Libertarians to Protest DUI Checkpoints Tonight

The Valley Forge Revolutionaries will protest the scheduled July 6 police sobriety checkpoints near Abington Memorial Hospital.


Motorists heading along Route 611 tonight may encounter two things:

  • A police sobriety checkpoint
  • Protestors holding up signs to go the other way.

These protestors are part of a grass-roots organization, calling themselves the Valley Forge Revolutionaries.

“What we do is activism,” Darren Wolfe, spokesperson for the Valley Forge Revolutionaries, said. “No one has the right to initiate force on anyone else, and we believe on consistently applying that.”

The group, founded in 2007, describes its police checkpoint protests as “checkpoint nullification” events.

The scheduled July 6 checkpoint nullification will take place near on Old York Road; it comes off the heels of the group’s first such event on June 15, near the turnpike interchange at Willow Grove.

During the event, approximately 10 members of the Valley Forge Revolutionaries stood on the sidewalks, a few blocks away from the checkpoint.

According to Wolfe, nearly double the amount of protestors are expected to join the July 6 checkpoint nullification.

At the first protest, the Valley Forge Revolutionaries waved homemade signs with reflective lettering, some of which read, “Cops Ahead Exit Now” or “Big Bro is Watching.” The protestors also vocally warned approaching motorists of the DUI checkpoint.

Wolfe, who runs a blog called, “The International Libertarian,” recorded the event with photographs and a video [see above media gallery].

During the video, it is apparent that the checkpoint nullification efforts had several instances of success in turning motorists around.


Warrantless and Arbitrary

According to Wolfe, the checkpoint nullification events are conducted to protect citizens' Fourth Amendment right, which, in part, guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. He explained that the DUI checkpoints are warrantless and arbitrary, and that such law enforcement activity goes against behavior of a free society.

“Every year, thousands of innocent victims fall prey to these heavily-armed gangs bent on lawless actions,” James Babb, founder of the Valley Forge Revolutionaries, said in a press release. “As a service to the community, the Valley Forge Revolutionaries will be volunteering on Friday to help prevent innocent citizens from being victimized.“

Babb is the co-founder and chairperson for the Montgomery County Libertarian Committee, and ran in 2004 and 2006 for state representative in legislative district 157 as the Libertarian candidate.

According to a New York Times article, in 1990, the Supreme Court of the United States did rule that such sobriety checkpoints do not violate constitutional rights, specifically addressing the preliminary questioning and observation by checkpoint officers.

However, Babb said that checkpoints are both ineffectual and fiscally irresponsible.

“Traditional police patrols are far more likely to locate genuinely impaired drivers than these suspiciousness checkpoints,” Babb said in the release. “So, not only are these checkpoints blatantly immoral and illegal, they’re also a waste of police time and tax dollars.”


Preventive Measure for Public Safety

During the video of the June 15 protest, Valley Forge Revolutionaries members did interact with Upper Moreland police. Although, it was apparent that such interactions were at times confrontational, the event ended without any protestors being arrested.

A note on The International Libertarian blog thanked protestors for exercising discipline and level-headedness during the event.

Local law-enforcement officials had equal sentiments.

“I felt that the officers did very well in ensuring that the people have a right to lawfully protest,” Thomas Nestel, Upper Moreland Police chief, said.

According to Nestel, the protestors have the legal right to assemble so long as they remained on the sidewalks. However, Nestel expressed confusion as to why sobriety checkpoints would be protested, if not to prevent motorists under the influence from being caught.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I never seen protestors at a DUI checkpoint,” Nestel said, adding that he does not find the protests as negative publicity for police. “I think it’s great for people to see what the police have to deal with.”

According to Nestel, sobriety checkpoints are helpful to law enforcement.

“It becomes a great word-of-mouth warning for those thinking of driving drunk,” Nestel said. “It’s a preventative measure for public safety.”


According to the Valley Forge Revolutionaries Facebook page, the group will gather at the parking lot for the July 6 checkpoint nullification event.

The protest is expected to take place from 9:30 p.m. – 2 a.m. near along Route 611. 

Marc Lombardi July 08, 2012 at 04:28 AM
You want privacy? Stay in your own home. The moment you go out onto the road in your car, obeying the laws of the road trump your privacy. It's the same reason that dark tinted windows are illegal if they prevent visibility. I understand that you THINK you're protecting our liberty, but you're not. You're pointlessly protesting something that has been deemed constitutional and found to save lives. That's factual and statistical. And what is you're argument against it? A whole bunch of "ifs" and unfounded possibilities. It the same sort of idea that people have who think that allowing gay marriage will lead to people being allowed to marry dogs or toasters. The police can see whether you are visibly driving without a seat belt on, or with items blocking your winshield. This is not the path to a dictatorship any more than your reasoning is a path to paranoia. DUI checkpoints are not Big Brother Watching. They are ways for the police to get drunk drivers off of the streets and into jail. That's good enough for me.
Darren Wolfe July 08, 2012 at 10:52 AM
Dee Marie, I'm sorry for your loss. You might note that we don't have any signs encouraging drinking & driving. We're against the checkpoints not making the roads safe. Also I've gotten support from others who've lost loved ones to drunk drivers yet still see the evil of checkpoints. Everyone - What gets lost in all of this is the link between privacy & liberty. Before a govt can do anything to the people it has to know what they're doing & have access to them. Checkpoints & other suspicionless, warrantless searches do this, that's why dictatorships have them. While well meaning, perhaps, the advocates of this kind of policing are handing the govt the tools it needs to become a dictatorship. You may trust them with such powers but realize that this is the road to tyranny: “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning, but without understanding.” -- Judge Louis D. Brandeis
Marc Lombardi July 09, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Do you have a Sam's Club or BJ's membership? If so, how do you react to the warrantless searches the employees do when leaving the store when they ask for your receipt & check your cart? A DUI checkpoint is not a stepping stone towards communism. And even if I can't convince you of this, what sort of timetable do you think they are using? I mean, it was 1990 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided they were legal. Even if you count from that point forward there has been no change in 22 years towards checkpoints of a more drastic nature. There haven't been marijuana checkpoints...illegal alien checkpoints... What kind of infringements are you thinking are SUDDENLY going to take place when they haven't progressed to anything more in over two decades? This is nothing more than another fringe political group rallying around a "sky is falling" scare tactic that preys upon people's inane fears of losing civil liberties when all these officers are doing is upholding the law & keeping the streets safe.
Darren Wolfe July 09, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Marc by the numbers 1. The Constitution & the warrants it calls for apply to the govt not private citizens & companies. 2 They arrest people for drugs at checkpoints, DUI isn't only about alcohol. 3 News flash - they do immigration checkpoints near the border. I don't know what rock you live under that you don't know this. 4 In the last decade we have much more surveillance & loss of liberty, haven't you heard the controversy about the Patriot Act & NDAA? National security letters? Haven't you heard about the drones being used domestically? Are you unaware of the TSA enhanced pat down scandals? Keep hiding your head in the sand & enabling the destruction of our liberties.
Marc Lombardi July 09, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Darren: 1. So I guess that means you stop for the Sam's Club folks with no problems? I thought so. No infringements of your civil liberties there, right? And why is that exactly. 2. As well they should. If you have illegal drugs out in the open and you are operating a motor vehicle, or you are high while driving, you deserve to be arrested. It's called breaking the law. That's what they do to people. 3. Near the border, yes, where immigration MUST be checked. This is no different than checking ID before getting onto a plane. That is not a violation of your rights -- it's a safety measure. A border checkpoint is NOT something that was borne out of police sobriety checkpoints. 4. The PATRIOT Act was an overreaction by the politicians after 9/11. TSA patdowns are only scandalous on the rare occasion when 3-year-old or someone's elderly white grandmother is patted down. How many shoe bombings have taken place after 9/11? None? Hmmm.... I'll take the patdowns then. Keep overreacting to common sense policy and using fear and paranoia to help criminals get away with breaking the law.


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