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Compendium
Superior Court Cases

Issues Regarding Illegal Detention in ALS Cases
 
Harrington v. Beecher, 01-E-100, (Merrimack, Fitzgerald, 5/9/01) AFFIRMED
Officer observed petitioner driving erratically; failed FST's; petitioner claimed that rather than being arrested after he failed his FST's, he was arrested before he ever got out of his car. Court held:"a person is arrested when he is taken into custody for the purpose of making him answer for the commission of a crime. Thus, in determining whether an arrest has taken place, the purpose behind the police officer's action has a proper place in the analysis. However, it simply cannot be the law that the DWI suspect, rather than the investigating officer, is in control of determining when an arrest takes place." (NOTE: Section 10
Christman v. Beecher, 99-E-258, (SD Hillsborough, Brennan, 3/13/00) AFFIRMED
Vehicle stopped because rear driver's side tail light was inoperable; plaintiff claimed that officer exceeded scope of legitimate stop by requesting plaintiff to step out of vehicle and perform FS tests; "… upon making initial contact and asking petitioner for his license and registration, the officer smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle and petitioner's breath. Further, the officer observed that petitioner's eyes were pink and glossy, and petitioner admitted to consuming alcohol earlier that evening. Based upon this information, the Court finds it was not unreasonable for the examiner to conclude that the officer lawfully requested petitioner to perform field sobriety tests", citing State v. Oxley. (NOTE: cross-reference to Section I of issues involving chemical tests)
Olson v. Beecher, 99-E-220, (Merrimack, Manias, 10/6/99) AFFIRMED
Vehicle stopped at entrance to driveway off Route 103, with engine running and headlights on; trooper approached vehicle to ask for directions, as he was responding to complaint in the area and was unfamiliar with address; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed that trooper lacked the necessary suspicion to stop and detain him; court held that "… the facts do not indicate that Trooper Shapiro pulled over to stop or detain the occupants of the vehicle. On the contrary, Shapiro testified at the ALS hearing that he simply pulled over to ask for directions when he saw petitioner's car at the edge of the driveway … Thus, Trooper Shapiro's presence at the edge of the driveway alone does not constitute an illegal investigatory stop. Only after petitioner voluntarily answered Trooper Shapiro's questions, did the trooper observe the tell-tale signs of intoxication. At that point, the trooper was justified in his inquiry as to petitioner's age and alcohol consumption". (NOTE: cross-reference to Section III of grounds for stop)
Hartman v. Beecher, 99-E-240, (Rockingham, Galway, 7/16/99) AFFIRMED
Vehicle stopped for erratic operation; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed that officer had no justification to request field sobriety tests; court held that "… the scope of the search was tailored to its underlying justification. Upon stopping the vehicle, Officer Newcomb observed that petitioner had very red eyes, admitted to have been drinking earlier in the evening, and detected the smell of alcohol emanating from the vehicle. Thus, it was reasonable for Officer Newcomb, in order to confirm or dispel his belief that petitioner was driving while intoxicated, to request that petitioner perform a field sobriety test". (NOTE: cross-reference to Section II of grounds for stop)
Kobernick v. Beecher, 99-E-45, (Rockingham, Galway, 6/17/99) AFFIRMED
Conservation officer observed plaintiff in parking lot of store who appeared intoxicated; approached plaintiff and asked him if had been drinking; plaintiff responded that he had "enough" to drink; conservation officer told him that he would detain him until Deerfield police officer could check him out; detained 5-10 minutes; arrested for DWI by Deerfield police officer; plaintiff argued that conservation officer did not have legal authority to detain him; court held that although a conservation officer does have the power to enforce the provisions of the motor vehicle code, "… Kenneson did not place Kobernick under arrest for driving under the influence. Rather, he told Kobernick that he could not let him leave and that he was calling the Deerfield police. He expressly detained Kobernick so that a certified law enforcement officer could investigate and determine if Kobernick was fit to drive … Moreover, the Court finds that it would be contrary to public policy to ask a conservation officer, who has the general power to enforce criminal laws in this state, to ignore and not detain a motorist who poses a danger to the public by driving while impaired"; court also determined that detention of plaintiff did not constitute an arrest but a justified detention, citing State v. Maya and State v. Noel.
Purvis v. Beecher, 98-E-115, (Strafford, Nadeau, 2/25/99) AFFIRMED
Vehicle stopped for having a headlight out; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed that officer lacked reasonable articulable suspicion to request field sobriety tests; court held that "… the petitioner (1) fumbled with his door and was unable to lower his window; (2) appeared confused; (3) stated he did not have his license on him, then later produced it; (4) stated that he had been drinking that night; (5) fumbled through his glove compartment looking for his registration; (6) fumbled with his wallet looking for his license; and (7) smelled of alcohol. The court finds that these facts are sufficient to support the hearing examiner's finding that the officer had reasonable articulable suspicion to expand the scope of the stop and require the petitioner to submit to field sobriety tests", distinguishing Ryan v. Beecher, cited below. (NOTE: cross-reference to Section V of refusal and section involving back of ALS form)
Ryan v. Beecher, 98-E-155, (Belknap, Perkins, 1/25/99) REVERSED
Vehicle stopped for throwing lit cigarette out of window; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed that officer lacked reasonable articulable suspicion to request field sobriety tests; court held that "in sum the sole cause for the stop is justified on an odor of alcohol (which is not illegal in the State of New Hampshire) and 'slightly' bloodshot eyes (at approximately 11:15 p.m.). These two matters follow observations by the officer that the plaintiff exhibited no difficulty in the operation of her motor vehicle, no difficulty in responding to his emergency lights, no difficulty in pulling her vehicle to the side of the road appropriately, no difficulty in communicating with the officer and understanding and responding to his requests. With all due respect, these facts just do not support a conclusion that Officer Holly had sufficient articulable suspicion to request the plaintiff to step out of her vehicle and submit to sobriety performance tests".
Lugones v. Beecher, 98-E-30, (Strafford, Nadeau, 5/12/98) AFFIRMED
Vehicle involved in accident; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed that detention was not supported by reasonable suspicion; court held that "having smelled alcohol in the car and determined the owner's identity, Kelley could reasonably infer that the accident was alcohol-related and caused by the vehicle's owner, Victor Lugones. From the observations of the witness, Kelley could have reasonably suspected that Lugones was a black male in bleached jeans and a dark shirt, travelling alone on foot. When the officer saw a subject matching that description in the area of Lugones' residence, he could have reasonably suspected that the individual was the driver who had left the scene of the accident and who may have been intoxicated when he crashed into the guardrail. Accordingly, the Court finds that the stop was based on a reasonable, articulable suspicion that the petitioner had engaged in criminal conduct. Finally, there is no evidence to suggest that the scope and duration of the stop were not reasonably appropriate to confirm the officer's suspicions", citing State v. Riley, State v. McBreairty, State v. Parker, State v. Pellicci and State v. Roach.(NOTE: cross-reference to accident section)
Drake v. Beecher, 97-E-546, (SD Hillsborough, Dalianis, 1/21/98) AFFIRMED
Vehicle stopped for following another vehicle too closely; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed that scope of detention exceeded justification; court held that "upon stopping the petitioner, Forsley detected the odor of alcohol emanating from the petitioner, observed that petitioner's eyes were blood shot, and observed that the petitioner's face was flushed. At this point, Forsley's suspicion shifted from the more general issue of the petitioner's driving habits to the possibility that the petitioner might be driving while intoxicated. Consequently, Forsley requested that the petitioner submit to four field sobriety tests … The Court finds and rules that the hearings examiner's determination that the scope of the detention did not go beyond its underlying justification was neither unjust nor unreasonable". (NOTE: cross-reference to Section I of grounds for stop and Section I of procedural issues involving ALS cases)
Tallent v. Beecher, 97-E-261, (SD Hillsborough, Dalianis, 9/9/97) AFFIRMED
Vehicle failed to stop at flashing red light, causing an accident; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed that detention was not supported by reasonable suspicion; court held that "as Officer Martyny initially detained the plaintiff for the purpose of investigating a traffic accident that resulted from the plaintiff's failure to stop at a flashing red light, the Court finds no basis from which to find that Officer Martyny lacked a reasonable suspicion from which to conclude that the plaintiff had committed a traffic offense", citing State v. Mortrud, State v. Brodeur and State v. Kennison. (NOTE: cross-reference to accident section and Section I of refusal)
Nash v. Beecher, 97-E-157, (Rockingham, Coffey, 7/22/97) AFFIRMED
Vehicle stopped for having one taillight out; plaintiff stepped from vehicle and stumbled, catching himself by leaning on vehicle; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed officer exceeded scope of legitimate stop; court held that "Mr. Nash focuses on his stumble while turning from Officer Mulholland … the court believes that were the stumble not considered by Officer Mulholland, the smell of alcohol and Mr. Nash's apparent confusion would establish a reasonable articulable suspicion to expand the scope of the traffic stop". (NOTE: cross-reference to Section I of grounds for stop and Section II of issues involving chemical tests)
Morette v. Beecher, 97-E-30, (Merrimack, McGuire, 4/18/97) AFFIRMED
Vehicle stopped for backing out of driveway in unsafe manner and squealing tires; plaintiff asked to step from vehicle after officer determined that he was sixteen years old and had been drinking, although plaintiff initially denied doing so; plaintiff claimed that officer exceeded scope of legitimate stop by asking him to step from vehicle; court held that the issue was a question of fact for the Hearings Examiner, who determined that it was a request NOT an order and that "… the record amply supports the examiner's finding and characterization of the officer's request"; court further stated that "even if the officer's request is characterized as an order, the officer did not exceed the permissible boundaries of an investigatory stop", citing Terry v. Ohio.
Mandigo v. Beecher, 96-E-285, (ND Hillsborough, Abramson, 12/18/96) AFFIRMED
Arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed officer exceeded scope of legitimate stop; court held that "the petitioner appears not to have been pulled over, but rather, he appears to have reached wherever he was going. Officer Favreau called for him to come back and he appears to have willingly complied meeting the officer halfway. Thus far, the intrusion is small. At this point, however, Officer Favreau smelled alcohol on the petitioner and noticed that the petitioner's eyes were glassy and bloodshot. These two factors, combined with the informant's information give the officer greater cause to believe that the person had been driving drunk. The suspicion may not yet be at the level of probable cause to arrest, but is sufficient to intrude further into the petitioner's freedom and request that he perform field sobriety tests", citing State v. Landry, State v. Pellicci, State v. Glaude, and State v. Melanson. (NOTE: cross-reference to anonymous complaints section)
O'Connor v. Beecher, 96-E-112, (SD Hillsborough, Hampsey, 8/12/96) AFFIRMED
Vehicle stopped for going through stop sign; detected odor of alcohol; failed FS tests; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed officer exceeded scope of legitimate stop; court held that "… detention was supported by his suspicion that the petitioner may have been operating her automobile while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. Further, he detained the petitioner no longer than was necessary to make a determination that she had been driving while intoxicated", citing State v. Reid and State v. Brodeur.
French v. Turner, 94-E-93, (Merrimack, Mangones, 9/7/94) REVERSED
Fish and Game officer observed vehicle off the road in a secluded rural area; first weekend of hunting season; as officer approached vehicle, observed furtive gestures from occupants and concerned with the potential for loaded firearms, requested they leave vehicle; heard two items fall to the ground and noted that they were two beer cans; gave plaintiff (who was driving) summons for Littering; as he was writing out summons, detected odor of alcohol on plaintiff's breath; detained plaintiff while trooper arrived on scene and took over; arrested for DWI; court held that although initial stop of vehicle was permissible, the continuation of the stop was improper since items fell from passenger side of vehicle thus illegal to issue plaintiff summons for Littering; as a result, would not have detected odor of alcohol. (NOTE: cross- reference to Section IV of grounds for stop)
Carlson v. Turner, 93-E-619, (Merrimack, Manias, 2/8/94) REVERSED
Trooper observed two vehicles on side of road; stopped to assist as he observed one of the subjects pouring gas into one of the vehicles; observed that the trunk lock on one of the vehicles was popped out and he became suspicious; asked for identification and got vague answers (three people in all); thought a drug deal was taking place; handcuffed the three subjects together while he investigated further; eventually released two of the subjects but detained plaintiff because while handcuffing him, he had detected an odor of alcohol and glassy eyes; arrested for DWI; court held that although trooper had enough articulable facts to further investigate, "the nature and scope of his detention of plaintiff was not carefully tailored to the underlying justification for detention"; court stated that "even if the officer did at this stage observe signs that plaintiff had been drinking, it was not reasonable for him to handcuff plaintiff to strangers on the side of the road for 20 to 25 minutes. Suspicion of intoxication did not justify such an intrusion on his personal security", especially since it was the other two subjects that trooper had been suspicious of, not the plaintiff. (NOTE: cross-reference to Section IV of procedural issues involving ALS cases for discussion of collateral estoppel)
Delanoy v. Turner, 93-E-676, (Merrimack, Smukler, 1/20/94) AFFIRMED
Vehicle stopped for expired inspection sticker; observed odor of alcohol; plaintiff's eyes were glassy; plaintiff claimed that she had five beers at local establishment; no other signs of impairment; officer requested that plaintiff perform FS tests; arrested for DWI; plaintiff claimed officer exceeded scope of legitimate stop; court held that officer's investigation "was carefully tailored to the underlying justification, was temporary, and lasted no longer than necessary to effectuate the purpose of the detention", citing Florida v. Royer and State v. Riley. (NOTE: cross-reference to Section I of grounds for stop)
   
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