“In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.” -Napoleon Bonaparte
Studying history helps to understand how governments use federal agencies, police departments, and courts to perpetuate illegal witch hunts for political causes. Let’s look at the 6 million Jews that the German government killed in Europe. People forget that it was not renegades who caused the Holocaust. Instead, it was the politicians and the courts. The parallels between the successful government campaigns of the Nazis in World War II and today’s DWI enforcement are similar.
The first step is to “dumb down” the population. On May 10, 1933 the government mandated the burning of books throughout Germany. On the DWI front, it is not the burning of books. Rather, it is the avoidance of the scientific peer review community’s approval of the government’s Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). These measures are still used to arrest and convict many people of DWI.
Going back to their 1977 development by Dr. Marcelline Burns of the Southern California Research Institute (not associated with university academia) none of the SFSTs have been able to pass basic scientific muster for their use as intoxication tools. The data released in connection with the 1977 and 1981 studies showed “face validity” and “subjective evaluation” which does not add up to accuracy, reliability, or validity. After receiving much criticism due to the lack of scientific merit of the tests, Dr. Burns refused to release the underlying data of the latest studies to attempt to confirm the SFSTs at .08 from .10. Yet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been unrelenting in its support and use of these tests.
The Nazis in World War II created the federal Department of Hygiene to enforce their policies of ethnic cleansing. In DWI enforcement, that arm of the government is the NHTSA. Rather than consult and work within scientifically established guidelines, they continue to perpetuate substandard work not subjected to scientific peer review to issue DWI mandates (what constitutes failures on tests, etc.). Their most recent Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN, otherwise known as the “eye” test) publication, The Robustness of the HGN, had data so deficient and untenable that they sat on the research for five years but decided to publish it anyway despite their own charts contradicting the merits of their claims. For example, some tables show 67+ % false positives!
In January of 1937, Jews were legally banned from professional occupations including teachers, accountants and dentists. Today, citizens convicted of DWI in their personal vehicle in many states are banned from their commercial occupations. The court’s use of an ignition interlock as a condition of bond is also costing citizens their jobs and livelihoods.
In February 1939, the Nazis mandated that Jews give up to the government all their gold and silver items. The new trend of states is to pass laws that assess exorbitant surcharges on top of fines, court costs and probation fees assessed by the criminal court despite the double jeopardy provision of the United States Constitution. In Texas, it is a $3000-6000 extra penalty for a first DWI conviction depending on the alcohol level. In November of 1939, the German government mandated that people of Jewish descent wear a gold star. Another trend in state legislatures today is to mandate that citizens with a DWI conviction have license plates showing the conviction.
We look back at World War II and shudder at how the courts played an instrumental role in such injustices. Yet, we fail to see history repeating itself. Americans perpetrated the same injustices on Japanese-Americans in World War II for no other reason than lineage. Some may argue that DWI is different because it involves a crime. It is NOT different. Our Constitution sets out rights, protections and limits to all citizens when faced with crimes, irrespective of the type. To ignore the Constitution under any circumstance is an atrocity. The examples of this when it comes to DWI are many. For example, our Constitution protects us from unreasonable search and seizure. Yet, in the DWI context, we see courts across America failing to throw out “pretext” stops because the cop was later able to make a DWI arrest. The Supreme Court had to speak last April in Missouri v. McNeely, warning states to stop obtaining blood from unconsenting DWI suspects without a warrant. Many courts (including Texas) are still attempting to ignore this ruling, citing an “implied consent” exception. Such an exception does not exist. It is a civil law fiction in criminal courts that the Supreme Court addressed.
The fact remains that billboards that state, “Drink. Drive. Go to Jail.” plague our highways. Prosecutors across the country attempt to argue any deviation from “normal” is illegal. This is despite laws to the contrary on what defines “intoxication.” At approximately 1.4 million DWI arrests in the country a year compared to approximately 10,000 alcohol related deaths, it is a fact that our government has turned DWIs into a nationwide witch hunt. Pedestrian related incidents injure four times as many Americans. Yet, there is no national push or campaign to make our roads safer for pedestrians. The sad rationale comes down to the fact that DWIs fill the government coffers. Warning people about pedestrian safety does not.
Our country grants equal protection to all, no matter what race, gender, religious and or political affiliation. We must recognize that DWIs have become a “politicized crime.” We must as citizens demand that we afford every citizen accused of DWIs all their rights as American citizens under law. It is time to stop allowing exceptions to the Constitution in the name of expedient politics. This should be true whether it is in the DWI context of a moral crusade against social drinkers, or a revenge campaign against the irresponsible few who have killed and maimed victims as a result of DWI.
Fairness and justice are the founding principles of this country. It’s time to strip back the Nazi-like statutes and enforcement of politicized DWIs. It violates our laws and good science. It is time to get back to honest law enforcement and true accountability. The witch hunt must stop.
Mimi Coffey – DWI Defense Lawyer in Dallas County, DWI Lawyer in Tarrant County, DWI Lawyer in Wise County, DWI Lawyer in Johnson County, DWI Lawyer in Parker County, DWI Lawyer in Collin County, DWI Lawyer in Denton County