6 Person Juries for DUI in Alabama?

The 12 person jury system has been a longstanding right since the beginning of the Alabama criminal justice system.  Well, that may soon be changing.  State Senator Orr sponsored SB 112 (click here to read the bill) which would only allow for 6 persons to serve on a jury for misdemeanor cases.  This would include most DUI cases.

What does this mean in the real world? One view is it makes it easier for the government to obtain a conviction.  It only takes one dissenting juror to cause a hung jury.  So if the government has to only convince six people as opposed to twelve then that may be easier.

The second reason offered reason is the savings of money.  In the Fiscal Report associated with the bill, it’s claimed that 40% of the cases tried to a jury would be to 6 jurors under this bill.  $375,000 would be saved in administrative costs having a 6 person jury as opposed to 12 persons.

So to sum it up, Alabama legislature thinks this bill will 1) make it easier to obtain a DUI conviction 2) save the State of Alabama a bunch of money.

MONEY

MONEY

Lock Them UP

Lock Them UP

Two thoughts I have: 1) Do we erode away the rights of a Defendant charged with a DUI to tilt the playing field even greater to the government 2) We all know the State of Alabama has such a long track record of spending money wisely???

Expungement Bill Passes Alabama Senate

In Alabama, there is no legal way to expunge a person’s record.  The inherent unfairness appears in this example: a citizen gets charged with DUI.  He tries to his case and is found not guilty.  Or suppose the Judge finds there is no probable cause.  The arrest appears on that citizen’s record forever.
Senator Roger Bedford [...]

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Interlock Device Updated

In 2011, Alabama implemented the interlock device (Act 2011-613) even on a first conviction if there was 1) a refusal of the breath test OR 2) motorist blew .15 or higher.  However, in 2012 Act 2012-363, rescinded this.  No matter how high a person’s breath test is, the interlock device would not be required upon [...]

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Proposed Legislation to Publish DUI Conviction in Newspaper

On January 14, 2014, Alabama State Senator Taylor presented a bill (SB141 click for text) that would require the publication of a conviction AND a picture of the defendant if convicted of DUI twice (or more) within a 5 year period.  The defendant would be responsible for paying for the cost and provide immunity for the [...]

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Interlock Device- Real World Example

On the previous post I wrote about the basics of the new Alabama interlock device. Below is a real world example.
So envision this scenario: a traveling sales rep has an after work meeting with clients. He/she consumes a couple of drinks and gets pulled over on the way home. The police officer administers [...]

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Alabama new Interlock Device law- overview

The interlock law presents a whole new set of issues in DUI law in Alabama. It will take several posts to cover the issues. But here are the nuts and bolts:
1) If a person is convicted of a first time DUI and
a) has a BAC of .15 or more OR
b) refuses to provide BAC [...]

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New DUI laws in Alabama that will severely stiffen DUI penalties

On June 9, 2011 Alabama Governor Bentley signed a bill that will “toughen” DUI penalties in Alabama. One is the “double minimum punishment” and the other is “interlock ignition”. The effective date will be September 1, 2011. However, the interlock won’t be implemented until September 1, 2012. These two laws will greatly impact DUI [...]

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DC Chief Toxicologist -Urine samples not reliable measure of BAC

That’s right- an employee of the government, and the Chief Toxicologist at that, testified that urine samples are not a reliable measure of blood alcohol content. Moreover, the error can be up to 40%.Also, remember that DC abandoned the use of breathalyzer machines last February because they were unreliable.  As MyFoxDC reports, police officers were [...]

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Another example of how breathalyzers may be faulty- Ohio

The common perception is when a person “blows over the limit” he/she must be drunk. However, more and more states are having the use of the breathalyzer challenged. These machines made by private manufacturers are being exposed as often producing faulty results that are convicting innocent people.
As the Columbus Dispatch reports, the Intoxilyzer 8000, a [...]

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Officer found in contempt for lying about evidence in DUI prosecution

Charlotte area Officer Barry Grimes was held in contempt by a judge after he lied during his testimony regarding a DUI arrest. Grimes testified the defendant “hopped around one one foot” during the one leg stand test and that the defendant failed the “walk and turn test.”  The in car dash camera showed Grimes didn’t [...]

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