County Criminal Court:  CRIMINAL PROCEDURE --- Jurisdiction --- Mutual Aid Agreement did not authorize officer outside his jurisdiction to stop a driver.  Mutual Aid Agreement required both personal jurisdiction over the driver and probable cause to make a traffic stop.  Trial court’s order granting motion to suppress evidence affirmed. State v. Medford, No. CRC 07-47 APANO ( Fla. 6th Cir.App.Ct. June 12, 2008).

 

 

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

 

 

STATE OF FLORIDA

 

            Appellant,

                                                                              Appeal No. CRC 07-47 APANO

                                                                              UCN522007AP000047XXXXCR

v.

 

DAVID MEDFORD

 

            Appellee.

__________________________/

 

 

Opinion filed _________________.

 

Appeal from an order entered

by the Pinellas County Court

County Judge John Carassas

 

Carolyn Moomaw, Esquire

Assistant State Attorney

 

Curtis M. Crider, Esquire

Attorney for appellee

 

ORDER AND OPINION

 

 

            (J. Demers)

            THIS MATTER is before the Court on the State’s appeal from an order entered by the Pinellas County Court granting the defendant’s motion to suppress. After reviewing the briefs and record, this Court affirms the decision of the trial court.

             A Largo police officer was on a meal break eating at a restaurant when the manager came up to him and told him that someone (the defendant) was getting into a vehicle and that he appeared intoxicated. The manager pointed out the vehicle to the officer, and the officer followed the defendant for a short time, but did not see any traffic violations. He made contact with the defendant when the defendant pulled into a driveway and detained him. The defendant showed signs of impairment, and was ultimately arrested for DUI. He filed a motion to suppress, and the trial court granted it. The State is appealing that decision.

            The trial court granted the motion to suppress because at virtually all times during this incident, the Largo officer was outside his jurisdiction. He was eating outside his jurisdiction at the time he was approached and made the stop outside his jurisdiction. In fact, with the exception of possibly one intersection, the defendant was never within the jurisdiction of Largo or even on a road contiguous to Largo.

            The State claims the Mutual Aid Agreement that Largo had with Belleair Bluffs allows police officers in those cities to enforce the traffic laws and to take such action as necessary and appropriate to protect the health and safety of the public when a violation occurs on a contiguous way. The State argues that because a portion of the driving occurred on a contiguous way, the police officer who detained the defendant was within the scope of the Mutual Aid Agreement; therefore, the State concludes, the arrest was proper.       

            The intent of the agreement, however, is that a stop is authorized when an officer, while in his jurisdiction, observes a traffic offense on a contiguous roadway. It is not the intent of the agreement that an officer can assume policing duties outside his jurisdiction, and properly stop a citizen who has the misfortune to drive onto a road contiguous to the officer’s city. This Court agrees with the trial court that the Mutual Aid Agreement is not applicable under the facts of this case.

            Moreover, the agreement requires probable cause, and not just a reasonable suspicion. The Agreement states that when an officer “observes a traffic infraction occurring on a contiguous way, such officer may take appropriate action to enforce the traffic laws of the state and issue any and all necessary citations, notice to appear or to effect arrests; … .” Clearly, that does not authorize a stop based upon reasonable suspicion --- it requires probable cause. And probable cause in this case was not developed until after the stop.

            IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that this Court affirms the decision of the trial court.

 

            DONE AND ORDERED in Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida this _____ day of June, 2008.

 

____________________________                            __________________________

            Joseph A. Bulone                                                         David A. Demers

            Circuit Court Judge                                                       Circuit Court Judge

 

 

                                    ___________________________

                                                Cynthia J. Newton

                                                Circuit Court Judge

 

 

 

cc:        Office of the State Attorney

 

            Honorable John Carassas

 

            Curtis M. Crider, Esquire