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On the Constitutionality of Assumed Guilt (Thursday, October 27, 2005)

Well, at least there is someone making the news for supporting the Constitution, rather than trouncing all over it. Judge O'Flaherty of Fairfax County General District Court (which happens to be the district where I reside), has begun to rule that the laws stating a particular blood alcohol content implies being legally intoxicated are unconstitutional because they require a presumption of guilt — in opposition to the 5th Amendment. While the Washington Post puts an ugly spin on it with the headline Maverick N.Va. Judge Tosses Out DWI Cases That Presume Guilt, the reality is that this is good for Fairfax County, and with any luck will prompt the Virginia legislature to re-think the wording of their drunk driving laws. Judge O'Flaherty doesn't want to keep drunk drivers on the road, and neither do I. But as the judge pointed out, "Criminal law shouldn't be built around saving a buck... We shouldn't convict people because it's cheaper and easier."

—Brian (10/27/2005 3:57 PM)
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