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Dean Moran Wins Landmark Case

October 16, 2007

DETROIT (Oct. 16, 2007) – Wayne State University Law School Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Law David A. Moran recently won a landmark Fourth Amendment case he’d been litigating, along with co-counsel, for seven years.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed the case, Platte v. Thomas Township, to challenge a 1998 Michigan statute that gave the police the authority to order pedestrians under 21 years of age to take breathalyzer tests to determine whether they had been engaged in underage drinking.  "I first became aware of this statute in 2000, and I just about fell out of my chair when I read it," Moran said.  "No other state had a law like this.  The law was written to eliminate the constitutional requirement that the police need warrants to perform forced chemical testing on people to gather evidence of crime, except in emergencies." 

On Sept. 26, 2007, Federal District Judge David M. Lawson accepted the arguments of Dean Moran and his co-counsel and struck down the Michigan law.  The State has not yet indicated whether it will appeal Judge Lawson's ruling.

"Judge Lawson's ruling was a big victory for the constitutional rights of young people.  Under this law, the police in some college towns were busting up fraternity and sorority parties and forcing everyone present to blow into a breathalyzer.  The ruling reaffirms the principle that we all have the right not to be subjected to intrusive chemical tests unless a judge orders it," said the eight-time “Teacher of the Year.”

Dean Moran has served as associate dean of the Law School since January 2006. He has been a full-time member of the Law School’s faculty since 2000 and was an adjunct professor for six years before that. His area of specialty is criminal law and procedure, and he regularly teaches classes in Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Evidence.

A native of Oklahoma, Dean Moran holds undergraduate and several advanced degrees in physics and mathematics, and he graduated magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School. Prior to joining the Law School, Dean Moran served as a law clerk for the Hon. Ralph B. Guy, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and was an Assistant Defender with the State Appellate Defender Office in Detroit from 1992-2000.

Dean Moran has argued four cases before the United States Supreme Court since joining the faculty. He also has testified on several legislative matters before the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee and he helped to draft legislation that allowed for DNA testing of inmates who claimed to be innocent.

His scholarly work has appeared in several leading law review publications, including “In Defense of the Corpus Delicti Rule,” 64 Ohio St. L. J. 817 (2003) and he is co-author of the forthcoming The New Wigmore (with Richard D. Friedman), a two-volume evidence treatise. Additionally, Dean Moran is on the board of directors of the Michigan Innocence Project and has been active with the Executive Committee of the Institute for Continuing Legal Education and the State Bar of Michigan’s Legal and Professional Standards Committee.

Wayne State University Law School has served Michigan and beyond since its inception as Detroit City Law School in 1927. Located in Detroit’s re-energized historic cultural center, the Law School remains committed to student success and features modern lecture and court facilities, multi-media classrooms, a 250-seat auditorium, and the Arthur Neef Law Library, which houses one of the nation's 30 largest legal collections. Taught by an internationally recognized faculty, Wayne State Law School students experience a high-quality legal education via a growing array of hands-on curricular offerings, five live-client clinics, and access to well over 100 internships with local and non-profit entities each year. Its 11,000 living alumni, who work in every state of the nation and more than a dozen foreign countries, include leading members of the local, national and international legal communities. For more information, visit www.law.wayne.edu.

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