The ACLU of Wyoming is threatening to sue the state for its use of the 24/7 Sobriety Program on people who have been arrested but not convicted.
Originally created by a 2014 state law, the program allows a judge to mandate a breathalyzer test twice a day, every day, for those awaiting trial on alcohol charges. Any failed test or excessively late arrival — depending on the county — leads to immediate arrest.
The warning came in a “Demand Letter” sent Oct. 15 to Gov. Mark Gordon, Attorney General Bridget Hill, the Teton County Sheriff’s Office and other government entities. Stephanie Amiotte, the legal director at the ACLU of Wyoming, wrote in the letter that the laws that implemented the forced sobriety program are “unconstitutional both facially and as applied to pretrial participants.”
The ACLU and local attorneys previously told the News&Guide that Wyoming’s 24/7 Sobriety Program, when used as a pretrial release condition for first-time offenders, may violate their rights under the U.S. Constitution. It may violate the Fourth Amendment for potentially unreasonable searches and seizures and the Fifth Amendment for potentially depriving participants of liberty through sometimes repeated pretrial arrests without due process of law, they argue.
The News&Guide was the first Wyoming media outlet to report on potentially unconstitutional elements of the 24/7 program; stories have since been published and republished in several outlets across the state.
Read more about the pending case in this week's Wednesday paper or online at jhnewsandguide.com. Also see more about how and why the program is used in Teton County and questions at the state level in the following articles: