Monday, January 22, 2007

Its way worse when the "good guys" subvert due process.

Perhaps I'm not fully informed when it comes to the job of Oregon Attorney General. Clearly its terribly naive of me to believe that the top legal job in Oregon would work to ensure due process rather than dump all over it:

Teenagers who purchase or possess alcohol would face almost-immediate suspension of their driver licenses, even without a court conviction, under a bill that awaits its first hearing.

The bill is one of nine proposed by a state task force and considered by the House Judiciary Committee to further tighten laws against underage drinking.

"Swift and sure consequences are the best way to get a youth's attention," said Philip Schradle, special counsel to Attorney General Hardy Myers, who led the 37-member task force.

House Bill 2152 would be a significant new restriction in Oregon law, which already requires suspension of driver licenses if the 15-20-year-olds are convicted in court of possessing, delivering or making illegal drugs or possessing, using or abusing alcohol -- even if the offense is not connected with driving. The Legislature added the nondriving restriction in 1991.

The bill would allow the state Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division to suspend the license of an offending teenager once police issued a ticket for a minor in possession of alcohol, rather than await a conviction in court. The bill would allow for appeals and hardship permits for work or treatment.

Are we really considering giving the DMV the ability to suspend someone's driver's license? No court hearing? No testimony?

This is the kind of crap I'd expect from Republicans. The GOP in general seems to have a unique disdain for Constitutional protections afforded to the citizenry under the Bill of Rights. I find myself unfortunately surprised that our Democratic Attorney General would trot out his spokesperson to tell us that we need to subvert due process in order to "get a youth's attention".

The problem is underaged drinking. The idea here is to SOLVE the problem.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are a series of steps that communities can take in order to curb underaged drinking.

None of them include suspending a person's drivers license without the benefit of going to court.