Police: Sobriety checkpoints go on despite ruling

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas State Police have announced that they will continue to conduct sobriety checkpoints as part of an annual holiday initiative, one week after the state Court of Appeals ruled one such stop was unconstitutional.

State police arrested Jeremy Whalen in September 2012 at a sobriety checkpoint on I-540 near Fort Smith. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the Arkansas Court of Appeals overturned Whalen’s conviction Dec. 9, saying the checkpoint lacked supervision and left troopers to stop vehicles at their own discretion.

Written policy for state police says that troopers need special permission to conduct checkpoints without a supervisor, and every vehicle must be stopped while the checkpoint is in operation.

A state police spokesman said “nothing will be different” about the checkpoints as the agency increases patrols to find intoxicated drivers through Jan.3.

He also said that state police were not considering changes to its sobriety checkpoint procedures, noting that the Whalen case only relates to a particular stop.