Brave Utah Nurse Defends 4th Amendment from Police

Utah Nurse, Alex Wubbels, has been all over the headlines recently after an altercation between her and Utah police was posted online and went viral.  The incident happened July 26, when a car crash victim was admitted to the University of Utah Hospital burn unit; he was in a coma. Though the man was not a suspect in the wreck, which killed the other driver, police asked for his blood to be drawn.

According to CNN reports:

-“Wubbels, the charge nurse in the burn unit, presented the officers with a printout of hospital policy on drawing blood and said their request did not meet the criteria. Hospital policy specified police needed either a judge’s order or the patient’s consent, or the patient needed to be under arrest, before obtaining a blood sample.
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Salt Lake City Mayor,Jackie Biskupski ,said Wednesday the officers violated several city and department policies, including those pertaining to arrests, ethics and officer conduct. The officers have 20 days to respond to the results of the internal investigation, after which Chief Mike Brown will determine what employment action should be taken. The police department said it had no comment on the report. “
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Video shows Utah nurse arrested on the job
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Detective Jeff Payne eventually grabbed Nurse Wubbels when she demanded a search warrant before allowing the patient’s blood to be drawn. She was then arrested as the altercation became more aggressive on part of the officers involved. Payne and the other officers involved have been placed on administrative leave. As a Libertarian, and staunch supporter of constitutional law, let us examine exactly why Alex Wubbels is a hero, from both a legal and moral standard.
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Legally, Wubbels was defending not only her company hospital policy, but the 4th amendment of the United States Constitution, the supreme law of the land.  The 4th amendment of the Constitution reads as follows:
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“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
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In this particular situation, the police are attempting to seize a man’s blood. Is blood considered personal property? Well, if we analyze any basic traffic stop, an officer who wants to seize a vehicle or any contents inside the vehicle, must first obtain the owner’s voluntary consent or obtain a certified judicial search warrant with probable cause established. If vehicles are considered personal property, it is easy to imagine that blood is the ultimate definition of personal property, a substance that is literally manufactured by our own bodies.   In 2013, the Supreme Court decided in Missouri v. McNeely ,  that the harvesting of blood in regards to a police investigation did require consent and/or a warrant.
Honestly, how would any of us feel if an officer could just walk up to us and say, “You look a little buzzed, roll up your sleeze, im drawing your blood now.” In 2015, the Tennessee Highway Patrol did just that with their  controversial “No refusal DUI checkpoint stops”, that were met with harsh criticism by civil liberties activists. Many even disobeyed and fought the constitutionality of such checkpoints. Regardless, search warrants were still issued during most of those check point stops.
A warrant creates a necessary roadblock between police and arbitrary abuse of power. It creates one last opportunity for a judge to look at the situation and say, “This officer doesn’t have the right to do this”,  or “This officer has the right”.  While many judges often distribute search warrants arbitrarily and unfairly, atleast it creates a small deterrence for officers to easily abuse their authority. And this is exactly why the founders drafted the 4th amendment the way they did. They were sick of the British walking into their houses and confiscating their good without any regard or debate of legalities.
This Utah nurse not only made a stand for the Constitution but also for human rights. The victim at hand was not accused of any crime  and the officers had no legal authority to take his property; i.e. his blood.  If the 4th amendment did not apply to our blood, it could create an opportunity for blood harvesting, experimentation, and all sorts of deadly scenarios.
In my Shadow Report,  Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform , I address the problem of “policing for profit”, whereas police departments often seize properties illegally, only to turn around and sell those items to profit their departments.  Civil asset Forfeiture is a huge concern all across this nation. I could only imagine if a market for blood was opened up to private corporations. It would create another fascist relationship between big pharma and big government.
Kudos to Alex Wubbels for defending life, liberty, and the 4th amendment of our Constitution.  It is a sad day in this country when a nurse is doing more to protect the 4th amendment than our elected congress members who passed laws like the Patriot Act which undermine the 4th amendment.
Maybe Ms.Wubbels should act as a Constitutional consultant to our Republican and Democratic leaders on what it means to strictly adhere to the founding principles of this nation which lead to the rise of what used to be known as— “The most free nation on Earth. “
I look forward to seeing Ms.Wubbels attain justice for the abuse she suffered protecting our beloved bill of rights.  She is a true role model to girls,boys,women, and men residing in this great nation of the United States and elsewhere.
Godspeed.
Nalini-Global
2017