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RUI Checkpoints

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In Michigan State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990), the US Supreme Court upheld, under certain conditions, the use of sobriety checkpoints.  But that was for people driving cars under the influence (DUI).

San Francisco's famously quirky marathon, the Bay-to-Breakers* race, is having its 100th running this weekend, but it has gotten too quirky for some corporate sponsors, so the city wants to tone it down.  Will Kane has this story in the SF Chron, including this gem:

This year the race will have a handful of checkpoints - police won't say how many - scattered along the route. There, police officers and private security guards will screen racers and revelers to make sure they are properly registered and aren't intoxicated.
Running under the influence (RUI)?

Naturally, my mind turns immediately to thoughts of the Fourth Amendment.  It's an occupational hazard.  How exactly are the cops going to "screen."  Are they going to merely sit in a public place and watch for probable cause (or even reasonable suspicion) that a person is so severely hammered as to be "in a condition that he or she is unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others" or "interferes with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way." (Cal. Penal Code ยง647(f).)  That would be okay, but only the falling-down drunk would qualify.  Perhaps they will be looking for violations of a local ordinance.  In any event, I expect we will see some litigation out of this in the famously litigious City by the Bay (and the Breakers).

* For those unfamiliar with San Fran geography, the race begins at San Francisco Bay on the east side of the city, crosses the peninsula-tip that is San Francisco, and ends at the Pacific Ocean (the breakers) on the west side.

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Not a marathon, it is only about 7 miles long.

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