Tuesday, March 01, 2011

DUI Appeal of the Day (DAD) - Roadblock approved by Field Captain

In Jacobs v. State, --- S.E.2d ----, 2011 WL 677949 (Ga.App.) the defendant challenged his arrest for DUI by claiming that a highway roadblock that was implemented by a field officer, rather than by a supervisor at the programmatic level, and, therefore, that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of that roadblock. The person who implemented and approved the roadblock was Captain Crawshaw. As a captain, Crawshaw was the senior officer in the field, charged with supervising a shift that consisted of herself, a lieutenant, and at least five officers. Above Crawshaw in the chain of command were one of four majors and the chief of police, who decide the policies within the departments. The Fayetteville Police Chief established departmental uniform goals, pursuant to which each shift would conduct a certain number of road safety checks per quarter. Before July 25, 2009, Crawshaw discussed the uniform goals generally, along with the prescribed procedure for conducting a roadblock, with the chief and the majors. As a shift supervisor, Crawshaw was authorized by her superiors to plan and implement roadblocks. Although she obtained some input from her subordinates, Crawshaw did not obtain prior approval, either written or verbal, from her superiors of her plan to have a roadblock on July 25, 2009.

The State must prove that a highway roadblock program “was implemented at the programmatic level for a legitimate primary purpose,” that is, that the roadblock was ordered by a supervisor rather than by officers in the field and was “implemented to ensure roadway safety rather than as a constitutionally impermissible pretext aimed at discovering general evidence of ordinary crime.”

The Georgia court found that the captain was a 'supervisor at the programmatic level' as contemplated under the law:

Applying controlling precedents, we conclude that Crawshaw was a supervisor by virtue of the fact that her rank and job duties required her to supervise the work of a number of officers of subordinate rank, even though she supervised those subordinates in the field, rather than from behind a desk, and even though she initially screened Jacobs at the roadblock.

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