The Use Of Police Quotas Gets DWI Case Thrown Out
A county judge recently threw out a defendant's DWI charge after he was stopped. The judge's ruling is due to an illegal quota that required officers to issue two or three citations for every hour on duty.
The initiative that encouraged the quotas is being funded by the federal government. The federal initiative targets drunk driving from January to April of 2011. It's unknown how many cases may be affected by this ruling and whether other courts will be hearing similar cases. There are at least two other similar cases scheduled to be heard by the same judge in county court.
Residents are infuriated about police officer arrest quotas that are just recently coming to the surface. It's been a long-held belief among the public that police department brass may issue quotas for their highway patrol and other police officers who work the beat - but now it seems we have more concrete evidence.
The idea that police officers have a certain number of arrests that they are expected to book within any given period contradicts the liberty and freedoms that make our country great. The foundation of a state's criminal justice system centers on the bedrock principal that all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in the eyes of the law.
The principal of presumed innocence is important when it comes to drivers on the highway. Police must have reasonable suspicion to pull someone over, not pull someone over because the officer has to hit his or her quota. The idea that officers are pressured to have a certain number of citations is a conflict of interest and violates the basic principles under which our criminal justice system is built.
Advocates may point to the need for local government at the state and county level to increase revenue by seeking more citations and fines. But motorists are sure to feel that the same economic struggles are making it especially difficult for them to pay those fines, court costs and attorney fees that are expected when an officer issues a serious traffic citation because of a quota rather than reasonable suspicion or probable cause.