NJ Supreme Court Says McNeely Applies to Some Past Cases

The defendant, Timothy Adkins, successfully filed a pre-trial motion to suppress the BAC results in wake of the McNeely ruling, a move which drew appeal from the state and eventually landed the matter in New Jersey Supreme Court. The State of New Jersey v. Timothy Adkins has also been remanded back to trial court "for further proceedings consistent with this opinion," wrote Justice Jaynee LaVecchia in the ruling of the court. N.J.'s top court cited the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Missouri v. McNeely in April 2013 in its ruling, chiefly that "in drunk-driving investigations, the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not constitute an exigency in every case sufficient to justify conducting a blood test without a warrant."

Denver Sobriety Court 4 Years and Counting

Judge Brian Campbell reflects on the evolution of the Denver Sobriety Court, now in its fourth year of operation. He details some of his experiences and comments on the court's unique ability to combine rehabilitative actions and positive reinforcement which, he says, proves to be more effective, especially when coupled with negative reinforcement.

Using Inhalents Can Lead to DUI

On June 9, 2015 the Montana Supreme Court held that a motorist can be charged and convicted of driving under the influence for being in control of a vehicle after inhaling aerosol propellants. The defendant moved to have the DUI charge dismissed, arguing state law prohibits being in control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two. He argued the laws only define the word "drug" in the context of pharmacy regulation and since difluoroethane is not intended for medical use, it does not qualify as a drug. The state Supreme Court agreed with the judge who found the plain meaning of the word drug — a substance that alters one's perception or consciousness — applies to DUI laws. "The context of the locations of the two uses of the term 'drug' in Montana law makes it clear the Legislature did not intend to apply the pharmacy definition of drug to the DUI statute," Justice Michael Wheat wrote.

DUI Offenders Get Tough Talk From Victims and Survivors

Following a DUI conviction, each offender is court-ordered to attend a victim impact panel sponsored by the Sumner County Anti-Drug Coalition. The panels are held every other month in a courtroom beside the Sumner County Jail, and those who attend receive credit toward their probation sentence. The victim impact panel is one of several programs of the Sumner County Anti-Drug Coalition, according to Executive Director Justin Sweatman-Weaver. Funded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the coalition’s goal is to reduce the consequences of binge drinking, tobacco use and prescription drug misuse. “By hearing some of these personal stories, they learn that (their actions) actually can change and take lives,” he said.

Upcoming Courses at the National Judicial College

The following courses are offered by the NJC in Reno, Nevada in the coming months. A limited number of scholarships are available through generous funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Please contact Rebecca Bluemer at Bluemer@judges.org for more information.

Drugs in America. August 25-27, 2015. Reno, NV: This course will provide an in-depth analysis on the science behind drug addiction, and will offer practical solutions for the judge to manage these types of cases. The course will start with an introductory session on basic brain chemistry, and then will move to a thorough analysis of the physiological and psychological effects of specific categories of drugs. In addition, the course will provide practical skills in order to determine which type of drug(s), if any, a user might be under the influence of, and will offer different types of treatment options. The course will address several special populations, such as juveniles, those with co-occurring disorders, and veterans, and will provide examples of effective management and sentencing strategies for each group. Read more.

Impaired Drivings Case Essentials. October 26-29, 2015. Reno, NV: This course is designed to provide judges with an overview of the impaired driving issue, and will provide insight into several pertinent areas, such as impairment detection methods, the pharmacological effects of drugs and alcohol on the human body, and effective sentencing methods. After completing this course, you will be able to analyze circumstances providing legal bases for stops, searches and seizures, and arrests; and will be able to analyze the admissibility of testimonial and physical evidence. In addition, you will be able to describe the principles of pharmacology in order to effectively evaluate expert testimony. The course will also include a trip to a local AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meeting, in order to familiarize the judge with the inner-workings of this often-ordered part of a sentence. Finally, the course will conclude with several discussions on evidence-based sentencing practices, and tips on how to most effectively manage impaired driving cases.

NCSC Traffic Resource Center

The Traffic Resource Center is a cooperative effort between the Department of Transportation and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to establish a resource for judges, court administrators, court clerks, and other court staff on issues related to traffic adjudication. It is an integrated clearinghouse of information as well as a training and technical assistance resource to improve court decision-making and processing of traffic cases involving impaired driving, drugged driving, distracted driving, and commercial driving. The purpose of the Traffic Resource Center website is to provide a useful, ready reference for judges new to the bench or recently assigned to traffic cases, who may need quick access to accurate and timely information until they can receive more formal, structured education.

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