United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division
this Court on a DUI charge, doc. 1, Elliot Jefferson moves
"for an order excluding or suppressing all evidence
obtained in violation of constitutional guarantees under the
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution when Mr.
Jefferson was stopped at a safety checkpoint that did not
meet the minimum constitutional prerequisites." Doc. 12
at 1. It arises from his encounter with a Fort Stewart
Military Police Department roadblock:
On or about, April 29, 2016, Mr. Jefferson was arrested for
DUI, less safe and DUI per se, by Officers of Fort
Stewart Police, including but not limited to, Officer Andres
DelCampo, who were conducting a roadblock/safety check point
at Ricker Avenue and 16th Street. While speaking with Mr.
Jefferson, DelCampo smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic
beverage coming from Mr. Jefferson. Mr. Jefferson submitted
to HGN, Walk and Turn, and the One Leg Stand. Mr. Jefferson
was transported to the Fort Stewart PMO where he submitted to
chemical analysis testing on the Intoxilyzer 9000. (Exhibit
Doc. 12 at 1.
that vehicle stops are Fourth Amendment seizures, doc. 12 at
2, Jefferson illuminates long-established legal limits on the
use of roadblocks, id., then concludes that
suppression is warranted:
Mr. Jefferson shows that said roadblock/safety check
was not conducted in accordance with the laws controlling
such including, but not limited to "minimum
constitutional prerequisites" as defined in
LaFontaine v. State, 269 Ga. 251 (1998) and City
of Indianapolis v. Edmond, 53 U.S. 32 (2000). Therefore,
the stop was illegal in that he was detained when the
officers lacked an articulable suspicion that he had
committed a crime or was going to commit a crime. He was then
searched and seized without a warrant, probable cause,
articulable suspicion, or consent.
Id. at 3 (emphasis added).
Jefferson has shown nothing but his own legal conclusion.
sure, the U.S. Supreme Court has
never approved a checkpoint program whose primary purpose was
to detect evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing. Rather,
our checkpoint cases have recognized only limited exceptions
to the general rule that a seizure must be accompanied by
some measure of individualized suspicion. We suggested in
[Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648 (1979)] that we
would not credit the "general interest in crime
control" as justification for a regime of suspicionless
stops. 440 U.S. at 659, n. 18. Consistent with this
suggestion, each of the checkpoint programs that we have
approved was designed primarily to serve purposes closely
related to the problems of policing the border or the
necessity of ensuring roadway safety.
Edmond, 531 U.S. at 41-42; LaFave, 4 SEAECH &
SEIZURE § 9.7(b) (5th ed.).
roadblocks cannot be free ranging. They thus are limited
"roadway safety" (license and registration) checks,
or an "appropriately tailored roadblock set up to thwart
an imminent terrorist attack or to catch a dangerous criminal
who is likely to flee by way of a particular route. . . .
While we do not limit the purposes that may justify a
checkpoint program to any rigid set of categories, we decline
to approve a program whose primary purpose is ultimately
indistinguishable from the general interest in crime
control." Edmond, 531 U.S. at 44; see also
Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444,
455 (1990); Merrett v. Moore, 58 F.3d 1547, 1550-51
(11th Cir. 1995). To that end,
[a] roadblock in Georgia is valid when it meets five
requirements: (1) supervisory officers decided where and when
to implement it for a legitimate purpose; (2) all vehicles
were stopped; (3) the delay to motorists was minimal; (4) the
operation was well identified as a police checkpoint; and (5)
the screening officer was competent to determine which
motorists should be given field tests for intoxication.
United States v. Cole, 2010 WL 3210963 at * 7
(N.D.Ga. Aug. 11, 2010) (quoting Coursey v. State,
295 Ga.App. 476, 477 (2009)); accord, Spraggins v.
State, 324 Ga.App. 878, 880 (2013); Evans v.
Jones, 2010 WL 4639260 at * 3 (M.D. Ga. 2010) (the
police "conducted the roadblock in a constitutionally
appropriate manner because all vehicles were stopped, the
delay to motorists was minimal, the roadblock was clearly
identified as such, and the [police] had been adequately
trained to conduct the roadblock[, so] the Plaintiff suffered
no constitutional violation . . . because of the
again, Jefferson advances only a legal conclusion ~
"that said roadblock/safety check was not conducted in
accordance with the laws controlling such including, but not
limited to "minimum constitutional
prerequisites...." Doc. 12 at 3. He cites no
factual support. He ...