MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF STATE POLICE v. SITZ

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
88-1897
Petitioner 
Michigan Department of State Police
Respondent 
Rick Sitz
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
(Argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging reversal)
(Argued the cause for the respondents)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

In 1986, the Michigan State Police Department created a sobriety checkpoint program aimed at reducing drunk driving within the state. The program included guidelines governing the location of roadblocks and the amount of publicity to be given to the operation. Before the first roadblock went into effect, Rick Sitz, a licensed Michigan driver, challenged the checkpoints and sought declaratory and injunctive relief. Sitz was victorious in the Michigan lower courts.

Question 

Did the drunk driving checkpoints violate motorists' privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 6 votes for Michigan Department of State Police, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 4: Fourth Amendment

In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court held that the roadblocks did not violate the Fourth Amendment. The Court noted that "no one can seriously dispute the magnitude of the drunken driving problem or the States' interest in eradicating it." The Court then found that "the weight bearing on the other scale--the measure of the intrusion on motorists stopped briefly at sobriety checkpoints--is slight." The Court also found that empirical evidence supported the effectiveness of the program.

Cite this Page
MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF STATE POLICE v. SITZ. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 20 July 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1989/1989_88_1897>.
MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF STATE POLICE v. SITZ, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1989/1989_88_1897 (last visited July 20, 2014).
"MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF STATE POLICE v. SITZ," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed July 20, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1989/1989_88_1897.