IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
OF THE STATE OF
v. Appeal No. CRC 04-42 APANO
Opinion filed __________________.
Appeal from a judgment and sentence
entered by the Pinellas County Court
County Judge Paul Levine, Esq.
Curtis Crider, Esq.
Attorney for appellant
C. Marie King, Esq.
Assistant State Attorney
ORDER AND OPINION
THIS MATTER is
before the Court on the defendant, Deborah Hampton’s, appeal from a judgment
and sentence entered by the
A trial court’s determination of reasonable
suspicion to conduct an investigatory stop or detention is subject to de
novo review. Ornelas v.
The defendant claims that the police should not have stopped her because there was insufficient evidence of bad driving. After reviewing the videotape of the driving that preceded the stop, this Court agrees.
A review of the videotape does not support the deputy’s testimony that the defendant’s driving was erratic or consistent with someone who was DUI. The trial court was not persuaded by some of the deputy’s testimony either, finding there was no weaving. The trial court was, however, persuaded that the defendant made one wide turn and “kind of overreacted a little bit and snapped the wheel back”; and that this conduct was sufficient to justify a stop.
The videotape does not, however, support the trial court’s apparent finding that the defendant’s correcting action coming out of the wide turn was sudden or erratic. The videotape only showed the defendant taking a somewhat wide turn, not affecting traffic, and quickly (but not abruptly) correcting herself. There was no sudden, violent correcting motion that might have been sufficient to justify the stop. The improper driving alleged by the State amounted to one slightly wide turn that was smoothly corrected. This was insufficient to justify the stop. Therefore, the defendant’s motion to suppress should have been granted.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the judgment and sentence are reversed, and this case is remanded to the trial court for action consistent with this Order and Opinion.
AND ORDERED in Chambers at
David A. Demers
Robert J. Morris, Jr.
Irene S. Sullivan
cc: State Attorney
Curtis Crider, Esq.