South Dakota. I am so not surprised. SD cops aren’t exactly a nice bunch of people, and they have the bad habit of stopping anyone with a Rez license plate, or being suspiciously brown looking. In keeping with that, rather than looking to be good human beings, they’ve gone with a threat, one they are happy to carry out. Anyone who will be traveling in my part of the world, you might want to go around SD.
Police in South Dakota are collecting urine samples from uncooperative suspects through the use of force and catheters, a procedure the state’s top prosecutor says is legal but is criticized by others as unnecessarily invasive and a potential constitutional violation.
The practice isn’t new, according to attorneys, but it’s been brought to light in a recent case in Pierre. An attorney for a man charged with felony drug ingestion is asking a judge to throw out evidence from an involuntary urine sample, saying it violated his client’s constitutional rights.
“Sticking a needle in your arm is very intrusive – I can’t imagine anything more intrusive than this,” said Ryan Kolbeck, a Sioux Falls lawyer and president of the South Dakota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
It’s unclear how widespread the practice of forced catheterization is in South Dakota. Attorney General Marty Jackley said in an interview that the practice is permitted with a signed court order under state law, and he cited several cases that supported the legality of the practice.
The attorney general said law enforcement would prefer not to collect urine samples by force, but that ultimately it’s up to suspects if they don’t want to cooperate.
“I don’t think anyone wants to go through that methodology,” Jackley said.
Police always take the person to a hospital if they are going to take a forced urine sample, said Tim Whalen, a Lake Andes attorney who has represented a couple of clients who have had urine samples taken without permission. Health care workers at the Wagner and Platte hospitals conduct the procedure on a regular basis, he said.
“They don’t anesthetize them,” Whalen said. “There’s a lot of screaming and hollering.”
Christ. Yeah, nothing wrong with this at all. Nope.
Kolbeck said he doesn’t know what state law would allow authorities to use forced catheterization. It’s an extreme measure that shouldn’t be used in routine cases such as drunken driving or drug ingestion, he said. Most disturbing, he said, is the fact that it could be happening to women.
“They want someone’s urine that bad?,” Kolbeck said.
The Pierre Police Department declined to comment and deferred all questions to the Hughes County State’s Attorney office. Hughes County State’s Attorney Wendy Kloeppner declined to comment on the case or the practice of forced catheterization.
Pam Hein, a defense attorney in Lake Andes, said the practice of forcing catheters into suspects’ urethras “has been going on for years.”
Hein has seen the issue from both perspectives. She’s served as Charles Mix County State’s Attorney and Bennett County State’s Attorney.
Often an officer will have suspicion of drug use, request the warrant for testing and get the test before any reports on a drug violation charge lands on a prosecutor’s desk.
“Do I think that it’s being abused? Yeah, I do,” Hein said.
Usually it doesn’t come to force, though, Hein said. The threat alone is enough. Officers can hold defendants in a room, sometimes for hours, she said, and then tell them they can offer the urine test voluntarily or face a warrant that would allow the officer to take it by force.
“Most of the time, when they threaten them with catheterization, they said, ‘That’s OK, you can have it,’” Hein said.
I am officially out of words. Argus Leader has the full story.