Davis DUI Case Motion to Suppress Heard

YoloCourt-5By Samantha Brill

Drew Evan Frey was cited on April 2, 2016, for a traffic violation, pursuant to Vehicle Code section 22450, for failure to stop at a stop sign in Davis, then was taken into custody on a DUI charge. After posting bail, Mr. Frey on June 22 entered a plea of not guilty for his traffic violation. This hearing on October 4 was regarding a defense motion to suppress evidence, pursuant to Penal Code section 1538.5.

The defense opened up with motioning for the court to suppress Exhibit A, a police car video of Mr. Frey going through a four-way stop sign at a speed that the People say would demonstrate that the defendant did not stop at the stop sign prior to entering the intersection.

The People called Officer Ariel Pinedo to the stand as a key witness, as he was the officer who pulled Mr. Frey over. Officer Pinedo testified that he did not witness Mr. Frey actually run the stop sign. However, according to his professional experience and training, he said that the speed at which he witnessed the defendant’s car going through the intersection was too fast to have just previously been stopped before entering the intersection.

Then, because of Mr. Frey’s speed, after the officer turned on his lights to indicate to the defendant to pull over, the defendant was unable to park into the parking spot evenly and within the white lines.

Defense attorney John Campanella cross-examined the witness by asking Officer Pinedo to confirm that he pulled Mr. Frey over for a stop sign violation and not a speeding violation, even though Officer Pinedo did not witness the defendant’s alleged running of the stop sign. Officer Pinedo went on to explain that he did not use radar nor has he been specifically trained in visual speed estimation. And, solely based on previous experience, he inferred that Mr. Frey did not stop at the stop sign on April 2 at 3:45am.

The judge then took a brief break to go into his chambers to view the police car videotape of that night.

After reviewing the tape no less than five times and going through it frame by frame, he returned from his chambers and asked the People to continue with their redirect examination of the witness.

The People gave Officer Pinedo the opportunity to clarify anything he needed to about that video and he stated that the car may seem, on the video, to be going slower that it was in real time.

The People then made their argument to the court that an experienced officer such as Officer Pinedo can make experienced assumptions with an experienced eye.

Mr. Campanella, for the defense, made his argument that, because there is no explicit evidence of Mr. Frey running the stop sign, the video and the officer’s testimony should be insufficient evidence.

The court took both arguments into consideration, and concluded that, because the car appears to be going at the same speed throughout the intersection, without obvious acceleration, it would be reasonable to assume that he had not stopped at the stop sign. Therefore, the motion to suppress was denied.

The case will next be heard January 17, 2107, at 9:00am in Department 7

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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