COURT WATCH: Yolo Judge Denies Motion to Suppress in DUI Case, Rules Officer Acted Reasonably, Didn’t Violate Accused’s Rights

By Lily Rusk and Bryan Miller

WOODLAND, CA – Yolo County Superior Court Judge David Rosenberg Tuesday denied a motion to suppress evidence in a misdemeanor driving under the influence (DUI) case, finding the investigating officer was acting in a reasonable manner.

The incident occurred in a rural area in Yolo County, with agricultural fields and several houses along the roads. A google image of the landscape was presented in court to form a picture of the area for Judge Rosenberg

The sequence of events began with a driving pattern, which a witness reported to 911 and later to Deputy Kyle Simmons of the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office. When reporting, the witness said the car would repeatedly start and stop along the road.

This witness speculated in the conversation with the deputy that it might be indicative of criminal activity, possibly a robbery in progress. According to the witness, there had been robberies in the area around the time of the incident. Responding to the call, the deputy, after speaking to the witness, arrived at the scene of the car approximately 30-40 minutes later to investigate further.

Deputy Simmons detained the accused in order to further investigate. During this investigation he said he administered a breathalyzer test, revealing a blood alcohol content of 2.24, which is above the legal limit.

However, defense attorney Erica Auer moved to suppress the evidence of the blood alcohol level, arguing the initial stop lacked reasonable suspicion, thereby violating the driver’s Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Deputy District Attorney Fritz Van Der Hoek argued the responding deputy acted in a reasonable manner, insisting it would be reasonable for any officer to be suspicious in the scenario because of what had been reported of the odd driving behavior of the accused in a dark rural area.

DDA Van Der Hoek also claimed it is the deputy’s duty to investigate manners that he finds suspicious, arguing this was a case of suspicious activity that warranted the deputy to take a closer look at.

Defense Attorney Auer maintained the accused was not doing anything illegal when deputies made contact with him and that they were acting on a “hunch” that illegal activity was taking place by a reported witness, adding the accused was doing nothing but sitting in his car on the side of the road and that police had not seen the erratic driving pattern that was reported.

According to Auer there was not even a justifiable reason for a welfare check by the deputy in the situation. However, the deputy claimed that this was due to the reported driving pattern being a possible outcome of a medical emergency.

Despite arguments from the defense, Judge Rosenberg ultimately ruled against the motion to suppress, upholding the validity of the stop.

About The Author

Lily Rusk is a first-year student at the University of California, Davis majoring in Philosophy with a Pre-Law focus. She hopes to go to law school and pursue a career in Criminal Defense. In her free time, Lily loves to read and listen to music.

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