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WHEN JUSTICE FAILS, WE ALL LOSE

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Connie Harton asked one of the vitally important questions of our time: Why suppress alcohol evidence?

It doesn't help for us to pass good laws intended to discourage alcohol abuse. When we have bleeding-heart judges who bend over backward to prevent evidence of drunkenness to become evidence in a trial, the benefits from all of these well-drawn laws are lost to us. That certainly frustrates justice for those injured by the drunken driver. When deaths occur and such decisions are made by a judge, it is not only the dead and injured who suffer the affront from inappropriate justice. Every one of us comes a little closer to losing our rightful protection under the law.The public interest should hold equal weight with the contending parties. That which the rest of us call "justice" must take precedence over narrow and arbitrary findings.

Whose rights are really violated when a young man is found by an officer to have alcohol on his breath? The man freely admits that he had been drinking. The officer has a blood sample drawn which, when tested, shows the man to be above the alcohol blood level, which indicates drunkenness. Our present law allows such a presumptive test to be made.

The judge however "finds" that the officer "didn't know" the man had run a stop sign, broadsided a van, killed one person and injured 12 others. The judge reasoned that (in spite of a law which allows the officer to test the blood) the officer "lacked probable cause" to draw and test the blood. The man's attorney had filed, asking that the alcohol test findings not be allowed. As a result, the drunkenness of the driver was not allowed to be heard in the proceedings.

When appropriate justice fails, we all lose.

Kyle B. Sorensen

Salt Lake City