2016 News Releases

AG Schmidt joins friend-of-the-court brief on DUI-related U.S. Supreme Court cases

Release Date: Mar 24, 2016

TOPEKA – (March 24, 2016) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has joined 17 other state attorneys general in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in three DUI-related cases currently being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The cases, known together as Birchfield v. North Dakota, address the constitutionality of state implied consent laws. Oral argument in the cases is scheduled for April 20 with a decision expected by the end of June. The amicus brief urges the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the Birchfield case in a way that upholds the constitutionality of Kansas’ implied consent statutes.

Last month, the Kansas Supreme Court overturned state statutes related to DUI, most notably a statute making it a crime for a person suspected of DUI to refuse to submit to a breath test to determine blood-alcohol levels. The state court held that the statute as currently written violates constitutional rights. Shortly after, Schmidt filed motions asking the Kansas Supreme Court to delay formally issuing the mandate on its decisions on the four Kansas cases, State v. Ryce, State v. Nece, State v. Wilson and State v. Wycoff, pending the outcome of the Birchfield case.

“As I noted at the time we requested delay of the state court decisions, we expect to have definitive guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court on these constitutional questions by the end of June,” Schmidt said. “We are now following through on our stated intention of participating in that U.S. Supreme Court litigation because of its importance to Kansas.”

Schmidt noted that his office has not yet received a response from the Kansas Supreme Court to the request for delay. If the Kansas court declines to voluntarily delay its decisions until the U.S. Supreme Court case is decided, the state has the option of filing a formal appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, and under Kansas law that filing would automatically stay the mandate on the Kansas decisions.

The states filing the amicus brief in the Birchfield case include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Wisconsin.

A copy of the brief can be found here: http://1.usa.gov/1T7YtF1 .

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