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State Supreme Court finds Random Urinalysis for 1st-Time DUI Defendants on PR violates State Constitution

Thursday, October 05, 2017 8:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

In Blomstrom v. Tripp several DUI defendants challenged the trial court's authority to order random Urinalysis while released on bail pending resolution of the DUI charges.  The defendants objected to the pre-trial testing and sought a Writ of Review in Spokane Superior Court.   The Superior Court denied review by writ--forcing them to wait until convicted and proceed by appeal.  The defense appealed the denial of the writ ruling to the State Supreme Court and that court reversed with a 5-4 split. 

While the State Supreme Court ruling is actually a procedural decision:  "Should the Superior Court have issued a writ and considered the issue?"  it is much more influential because the decision as to whether or not to grant a writ involves deciding whether or not the trial court plainly erred.   The State Supreme Court decided the trial court had plainly erred--and the Superior Court should have issued a writ to correct that error.  The State Supreme court reasoned that Washington's State Constitutional right to privacy was violated by the testing, there is no exception to allow it, and they refused (again) to adopt the Federal "Special Needs" exception. 

That means that even though the matter will be remanded, the Superior Court must follow the analysis provided here--leaving little mystery as to the outcome. 

The full case is here:  Bloomstrom v Tripp Urinalysis Pre Trial 2017.pdf

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