For the first time in Major League Baseball history a player testing positive for performance enhancing drugs has had his suspension overturned. It was learned on February 23, 2012 National League Most Valuable Player and former Miami Hurricane star, Ryan Braun enjoyed such news. It appears Braun’s attorney did not argue against the positive test at an arbitration hearing, but rather contested the procedure used in transferring urine sample from the urine drop spot, to a testing lab elsewhere. From what I understand, Braun dropped the urine sample, gave the same to an individual who was to immediately take the sample to a FedEx shipping facility for shipment to a testing lab. The individual responsible for shipment thought FedEx would be closed as it was late on a Saturday when the sample was dropped and thus stored it in his home until the following Monday. Because Major League Baseball (much like the US Attorney or State Attorney) carries the burden to both prove performance enhancing drugs were used by Braun, AND that correct procedure was used in obtaining the dirty urine sample, they failed on proving up a procedurally correct test. Essentially Braun’s lawyer showed a scintilla of a doubt that the sample was obtained correctly and thus the arbitrator in this case overturned Braun’s suspension.
So, with all that being said, there is nothing to say that Braun was innocent of using performance enhancing drugs, but rather his attorney was good enough to find a procedural error and hold Major League Baseball’s feet to the fire. Braun’s situation runs very parallel to an individuals 4th Amendment right to be free illegal search and seizure. Just as a Police agency can’t barge into your home without a warrant or exigent circumstances to make an arrest, procedure must be followed in Braun’s case. For example, lets say person A accuses person B of stealing their watch. Person B does not flee from where the watch was alleged to have been but simply goes to his home as if in the regular course of his day. After person A makes a report, the police go to person B’s home. At this point the police may not simply barge in and arrest person B. They either must have a search warrant, arrest warrant, or exigent circumstances must exist to go into person B’s home. If they did barge into person B’s home, make an arrest, and retrieve the watch, that search was likely performed illegally and thus all evidence obtained as a result of the tainted search must be inadmissible. This doctrine is called “fruit of the poisonous tree” and stands for the principle that the State cannot reap the benefit of evidence obtained in violation of an individual’s constitutional rights.
Granted, Braun does not enjoy a constitutional right to be free of illegal search and seizure with respect to Major League Baseball and its rules for their players. However, it is clear by the rules of procedure for Major League Baseball’s testing that a player does enjoys the opportunity for due process. Whether you now hate Braun or love him, if proper procedure is not used, the result of that impropriety must be extinguished. As American’s if we give up the rights our forefathers gave their lives to give to us, we are doing all who have fought for those rights a disservice and dooming ourselves to invasion by our own government. Don’t snub your nose to situations like this no matter what the arena as what you profess to be a loophole is in reality, a right.
If you believe your constitutional rights have been violated contact the attorneys at The Mayberry Law Firm today. We’re here for you. 727-771-3847.