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State vs. Machuca Decision

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On February 11, 2010 Oregon Supreme Court issued its decision in the case of State vs. Machuca.

A widely awaited opinion on the subject of police powers vs individual rights in the area of DUII enforcement. You can view the decision.

I find the Court’s dismissal of the individual rights claim in Machuca very shocking. Although the result was not unanticipated, in its decision the Court uses callous and chilling language that would have appalled the Founders. The Court’s treatment of the very important issues at stake does not bode well for individual rights in our State.

To me, the most disturbing element of the opinion, to me, is where the Court describes the criminal suspect to “a vessel containing evidence of a crime he had committed.” Wow. The brutality and callousness of our Supreme Court is truly breathtaking. We are not human beings, endowed by our creator with inalienable rights. We are vessels containing evidence of crime. Astonishing.

We who practice in the criminal defense arena fight for individual freedom and human rights against the power of the State. Yesterday’s decision in Machuca is an enormous setback to that struggle.

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