Mequon businessman takes his constitutional right to drive drunk to the Supreme Court—and beyond
Let’s say you’re a retired businessman in Wisconsin with a lot of time on your hands. What do you do with yourself?
First you get drunk. Next you hire a lawyer.
Richard M. Fischer of Mequon got busted for his second drunk driving offense in 2005. In Wisconsin, that’s the legal equivalent of your Mommy waving her finger in your face going “Tsk, tsk.” Most guys do the five days and vow to better next time. Not Mr. Fisher. He hired James Shellow, a lawyer who specializes in getting drug dealers, armed robbers, embezzlers, child pornographers and murderers off the swinging rusty hook of justice. It paid off for them when a US Magistrate Judge ruled that Fischer’s constitutional rights were violated because he couldn’t bring in a special expert to his jury trial. This was after the Supreme court ruled in February that it’s a good idea to get drunken drivers off the road, and Mr. Fischer was a drunken driver–so there.
Fischer’s lawyer was using the trendy “Rising Curve Defense” where the driver’s test results at the scene are compared to the results taken later in the police station. The hope is that an incline in blood alcohol level may indicate that the accused may not have been quite exactly legally drunk a half hour earlier when he was arrested. This requires special experts to be hired by the defense and the state, causing huge expense to the people of Wisconsin.
Like the kid who kills his parents and appeals to the court because he is an orphan, Mr’s Sellow and Fischer claim it’s all about the 6th Amendment. “My client decided the constitutional issue . . . was so important, not only to him and not only in (this) drunk-driving case, but in other cases, too. He felt it was important enough to take it as far as it could go, so he did,” Shellow said.