DUI & DWIClients’ ChoiceAward 2012-2018

In Response to a Listener's Email: Defending Rights within the Bounds of the Law

In Response to a Listener's Email: Defending Rights within the Bounds of the Law

Many of us wonder why defense lawyers do what they do when we perceive their clients as having done something bad and therefore deserve the punishment. But as we've seen around the country recently, law enforcement is fallible, and there's usually more to the story, including preserving rights of citizens.


Episode Transcript

Dillon
Well, this is a special segment we like to call Ask Jonathan. Welcome to The Legal Docket, by the way. Jonathan Rands, local DUI attorney on the show. 

Jonathan
Good morning. Thank you.

Dillon
Kind of a mailbag thing that we've got going today.

Jonathan
An old one. An old style, or a new technological mailbag, an email bag.

Dillon
Same difference. Whether it came in an envelope or whether it was in your digital inbox, you had an interesting email as of late, and this was about a show that we did. You and I talked about ... Refresh my memory, what was the topic, the starting point for this whole thing?

Jonathan
We were talking about the division three of the appellate system in Washington, a case called SOSA. S-O-S-A. Where a person who is being searched by law enforcement by way of a blood draw, when authorized by a search warrant, that court said you are no longer entitled to the advisement to be aware that you have the right to an alternative test by a qualified person of your own choosing. We spend a considerable amount of time talking about that and I, at least now, know one person was out there listening to us.

Dillon
There's a lot more than that.

Jonathan
I suspect there was more, but I received an email from a listener who made some fairly good points, I think, but at the same time, when I read the email, it exposed to me what I would consider a little bit of a misunderstanding of what I do and why what I do, I consider important in the scheme of the structure and the rights and the constitution of this country we live in. 

Dillon
I saw the email, I don't have it in front of me right now, I know you have it there and you're going to share pieces of it, but the way I'd boil it down is it's this question that you and I have talked about. I've talked with other attorneys in this program. "Well, how can you defend bad guys?" Or, "How can you worry about the rights of somebody who has done something terrible?" Is, I think, the way people boil it down in their head and as we know, from talking about this so much on the show, there's so much more to it than just that. Isn't that where someone's headspace is? They think, "Wow, people are doing bad things, why are you worried about finding a loophole to make their life better?" Or something. "They did something bad, they should be punished for it." That's not what we're talking about when we're talking about a defense attorney.

Jonathan
I understand how the mindset is. If you don't do anything wrong, you don't have anything to hide, why wouldn't you, for the lack of a better word, volunteer for a search of your blood or things like that? "If you don't want to be susceptible to having rights taken away, well, don't break the law and put yourself in that situation." And you're right. It's a little more, actually a lot more, complicated than that. That's why I think that talking about the email that I received, and I'm not going to say who did it, it was a listener. It starts off with, she makes three points or three paragraphs. The first statement is, "Aren't the rights of the general public to navigate the streets in a responsible manner, trumping the rights of the person who chooses to think of his own gratification rather than the welfare of the community when he drinks and then gets behind the wheel of a car and commits an infraction, therefore being stopped by law enforcement." The sentiment of that is correct, in terms of, there is a rule. There's a rule of law and I'm using that phrase right now, particularly because in the next question this particular person actually writes about the rule of law. 

The rights are not trumping one right or another. There are rules and one of the biggest problems with DUI law is that it's legal to drink and drive. It's legal to drink and drive as long as you don't cross that line, or become affected by it, but you're legal to do something that affects your judgment, which allows you to then make a poor decision, if you will, and get behind the wheel and drive. Also, when we were talking about the SOSA case, we were talking about how being advised, or no longer being advised, and how that would play in with somebody who is under the legal limit and had their blood drawn and analyzed by a less than scientific responsible analysis and that was where my concern lied, in terms of, if you're going to convict somebody, you better do it with good quality evidence, because you are taking away rights. 

We live in a society where the government is present and it's an ebb and flow. Sometimes they're more present, sometimes they're ... We talk about that in terms of businesses and things, but I look at it in terms of law enforcement. We are allowed to drive down the road and be completely left alone and do what we will inside our automobiles as long as we don't break the law. When the law is broken, that is when the government agents — and police officers are government agents — that is when they have the authority and the right to trump your right to be left alone. If they think —

Dillon
Are you using that term trump, on purpose?

Jonathan
I wish I was, but I wasn't.

Dillon
I couldn't help myself. I'm sorry. Total side note here.

Jonathan
Everybody has the right to be let alone, so if somebody does something that draws attention to themselves, that ultimately is an infraction, which interestingly enough is a minor breaking of the law, but not a criminal law, then that draws the attention of law enforcement and law enforcement legally has the right to contact that person. Well, then things should go as they do. Think of it as the inside of your automobile is your house. The Washington State constitution gives you more protection than the United States Constitution, but when it comes to your house or it comes to an automobile, you have the absolute right to privacy. You can do whatever you choose, within that house, presumably, that's lawful. If there's a reason to suspect that what you're doing is unlawful, then the rights to be let alone, still have to be respected, the procedure still has to be followed and mostly that is what my complaint of the SOSA case was.

The next paragraph by the writer is, "Also, by defending the rights of a lawbreaker and questioning the rights of the police officer to do his job, don't we create a difficult to impossible work environment for keeping the peace?" My answer to that is no. My answer is, my job, and I think every citizen's job, is to keep police officers, law enforcement officers, any government agent, honest in the respecting of the rights. They have a job to do, yes. They have an extremely difficult job.

Dillon
It's a two-way street because they're job is to keep us honest on whether it's going the speed limit, or not committing crimes, or whatever it might be. Why can't that be a two-way street?

Jonathan
Excuse the pun as far as DUI goes, but it's a two-way street. Their presence is a reminder that there are people out there to police us, using the term properly. Their job is not to fair it out or to infringe upon everybody's rights in order to do their job. If we start looking at it that way, or if we start looking at police officers, in that they have a tremendous amount of power and it's on a case by case basis, subject to, I think, tremendous abuse of powers because we're humans. To have a mindset where we just turn everything over to, "Let's just let the police do their jobs." Is essentially giving up your right to be left alone, unless there's a cause reason to do so. When there is reason to jump in, there still are rights that have to be afforded and respected. That's what the country is founded upon. I think in today's day, we tend to want to give up some freedoms and basic rights that we forget about, for a feeling of security. The Patriot Act is kind of like that. That's why it passed and especially at that time. When we start peeling back the layers and looking at how our rights are and what the bedrock of the constitution in our society is, it is freedom to be left alone and without government interference.

I don't think it's bad to keep any given police officer, keep them, for lack of a better word, honest. I'm not saying there's any reason to believe in this particular community that anybody is doing anything nefarious. There are particularly bad examples nationwide right now, and have been for the last few years-

Dillon
It's accountability. Whether something bad is happening or not, it's about being accountable.

Jonathan
"When law enforcement on the streets are there to help keep order, are we handcuffing them to the lack of respect and defaming language about them that makes them vulnerable to aggressive behavior on the part of perpetrators?"

Dillon
This is more from that email?

Jonathan
This is more from that email. I don't think this is a statement about anything that you and I say or talk about, but I think legitimate criticism about the way they do their job, or the way that they, in this particular scenario, do or don't respect rights, I think it's legitimate. It's constructive, personally. If defense attorneys aren't there to point out what went wrong, or right was violated, and it's a right that not only just those accused have, it's a right that everybody has. Whether you're accused or not. By wanting to give those up, you're giving up your own rights. It might seem fine when you're sitting in a position where it doesn't matter, but there's that old saying that, "First they came for so and so. And I wasn't one, so I didn't say anything. Then ..." the rights, slowly, I think can be eroded under that scenario. I'm not sure if this particular person listens to the show regularly, last show was not one where we did this, but frequently, what's the best defense against DUI that I always preach? And I always say? The best defense is to don't drink and drive. 

One of her questions was whether I should be saying that, or "Don't you think that your advice should be, 'Don't drink and drive.'" Absolutely. That's always been my advice. If you want absolute protection from it, then absolutely, don't do it. Yes, I also advocate that if you are going to consume alcohol, you're better off, because of the way that the law is enforced, and what probable cause means, you're better off to find alternative methods before you start consuming alcohol. I don't have any gripe with that, and that's why I say I'm not sure how regular of a listener this person is. Ultimately, we talk about that all the time, what the best defense is. Ultimately, it's because our law is what it is. I wouldn't have to say that if our law was, complete 100%, alcohol consumption and driving is criminal, because therein lies the same defense, right?

Dillon
I think in all of this too, I've just been thinking about the role of a judge. Ultimately, most of these cases end up before a judge, one way or the other. Whether it's a judge acting as the adjudicator or whether it's a jury making a decision with a judge overseeing. Law enforcement can accuse you of all kinds of things. Defense attorneys can accuse or make up any kind of defense they want. It's ultimately up to the judge whether what is being said is legal, allowable, or true, or accurate, and they make the call. Right?

Jonathan
Yes, and no. The judge is what we call, in this system, a gatekeeper. A judge is a gatekeeper for ending the situation of a trial and always leading up to a trial, because a judge is a gatekeeper of what evidence, what testimony, a jury would hear. A judge's, as that gatekeeper, job is to make sure that, for instance, in a blood case or a search warrant case that the person was appropriately stopped with their rights having been respected, the search warrant was valid, meaning that the right procedure was followed, and these things are all laid out in the law. The legislatures and case law, 100s of hears of it has all come to bear upon when you do these things when you do the search and seizures, these are the rights that have to be expected and how do you do that? You make sure these other save guards are in place. A judges job is to hear and listen to the facts that lead up to it and if those things weren't going to do correctly, then that piece of evidence, or that statement, or that confession, if you will, that might have gone to a jury, in a trial, never gets to see the light of day. Why? Because some right is violated.

Dillon
That's where I'm saying that you as a defense attorney, in court or otherwise, you could say whatever you want technically, but a judge is going to say, "No, you can't." So the idea that defense attorneys sit around and come up with that ever the possibly can think of to try to throw a monkey wrench in what the police, for instance, or prosecutor, I guess more specifically once it gets to court, is accusing someone of. You can't just make up whatever. It has to be in line with what laws already exist and what rights people already have.

Jonathan
I think there have been some very sensationalized situations where the rule of law has been interpreted by somebody who's very clever or a set of facts, which are completely unique. That's where we get really weird decisions. The application of law should cover everything, but human beings and human nature being what it is, we can't think of every conceivable situation. Sometimes it's those outlying cases, or outlying arguments, or even an outlying judge's interpretation of something that causes this perception if you will. You bring up a very good point, a defense attorney, any attorney actually, when you swear in to be an attorney in the state of Washington, you swear to uphold the constitution and you swear to uphold the law. Those two things are what give rights. It's what gives rights to you and me, and it's the rights that we're sworn to protect if we take on the job and the responsibility of a criminal defense lawyer. It's not an easy job, and yeah, it's a struggle. It's also one of these favorite party conversations that you started the show with, which is, "How can you do that?"

Generally, the role is to keep the system and the actors within the system, honest. If you've done your job and you've advocated for your client, and you've made sure that every procedure was followed, and ultimately that doesn't convince a jury, well then that's just the nature of the beast. If it does convince a jury, well, then you can rest assured, at least as best as we can in our system, be satisfied that six or 12 people found beyond a reasonable doubt that that thing occurred.

Dillon
Local DUI attorney, Jonathan Rands in-studio with us this morning. Answering and talking piece by piece some points brought up in an email he received from a listener. What's the best way, if someone else wants to email you? Even on this conversation we're having, or any conversation that we've had on this program, or maybe any other question that they might have about what you do. What's the best way to do that? Go to your website?

Jonathan
Yeah. My email is [email protected], that email is on my website, which is jrandslaw.com, as you put out here all the time. I've had people call me up at my office and say, "Hey, I heard that show a couple weeks ago, just thought ..." ideally, it would be by email, though. Simply because, not because I'm going to talk about everyone on the radio, but ultimately because it's a good way to respond. It's a good way to respond in kind and with thought, and at my leisure as well.

Dillon
You love this kind of stuff.

Jonathan
I do. I really like talking about questions that we have. I think over the course of the years that we've done this, I can think of two other questions that we've had or talked about. So, yeah, I don't want to be flooded with them where I've got to deal with more emails coming from listeners than what I get from work, but same time, this is a classic example of opening up a dialog about something that's important and maybe correcting a misunderstanding, and maybe opening up somebody else's mind to how this world is, differently than we might think it is.

Dillon
What we're talking about is so much bigger than DUI defense. It really has to do with the law and our system of government. 360-306-8136, is the phone number. We do have to run to a quick timeout, but we'll be back in just a moment. This morning here on The Legal Docket with Jonathan Rands, local DUI attorney. Again, that website, as he mentioned, is jrandslaw.com. Rands is spelled R-A-N-D-S. So, j, just the letter j. R-A-N-D-S, law, L-A-W .com, jrandslaw.com, 360-306-8136. Back in just a moment.

Speaker 1:The Legal Docket with Dillon Honcoop. Breaking news, stimulating talk, this is KGMI Bellingham and KGMI.com. The Legal Docket with Dillon Honcoop on KGMI 790 and KGMI.com.

Dillon
We're back. We continue. This is The Legal Docket here on your Sunday morning. Dillon Honcoop with local DUI defense attorney, Jonathan Rands. Talking about an email that Jonathan got recently. Some interesting points. Really, I think we talked about this just before we ran to the break, Jonathan. This is about more than DUI defense. This is about our entire system of government, really. What we're talking about here.

Jonathan
It's not just the system of government, but the structure of the country. The philosophy of living free that goes all the way back to the founding fathers. That sounds kind of corny, I think, but really when you do what I do, when you're a lawyer in the criminal justice system, it always comes back to that. Always. That's why we cite cases that are hundreds of years old. That's where rules come from and rights come from.

Dillon
People just joining us right now, we've been responding to this email talking a little bit about some points raised in it, really having to do with, I realize I'm way overly dumbing this down, but just for summary sake, a person asking, "Well, how can you be a defense attorney on these DUI cases, trying to get every right possible for someone who has done something bad? Someone who, if they made the choice to drive under the influence, then how can you defend that person and worry about their rights? Aren't the rights of other people that drive safely and be safe in their communities more important than that?" And you're saying there's so much more to the story. We have to continue with it. We haven't even finished really getting through all of the email. We're up against the clock here for news, but I want to continue this conversation cause I think it's been pretty illuminating. Again, about more than just DUI defense.

Jonathan
Excellent. 

Dillon
By the way, again, maybe you weren't able to grab that pen quickly enough when I mentioned Jonathan's number at his practice. Maybe you have a case of your own that you'd like Jonathan to take a look at, or help you out with. Maybe you just have a question or thoughts or a response to this conversation. 360-306-8136 is the way you can reach his practice in Fairhaven. I'll repeat that in just a moment. Again, that website is jrandslaw.com. Rands is R-A-N-D-S. With just the letter j. Jrandslaw.com. His link to his email address is there. That's probably the best way to shoot him a question or points or whatever. If you want to have a conversation with Jonathan about some of the things we've talked about on this program you can find that email address link there, at jrandslaw.com, back with more in just a moment here on KGMI.

Speaker 1:The Legal Docket with Dillon Honcoop. Breaking news, stimulating talk, this is KGMI Bellingham and KGMI.com. The Legal Docket with Dillon Honcoop on KGMI 790 and KGMI.com.

Dillon
We're back, we continue with Jonathan Rands, local DUI attorney. Jonathan, you got an email, responding, actually, to something we talked about fairly recently here on the program. Someone saying, "Well, how can you say some of those things that you said, Jonathan?" Just for people joining us now, get us up to speed, cause we have more of this email to talk about. In the first half, we were able to cover some of the issues that were brought up. We have more to get to, but in terms of summary up to where we're at now, how would you ... I've been doing a terrible job, I think, so far, trying to boil down what the issue is here that was brought up by this email, which I think is a very interesting point and something interesting to talk about.

Jonathan
I don't know that you can boil it down in one sentence. I mean, the email sort of encapsulates a lot of concerns that this particular listener has and I'm just trying to respond to those concerns. It's a backdrop of rights and responsibilities and obligations. I think the jest of the email would be that if you, in this particular case, if you don't drink and drive, then you don't really have anything to worry about. If you do drink and drive, well then, you're likely breaking the law and do you really deserve to have rights that get in the way of enforcement of the law and making sure that the other motorists on the road are safe. I'm doing just as terrible a job of summarizing it as you thought you did. Even though, I think you did a better job.

Dillon
Well, thank you.

Jonathan
It's a hard conversation because it covers so much. It's a conversation that I think encapsulates the entire justice system. Encapsulates the entire criminal defense bar. I say that, before I read this last segment of it, because I think that the writer and the listener also believes that by virtue of what was written. The last point that was made is a long one. "If attorneys are trying to get to the truth about law-breaking incidents, rather than find some clever way to put blame elsewhere, for example, on law enforcement, then we'd be setting a better model for our youth, new drivers, and citizens in general." I want to break that down a moment. Defense attorneys, I think, at least the way that I work, absolutely try to get to the truth of the matter. Not necessarily to the truth of the matter as to what my client did, but the whole truth of the matter. The truth of the matter in terms of how did the law enforcement officer stop my client? Was it a legitimate reason? Was the truth of it legitimate? Was it a made-up reason? Was it a made up reason because it's 11:00 at night, on a Friday night, and statistically more people have consumed alcohol and are out driving around? So, I would like to know the truth of that. 

I'd like to know the truth of everything else that goes forward, and if, in doing my job, and learning the truth of that, and we learn that the actor, the government agent, the law enforcement officer, whatever setting we're in, did things the right way. Well, then we are getting to the truth of it and we don't have anything to worry about, but essentially it's a watchdog. Essentially it's somebody saying, "If you're going to invade the rights of this particular person, or any person, I want to make sure that you're doing it according to the law. According to your training and not one of these scenarios where something is written down and then we see a police video several years later, that shows that's not really the way that it happened." I think that it's not super accurate, and it's not necessarily a criticism of this particular person, but if you do think about it in terms of, we don't get to the truth of the matter. I think that needs to be rethought in terms of what we do. What I do isn't ... We don't make stuff up. We don't come up with loopholes or clever things, at least not in the line of what I do. 

Do we creatively interpret what the English language has written as the law, and what follows? Absolutely. Or do we critically analyze it? Absolutely, because that's really what we do. The words have meaning, and the meaning has to be given meaning by the interpretation of that rule. I wouldn't say that we don't try and get to the truth. I think that we do, and ultimately the truth, if things are done right, doesn't help my clients. If we find out that everything was done 100% lawfully and the breath test machine and the maintenance were done correctly, and we have full faith and confidence in that .09, that .10, that .17, well then getting to the truth isn't really defending them, in terms of creating a defense. It's really looking at things and going, "Yeah, I think you got a solid case against my client, unfortunately." But if there is room to show that that's not the case, well, then that's my obligation. That's the oath that I've taken is to vigorously defend my clients within the bounds of the law. As long as you stay within the bounds of the law, then there isn't any, I don't think, anything wrong with that.

I'm not too concerned about what kind of example we set in enforcing thwatchdogog approach. Meaning, while I can certainly appreciate that we're in a community, we're a small community, I don't look at it as my role as educating people to have a good opinion of law enforcement or anybody for that matter. That's not where my role is. My role is to educate people to respect the law as I see it. If we educate, or if I educate people, or youth, or drivers, to respect the law, well then that cuts both ways. Respect the law, that means don't drink and drive. Or don't drink and drive and be affected by it. Also means, if you have contact with law enforcement, then you know that there's a law that has to be respected in the way that they do things, well then you are in a position to enforce your rights before you're ever charged, before you're ever arrested, perhaps you're just scrutinized. I'm not going to say I take exception to that, but I think that it's a pretty good role model.

Dillon
I'm thinking about the age old question, I have talked about it on this program with Bob Butler before when he's been on the show. A local criminal defense attorney. The question of, "Well, did your client actually do it?" And the different genres of kinds of cases and the way you're approaching cases and maybe realize that they did something, but what was it? Or are you saying they did nothing and they've been unfairly accused? Or there's a lot of different ways all of this can be approached too. It's not necessarily as cut and dry as either they did it or they didn't do it and that's what you're trying to prove in court. You're looking out for much more than just that. You're not trying, probably in some cases, you aren't going into court saying, "My client didn't do anything at all." You may be saying, "Yeah, my client did this, but really this is the category that falls into and what they're being accused of doesn't fit that." An accusation is not proof. In our system it's an intensely adversarial system. I think both parties, prosecutors and defense attorneys, firmly believe in what they do. Because we're human actors that can sometimes blind you. It can blind you to what you should be presenting and what you should not be presenting, depending on what side of the coin you're on.

Jonathan
From my perspective, and I know Bob feels this way, we've had lots of conversations about this, what actually happened or what my client did is not up for me or him to decide. It's for a jury to decide. There's an accusation and that accusation is faced with a presumption of innocence. The presumption of innocence is, "I gotta sit here and believe that this person didn't do it and it's the state, or the government, or the cities job to convince me otherwise by proof beyond a reasonable doubt and that proof should be proof that's accumulated through lawful means, through scientific means as far as the DUI goes. That's a good quality of evidence." What does that avoid? Well, it avoids all of these false confessions and or false convictions, which are coming out of the woodwork now. When we have better scientific evidence. If we had better DNA evidence from 20-30 years ago, we would not necessarily, in my opinion, have all of these exhortations which come out of the woodwork for things that are based upon poor evidence. When I criticize the evidence in the DUI world, I criticize it for not being as good as it can be. Not for any other reason. There is the means out there. There is the ability out there. There is the knowledge out there to put in front of a jury the absolute best quality of evidence possible.

Dillon
If someone's being careless somewhere along the line with a sample of somebody's breath or blood, then that is a legitimate issue. That's a problem.

Jonathan
Not only careless, but completely making it up as you go along. Back east there was a case, I think a month and a half ago, two months ago in Boston, where the lab that is responsible for breath testing quality and assurance as far as a solution, which is run through the machine to make sure that it's running correctly, and the same lab that's responsible for testing of blood to determine alcoholic concentration, they didn't have any standards. The lab was made up as it goes along. "On this day we decide that we're going to do this analysis on this day." And it's through word of mouth or it depends upon which manager's on shift that day. They didn't have any written procedures and protocols that ensure quality. Where you do it the same way every time in order to make sure. 

Behind the scenes is just as important as on the front lines. We talk about law enforcement and their actions, they're on the front lines, but there's a whole level and layer of things that need to be done, I think, in any given case. Whether it's DUI, whether it's an assault case, or a car accident case where you're trying to find out whose at fault. Any time you get into the realm of forensic science, which is what they like to call it, which is really just a fancy word for science that we use in the courtroom. Anything that's not eye witness testimony, which is full of its own problems. Any time you're in a situation where you're using evidence against somebody to prove something, the proof has to stack up and go above and beyond proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That's where my criticisms come in. It's not about exercising the rights of somebody else. I mean, it is. It protects people from false convictions or erroneous convictions. Anybody can sue anybody in this country. Anybody can accuse anybody in this country. You get to a certain basic level and the case will take on a life of its own and that's what can be very dangerous, especially if you're relying upon information that's just not the quality that you would rely on in other situations.

Dillon
If you wanted to summarize, maybe part of the perspective that this email that we're talking about this morning, is coming from, it's really on that, "Well, you can go about your life and as long as you don't do anything ..." I think you alluded to it earlier. As long as you don't have anything to hide, then what do you have to worry about?

I'm coming at this from a perspective that I realize that more and more, it's probably naive to think that you could do anything in our current climate and not be in trouble for something. I don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist here, but really, if you do just about anything, even driving down the road, we talk about this. To not break a single traffic law, you have to be on your game. Not wavering in line. Don't ever touch that white fog line. Everything has to be perfect. Otherwise, technically, there can be a reason for you to be suspected of something or to be contacted by law enforcement. It's not as simple as, "Oh, just be a good guy and you won't have any problems." I think, to think that is, and I'm not trying to knock this listener that sent that email, but maybe to think about it that way is a bit naïve, to think that there doesn't need to be this counter balance. Like we said earlier, law enforcement exists to keep us honest, defense attorneys and others in the system are a counter balance to that to keep them honest. That's how it works.

Jonathan
It's a system of competing rights and obligations. It's a system where these things come into conflict on a daily basis. There isn't any real solution to it. If we want to live in a country where we have freedoms and rights, yes they come with obligations, but they also come with obligations to government actors to respect those. That's important. I don't think I've ever tried to make law enforcement the enemy. If I have every come across that way, I'll apologize to everybody right now, but what I've always tried to do was be constructively critical. Or critical of them in the sense of the law. The last sentence that I wanted to share from the email, which is pretty much the last sentence, is this listeners' sentiment of, "When we make the law and law enforcers the enemy, we are encouraging lawlessness. Something we see more and more across this land. It seems that lawyers and justice departments are now part of the problem rather than part of the solution to law breaking." I disagree with that. I disagree with that because holding law enforcement accountable because they have so much power, is something that's a necessity. Any time anybody has a tremendous amount of power, even a little amount of power, you need a watch dog. You need checks and balances.

We can see this in our system, realistically in action. Washington being the leader of this on this travel ban that wasn't too long ago. What we have there is somebody, let's call them law enforcement, the most power entity in this land, made a decision, wrote a law, and guess what happened? When it was scrutinized by people that do the job that I do, not necessarily the DUI defense, but on the defense side of things, and brought two impartial judges and people that interpret the law and apply the law, the result was that it was found to be unconstitutional, unworkable, any un you want to put in front of it, ultimately. Without getting into the nitty gritty of it, that is checks and balances and actions.

Dillon
Or even that isn't over yet, because that's the initial ruling, but there's checks, balances, from both sides. That's the whole idea of balance.

Jonathan
You may not like that subject matter, you may not like the subject matter that I work in, you may not like the subject matter that Bob Butler, or anybody works in, but the reality is, any time something is being done that affects the rights of others, regardless of the motivation of that person. Meaning, that motivation of the travel ban, we all think had a particular motivation to it. The motivation to a law enforcement officer, driving down the street on a Friday night at 1:00 in the morning, doesn't really matter what the motivation is. The decision and what they do in response to that and the recording of it and doing it right is what matters. That's what keeps me going every day. It's how I get around that question, how do I do what I do? 

Yeah, I see lots of breath tests taken where people hire me and maybe it's a .18 and maybe it's an .05. The .05 I'm concerned about, because it's somebody charged with a crime that's under the legal limit. The .18 I'm concerned about because I want to make sure that breath test machine is accurate and reliable before somebody uses that number to send my client away to jail. The accusation is really not the problem, in terms of how I do what I do. Nor should it be anybody's concern. They're just accusations and until the evidence stacks up beyond a reasonable doubt, going back to that question about how do you do what you do, how do you answer that question? The answer is, there is no belief in what my client did or didn't do. There's only an accusation and whether or not it actually stacks up is where the rubber meets the road.

Dillon
This is The Legal Docket here on KGMI. We're talking with Jonathan Rands, local DUI defense attorney. 360-306-8136 is the phone number for his practice in Fairhaven. His website is jrandslaw.com, I'll repeat those bits of contact info for you in just a moment. We do have to run to a quick time out, back with just a little bit more with Jonathan Rands straight up.

Speaker 1: The Legal Docket with Dillon Honcoop. Breaking news, stimulating talk, this is KGMI Bellingham and KGMI.com. The Legal Docket with Dillon Honcoop on KGMI 790 and KGMI.com.

Dillon
Responding to an interesting, and I want to say as we're talking about it here in the last minute or two, with Jonathan Rands, I appreciate emails like this. A listener reached out to our guest, Jonathan Rands, about a show we had done recently. A topic we had talked about, with some concerns, and this has given us a spring board to talk much more in depth about some of these issues. I think it's been enlightening to do so. Just as we're getting into wrapping this up here, trying to summarize everything that was talked about, cause there was a lot in the email and a lot that we've talked about this hour. You talked about the perception that defense attorneys and people who do what you do, are making law enforcement to be the enemy. I think that would certainly be, and you've said no, that's not your mind set. It certainly would be wrong if it were your mind set, and some people have that mind set. That law enforcement is the enemy. That's wrong. 

I also say it's wrong for law enforcement, or a bureaucrat, or some agent of the government to think that the people are always the problem. Isn't that the counter balance of that too? It can feel like that, where some people who are in a position of power, as an agent of government, can seem to just find a problem, like to a hammer everything looks like a nail. That is equally bad and that's not what the system should be about.

This listener, in that email, didn't voice that level of concern. It's like a bias that assumes that, well one side of this counterbalance situation is always going to be more right than the other. Maybe, maybe not.

Jonathan
Maybe it's more of a devil's advocate, "Hey, have you thought about this?" And that's, I read it, I looked at it, I gave it a lot of thought. I read it two or three times before I really came to the conclusion that I wanted to talk about it. It seems like it is really from one approach only and may not be a product of completely understanding all of the things that we've tried to bring into it here. Where I work, is in the fourth amendment of the constitution, within the fifth and the sixth amendment of the constitution. Not everybody likes that, because it's criminal law. It's defense of people that are charged with crimes, and they have the right to be let alone and privacy, and you need a search warrant. It's still a part of the constitution. I think they're just as important as the first amendment, the second amendment, the third amendment. Those amendments of the constitution give people, listeners, this particular person, the right and freedom to be able to reach out and express that opinion, express that opinion publicly, question my opinion and even write and even have their issue talked about on the show, without government interference.

Dillon
This whole conversation in the first place.

Jonathan
Right.

Dillon
Wouldn't be possible without that.

Jonathan
It's a hard conversation, because it's hard to not be so passionate about something that you are blind to the other side and that's really what we're trying to do here. At the end of the day, I believe in what I do and I believe in what I do is for the right reasons for what I believe I've articulated here. It really comes down to making sure things are done right, and things are proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Ultimately, if somebody doesn't like that, then it's a good thing you're not a criminal defense attorney.

Dillon
Jonathan Rands, local DUI defense attorney. We are out of time. Thank you so much for being here. Again, his practice is in Fairhaven. The phone number, if you want to call his office, is 360-306-8136. 360-306-8136 and his website, which is a great resource, lots of information on it, jrandslaw.com. His last name, Rands, spelled R-A-N-D-S. So just the letter j, jrandslaw.com, check it out online. Jonathan, have a great rest of your weekend.

Jonathan
You as well, thank you.


Call now for your free consultation (360) 306-8136

“I hired Jonathan for a DUI case and I have never seen someone fight so hard for me! My court case was taken all the way to trial and I was found not guilty. I could not be happier! Jonathan is an amazing human and attorney!”
Heather
A DUI Client, via AVVO