County Criminal Court: CRIMINAL LAW Ė DUI ĖPolice did not fail to comply with their own written guidelines for roadblock. Judgment and sentence affirmed. Scrivenerís error not sufficient to negate roadblock. Ralston v. State, No. CRC 06-43 APANO (Fla. 6th Cir. App. Ct. October 12, 2007).

 

 

NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES FOR REHEARING

AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED

 

 

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY

 

 

RODNEY JOEL RALSTON

 

††††††††††† Appellant,

 

v.                                                                                                                                           Appeal No. CRC 06-43 APANO

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††† UCN522006AP000043XXXXCR

STATE OF FLORIDA

 

††††††††††† Appellee.

______________________________/

 

 

Opinion filed ____________________.

 

Appeal from a decision of the

Pinellas County Court

County Judge John D. Carballo

 

J. Kevin Hayslett, Esquire

Attorney for appellant

 

Carolyn Moomaw, Esquire

Assistant State Attorney

 

ORDER AND OPINION

 

††††††††††† (J. Demers)

 

††††††††††† THIS MATTER is before the Court on the defendant, Rodney Ralstonís, appeal

from a judgment and sentence entered by the Pinellas County Court. The defendant

pleaded no contest to DUI charges, reserving his right to appeal the trial courtís denial of

his motion to suppress. After reviewing the briefs and record, this Court affirms the judgment and sentence.

††††††††††† This appeal involves the same DUI roadblock that was at issue in Schreiber v.

State, No. CRC 06-56 APANO, (Fla. 6th Cir.App. Ct. Oct. 13, 2007). In fact, the same

attorney represented both the appellant in Schreiber and this appellant in the case at bar.

The defendant was stopped at the roadblock, showed signs of impairment, and was

ultimately arrested for DUI.

††††††††††† The defendant raises two issues that are identical to those issues raised in

Schreiber. Specifically, that the roadblock was improper because the police did not keep

a written log of which vehicles were stopped or when they were stopped. As noted in

Schreiber, there is nothing in either the case law or the written plan of the police that

requires the police to do this. And, as in Schreiber, there is sufficient testimony in the

record to establish that the actual procedure used to stop traffic at the roadblock was in

substantial compliance with the written plan.

††††††††††† The second issue raised by the defendant that was also raised in Schreiber is the argument that the roadblock was improper because there was no showing that this

roadblock was more effective in combating crime than less intrusive means. As explained in Schreiber, this argument is not persuasive. See Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444, 453-54 (1990).

††††††††††† The defendant claims the stop was improper because it was inconsistent with the

date authorized in the written plan governing this particular roadblock. Although the

defendant argues that the police made the stop at a different time (3:45 A.M. on June 26, 2004) than authorized in the written plan, the sole basis for this argument is a single scrivenerís error in the written plan. Read as a whole, the plan clearly states when the roadblocks were to have taken place. On the cover/tile page it states that the roadblocks were to take place on Friday, June 25, 2004 from 2030 hours to 2330 hours, and on Saturday, June 26, 2004 from 0100 to 0400 hours. The written plan then states the roadblocks will begin on Friday, June 25, 2004 and end on Saturday, June 26, 2004. The plan goes on to state that the first roadblock is scheduled from 2030 hours until 2330 hours on Friday, June 25, 2004. It then says the second roadblock will be in operation form 0100 hours until 0400 hours on Saturday, June 25, 2004. This bold faced scrivenerís error misstates the Saturday date as the 25th instead of the26th. This is the sole basis for the defendantís assertion that the police conducted the roadblock on a different date from that authorized in the written plan. The argument is unpersuasive.

††††††††††† Finally, the defendant claims there was insufficient evidence to justify the DUI investigation. A review of the record, however, refutes this argument. The testimony was the defendant had an odor of alcohol on his breath, his eyes were bloodshot and watery, and his speech was slurred. In addition, he had unsure dexterity. This was ample evidence

to justify a DUI investigation. The defendantís motion to suppress was properly denied.

††††††††††† IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the judgment and sentence is affirmed.

††††††††††† DONE AND ORDERED in Clearwater, Pinellas County, this ____ day of

October, 2007.

 

___________________________††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† __________________________

†††††††††† David A. Demers†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Raymond O. Gross

††††††††† Circuit Court Judge†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Circuit Court Judge

 

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ____________________

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††† Robert J. Morris, Jr.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††† Circuit Court Judge

cc:††††††† Office of the State Attorney

††††††††††† Honorable John D. Carballo

††††††††††† J. Kevin Hayslett, Esquire