County Criminal Court: CRIMINAL LAW – Search and Seizure – Stop – deputy testified that he
pulled over appellant for failure to maintain a lane-deputy acknowledged that the sole basis for the stop was
his perception that appellant violated the statute- no testimony at all elicited
at the hearing that the deputy effectuated the stop for a reason other than his
perception that appellant violated the statute. Order of trial court reversed. Leyland v. State, No.
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
OF THE STATE OF
JEFFREY JOHN LEYLAND,
v. Case No: 0506090CFAES
Wm. Newt Hudson, Esq.,
Devin Jones, A.S.A.,
ORDER AND OPINION
THIS MATTER is before the Court on JEFFREY LEYLAND’S appeal of the trial court's order denying his Motion to Suppress. After reviewing the briefs and record, this Court reverses the trial court’s decision.
Appellant was stopped and issued a traffic citation for an alleged violation of 316.089, entitled “Driving on Roadways Laned for Traffic.” Appellant was thereafter arrested and charged with a violation of 316.193 on April 21, 2005 and issued a Florida DUI Uniform Traffic Citation. At the motion to suppress, Deputy Hentschel testified that he was on duty April 21, 2005, when he pulled over appellant for failure to maintain a lane. He explained that the car was weaving in the center lane. He defined weaving as ‘he was maintaining a lane but bouncing from line to line.’
The state asked “[a]t any point were you concerned that something might be going on with the defendant’s vehicle, whether it be medical or –“ and the deputy replied “[o]h, definitely. The way he was driving, yes, sir.” The officer testified that he pulled the appellant over based on his driving actions and stated “[j]ust concerned for the safety of the public.”
During cross examination, the deputy testified that he did not pull the appellant over ‘just to check him out’ but pulled him over because of his belief that he violated the statute. He acknowledged that the sole basis for the stop was his perception that appellant violated the statute.
On redirect, the deputy was asked if he pulled the appellant over because he believed he might be in some type of medical trouble, and the deputy replied “[n]ot really. More for the safety of the public.” When asked if he was concerned with appellant’s safety at all, the deputy testified “I was more concerned about the safety of the public. I mean if he kept on continuing down the road, eventually, he was going to come into some traffic.” On re-cross, the deputy again acknowledged that he pulled the appellant over because he thought he had violated the statute; not to ‘check him out.’
After all of the evidence, the trial court specifically found that there was not a violation of the failure to maintain a single lane. However, the court then directed the parties to research whether “objectively, the officer had a basis to stop the [appellant]. The fact that he didn’t articulate it very well is the issue.” The parties later submitted memorandum and the trial court entered an order Denying the Motion to Suppress on September 28, 2005. Thereafter, the appellant filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was denied. Appellant then entered a plea of Nolo Contendere specifically reserving his right to appeal.
This Court agrees
that the record supports the trial court’s determination that a violation of
the failure to maintain a single lane did not occur, since the statute requires
evidence that the driving patterns caused a reasonable safety concern. Crooks v. State, 710 So. 2d 1041 (Fla.
2d DCA 1999). Therefore, there must have
been some other legal basis for the stop. As argued by the appellant, “[t]he
validity of a traffic stop is determined by considering whether the officer who
stopped the vehicle had an objective basis to do so, not whether it would be
standard police practice to stop the vehicle.” Dobrin v. DHSMV, 874 So.
2d 1171 (
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the decision of the trial court is REVERSED.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at New Port Richey,
Primary Appellate Judge
Daniel D. Diskey
Copies furnished to:
Honorable Marc H. Salton
William Newt Hudson, Esq.
Devin Jones, Esq. A.S.A.