Friday, October 12, 2007

Councilwoman's California DU Motion to Suppress Denied

Attorney Drunk Driving California - news

EVIDENCE STAYS IN COUNCILWOMAN'S DUI CASE

A Sonoma County Superior Court Judge denied a bid by Sebastopol Councilwoman Linda Kelley today to suppress evidence in her California DUI case.

Judge Frank Passalacqua ruled Sonoma County Sheriff's Deputy Matthew Regan had a lawful reason to stop Kelley's 1998 GMC pickup in Guerneville on May 20 because he believed the registration might have expired the month before.

The traffic stop led to Kelley's arrest after a California Highway Patrol officer also responded and arrested Kelley on suspicion of California DUI. Her blood-alcohol level during two breath analysis tests at the county jail was 0.09 percent, just above the 0.08 percent level of intoxication.

Kelley's attorney Andy Martinez asked the judge to suppress the California DUI evidence because there was no probable cause to stop Kelley's truck.

Regan testified this morning that he followed Kelley's truck because she was driving very slowly through Guerneville around 2:15 a.m. and that after he stopped her she displayed "classic signs of DUI" including red watery eyes and slow deliberate speech. He said Kelley admitted she had three vodka and cranberry drinks.

Regan said that before he stopped Kelley's truck it appeared the registration tag on her license plate had expired but he said he did not check to see if it had expired because he is not required to. He also said the license plate was obscured.

Heather Bushey, the responding CHP officer, testified that Regan told her he stopped the truck because Kelley was driving about 10 mph in a 25 mph area and that it appeared her registration had expired.

Bushey said she then confirmed on a computer that the registration was valid. Kelley was arrested after Regan and Bushey allegedly smelled alcohol on her breath. Kelley did not perform California drunk driving field sobriety tests.

Kelley testified she was driving slowly for safety reasons because people were getting out of bars and walking in the area and there were cars parked along the streets. She said her valid registration tag was on her license plate.

Passalacqua disagreed. "I don't think the sticker was on that plate," he said before denying the motion to suppress the evidence and ruling the traffic stop was lawful.

Kelley, 53, will appear in court Nov. 14 for a settlement conference.