On appeal, the State claimed that the video did not clearly establish that a headlight (as opposed to a parking light) was illuminated. In refusing to overrule the trial court's findings, the Missouri appeals court adopted the legal principles enunciated in Ornelas v. United States, 517 U.S. 690, 699 (1996): ‘a reviewing court should take care both to review findings of historical fact only for clear error and to give due weight to inferences drawn from those facts by resident judges and local law enforcement officers.’
Citing such cases as United States v. Smart, 393 F.3d 767, 770 (8th Cir.2005), the State also argued that, even if both of Williams' headlights were functioning properly, the police officer's sincere - but mistaken - belief that the light was off could justify the stop. Rejecting that argument, the court stated:
"Even if this issue were preserved, however, it would not justify reversal. Here, Officer Dollens was travelling at medium speed, at night when headlights are most clearly visible, and on a road with no other oncoming traffic besides Williams' vehicle. The record does not reflect any environmental factors that could have contributed to Officer Dollens' mistaken belief, such as precipitation or the interference of other area lighting. Williams' vehicle passed relatively closely to Officer Dollens' patrol car, and from the dashboard video Officer Dollens had a clear and unobstructed view of both headlights of Williams' truck. In these circumstances, we would be hard pressed to conclude that Officer Dollens' mistaken belief as to whether Williams' passenger side headlight was operational was objectively reasonable."Visit Americas Top DUI and DWI Attorneys at http://www.1800dialdui.com or call 1-800-DIAL-DUI to find a DUI OUI DWI Attorney Lawyer Now!