as permitted by contemporary jurisprudence.  On the other hand, a cynic might note that the "anonymous" tip, the alleged "traffic" offense that they saw, and the officer's un-disprovable claim s/he saw signs of intoxication are all easily manufactured, thereby permitting the exercise of a great deal of unchecked executive power.

Two sides of the same coin.  Depends on which you value more.