The 4th of July to A DUI Lawyer: What would the Founding Fathers think?

Happy 4th of July!

A report card from our Founding Fathers
A report card from our Founding Fathers

I had a thought last night and I gather a lot of my DUI defense lawyer brethren and sistren might think the same.

What would the Founding Fathers think of us now?

If they could see us and look at our judicial institutions and politicians and our overall government, what sort of report card would they give us?

Have you ever read the preamble to the Bill of Rights?

The First 10 Amendments to the
Constitution as Ratified by the States

December 15, 1791


Congress OF THE United States
begun and held at the City of New York, on Wednesday
the Fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution.

The Founding Fathers would give us all an F

We live in a time where:

  • Judges in some states are elected and some cow-tow to heavily to special interests like MADD regardless of the law.
  • Politicians take the easy road out and increasingly ratchet up penalties against those accused of DUI while at the same time de-funding social services that are designed to treat the underlying problem of alcoholism and drug addiction.
  • License suspension hearings, in some states, are totally devoid of any sort of meaningful Due Process.
  • In some states, license suspension hearings are conducted by those who are employed by the Department of Motor Vehicles with memos that go around that set the goal of the office to uphold as many suspensions as possible regardless of the facts and the law.
  • Crime labs that often provide the most damning evidence against the accused motorist are unregulated and are error prone with a new scandal every week.
  • Roadblocks are allowed in some states.
  • IN some states, police officers with judicially sanctioned warrants can literally strap down motorists against their will and take their blood for subsequent chemical analysis.
  • The Supreme Court of the Untied States is slowly but surely making the 4th Amendment powerful and necessary prophylactic rule as established by Mapp v. Ohio (50 years ago) a historical footnote, and
  • The doctrine of qualified immunity is increasing expanded and called upon to insulate the government’s wrong doings upon its populace.

It is a sad commentary that today is the 4th of July and our own Founding Fathers would likely turn their back on us now and tell us not to celebrate their day. You see, they had the courage and the guts to stand up and say no against the tyrant who invaded every aspect of their life.

It reminds me of the words of William Kunstler who said:

And that’s the terrible myth of organized society, that everything that’s done through the established system is legal and that word has a powerful psychological impact. It makes people believe that there is an order to life, and an order to a system, and that a person that goes through this order and is convicted, has gotten all that is due him. And therefore society can turn its conscience off, and look to other things and other times. And that’s the terrible thing about these past trials, is that they have this aura of legitimacy, this aura of legality. I suspect that better men than the world has known and more of them, have gone to their deaths through a legal system than through all the illegalities in the history of man. Six million people in Europe during the Third Reich? Legal. Sacco Vanzetti? Quite legal. The Haymarket defendants? Legal. The hundreds of rape trials throughout the South where black men were condemned to death? All legal. Jesus? Legal. Socrates? Legal. And that is the kaleidoscopic nature of what we live through here and in other places. Because all tyrants learn that it is far better to do this thing through some semblance of legality than to do it without that pretense.

— William Kunstler (1995)

Justin McShane

PA DUI attorney Justin J. McShane is the President/CEO of The McShane Firm, LLC - Pennsylvania's top criminal law and DUI law firm. He is the highest rated DUI attorney in PA as rated by Justin McShane is a double Board certified attorney. He is the first and so far the only Pennsylvania attorney to achieve American Bar Association recognized board certification in DUI defense from the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. He is also a Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approved Agency.

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