Drunk-driving tests. The Supreme Court left intact yesterday a lower court ruling limiting police authority to use physical force to get a blood sample from a drunk-driving suspect who resists. A federal appeals court, in a Newport Beach, Calif., case, ruled that any time police use more than "reasonable" force on a suspect who is not cooperating, they have violated the suspect's privacy rights. The lower court abandoned an earlier standard allowing police to use any method short of one that "shocks the conscience" to get blood samples from suspects. In the California case, several police held down a man while a hospital staff member inserted a needle and took a blood sample. The man sued and won $2,500 in damages from the city. The case was Newport Beach vs. Hammer (No. 91-270).
Libel lawsuit. The court also refused to review a California state court ruling that a Japanese publisher of Focus, a magazine that specializes in sensational stories, may be sued for libel in California for a story critical of a Japanese man living in the state temporarily, when the publisher's only contact with California was the sale there, by others, of 40 copies of the magazine. Shinchosha vs. Superior Court (No. 91-478).