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Minnesota’s DWI Test Refusal

Just Saying No: The Limits of Warrantless Searches

A case involving Minnesota’s DWI test refusal statute could yield a major 4th Amendment decision from the United States Supreme Court

0216-Police-DWIMinnesota is one of a handful of U.S. states that have criminalized the refusal to submit to a warrantless search in suspected DUI cases. This term, the U.S. Supreme Court will review a Minnesota case as it determines whether states can make refusing to submit to a warrantless search a criminal act.

Minnesota is in the national spotlight, and in a very big way. This term we expect the United States Supreme Court to issue a major decision regarding the scope of the 4th Amendment warrant requirement, and the Court is using a Minnesota case to reach its decision: Bernard v. Minnesota.

It was the signed confession from a suspected rapist in Arizona that led the Court to issue its watershed decision regarding coerced confessions in Miranda v. Arizona.1 It was Illinois’ decision to relentlessly interrogate a suspected murderer for over 14 hours, while repeatedly denying his attorney’s demands to be present, that led the Court to issue its watershed decision regarding the right to counsel in Escobedo v. Illinois.2 When North Carolina went looking for a weapon used in a reported rape, and claimed that they found it during a “consensual” search despite the fact that the homeowner had been told that she had no right to refuse the search, the Court took the opportunity to reject “consensual” searches in the face of bald claims of lawful authority. That one was Bumper v. North Carolina.3

Why is a Minnesota case drawing such scrutiny from the Supreme Court? Bernard is a case about a drunk driver who refused to submit to an in-custody, warrantless search of his breath. Minnesota, not content to use the fact of his refusal against him as “consciousness of guilt” evidence at trial (something permitted since South Dakota v. Neville4), went one step further and criminalized the very act of refusing to submit to a warrantless search. This term, the Supreme Court is going to answer one broad question and one narrow one. The broad one is simply “can the states make refusing to submit to a warrantless search a criminal act?” The narrow question is closely tied to Minnesota’s (latest) rationale for claiming our test refusal crime is constitutional, and involves treating a breath alcohol concentration test as a “search incident to arrest” and therefore a search that is unprotected by the 4th Amendment.

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12-15-2015: As we were researching.Caroline Rice’s case, we came across some corrections that need to be made. Jo-Anne Young, identified as a member of the jury, was Caroline’s father’s physician and not Brent Rice’s father’s physician as indicated  on the Carver Co. blog. Ms. Young’s address was also incorrect as her address was St. Paul and not Victoria, MN.

Also, Caroline Rice’s parents were present and names were listed as witnesses.


One of the issues with blogging is that when you pump out new content, old content gets pushed aside. The Carver County Corruption blog writers have devoted hundreds of hours to exposing corruption in the MN courts. Information from this site provides not only a historical perspective, but content is still relevant today as we continue to fight this battle.

Below is a post regarding one of the many ways to rig a case.

Carver County Corruption

State vs. Caroline Rice, Jury Members | Carver County Corruption

Posted on February 7, 2012

Some of you may recall the trial of State vs. Caroline Rice held a week prior to Christmas 2011. The shocking jury verdict post was the highest hitting post in the history of the CCC blog.  State vs. Caroline Rice jury verdict  

Some of you may recall during the first days of the trial judge Richard Perkins dismissed the entire first jury. Dismissing a jury is something rarely (if ever) heard of. This was a very bizarre move on the part of judge Richard Perkins. State vs. Caroline Rice, Trial day #2 – dismissal of jury 

During the trial many of the Rice children testified to the horror of physical abuse in their home by their father, Brent Rice. Many of the children also spoke about the pain of losing their mother for many years – for reasons unknown. A few of the Rice children were heard after their testimony stating how embarrassing witnessing was due to the fact they recognized a few of the jury members while they were on the stand giving their testimony. This sparked an investigation into many of the members on the jury.

Four jury members were found to have children who went to the same school as the Rice children. T Rice and L Rice ran in track and other sports with the jury members` kids. This of course humiliated the Rice children as they testified during trial, since they recognized some of the jury members.

Members of the jury were asked questions as to their affiliation with Brent Rice, Caroline Rice, and the Rice children prior to sitting on the jury for over a week… they were asked if they had children that went to the same school as the Rice children, if they worked for or knew Brent Rice or Caroline Rice, if they worked for the county… etc. This is, of course, a very serious crime to lie during jury duty: an aggravated felony.

Member of the jury:

  • Cara Weinzierl: Her daughter attended Holy Family Catholic High School. The same school L and T Rice attended. Her daughter was on the same cross country running team as Rice kids. Weinzierl daughter is the same age as T Rice. Cara Weinzierl lied to stay on the jury claiming she did not have kids that attended Holy Family Catholic School. Cara`s daughter, B Weinzierl, went to prom with T Rice, Caroline Rice`s oldest son.


Member of jury:

Jo-Anne Young – MED – DOM – Infect Diseases International Med, University of Minnesota

Young was seen smirking at Caroline Rice during reading of the verdict – while Caroline was cuffed and taken away.

Member of the jury
  • Paul Cluff: His daughter is the same age as L Rice. They attended Waconia High School at the same time. His daughter is also Facebook friends with K Rice. Paul`s daughter was on the same track and field team as L Rice. Paul also lied when questioned about where his children attended school.
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