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2005 News Releases

ACLU Urges Governor Not to Revisit Unconstitutional Roadblocks

Posted: January 05, 2005|Category: Privacy

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The ACLU has called on Governor Carcieri to reject a proposal that he ask the R.I. Supreme Court to revisit the question of drunk driving roadblocks, which in 1989 the court found to be a violation of the state constitution’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. In a recent letter, Attorney General Patrick Lynch asked the Governor to seek a Supreme Court advisory opinion revisiting the issue.

The ACLU has long opposed the roadblock practice, which allows law enforcement officers to randomly stop cars and perform driver sobriety checks without any suspicion that the driver is intoxicated.  In response to the Attorney General’s request, the ACLU sent its own letter to the Governor, questioning his legal authority to request an advisory opinion in this circumstance and urging him instead to focus on strategies that do not infringe on privacy rights, such as the expanded use of roving patrols on the highways that would target erratic driving and other behavior that might indicate an intoxicated driver. 

The Governor has not indicated whether he will take any action on the Attorney General’s request.

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