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The Nation

February 19, 1988

An Oregon Supreme Court ruling assuring suspected drunk drivers the right to talk to a lawyer before taking a breath test was attacked by critics as an erosion of the state's laws against drinking and driving, which are considered the country's toughest. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and the head of the state's traffic safety commission said Wednesday's unanimous ruling was "stupid," and accused the seven-member court of tipping the scales in favor of the drunk driver. "The defense attorneys and the courts are trying to unravel the laws we passed," said Nancy Wolfe, treasurer and co-founder of the Multnomah County chapter of MADD. The court found in the case of Ronald Spencer that police had violated Spencer's constitutional rights by not allowing him to talk to a lawyer before he decided on a breath test.

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