Criminal: Search and seizure, roadblocks — LAMONT MOORE V. COM. OF KENTUCKY (COA 11/26/2008)

LAMONT MOORE V. COM. OF KENTUCKY
CRIMINAL:   Search & Seizure; Roadblocks 
2007-CA-001787
PUBLISHED: REVERSING AND REMANDING
PANEL:  KELLER PRESIDING; WINE, LAMBERT CONCUR
MCCRACKEN COUNTY
DATE RENDERED: 11/26/2008

CA reversed TC's order denying Moore's motion to suppress following roadblock stop. Because the stop of the car Moore was a passenger in was unlawful, all evidence flowing from that stop should have been suppressed. The trial court erred in denying the suppression motion.

The Supreme Court of Kentucky “suggest[ed] several non-exclusive factors courts may consider in determining the reasonableness of a particular roadblock.” Commonwealth v.
Buchanon, 122 S.W.3d 565, 570 (Ky. 2003). Those factors include: (1) “that decisions regarding the location, time, and procedures governing a particular roadblock should be determined by those law enforcement officials in a supervisory position, rather than by the officers who are out in the field[,]”; (2) that those officers working the roadblock comply with procedures that have been established by superior officers “so that each motorist is dealt with in exactly the same manner[,]”; (3) that “the nature of the roadblock should be readily apparent to approaching motorists[,]”; and (4) the length of a stop.

The record shows no written policy or even a coherent verbal policy regarding how the citizens stopped that evening were to be treated. There is inadequate evidence of any systematic scheme designed to prevent unconstrained discretion by the officers. Indeed, Officer Fields was not only from a different jurisdiction, he was unaware of any agency internal guidelines set forth by the sheriff’s department in McCracken County. The supervisory control exercised over the operation of the roadblock did not restrict other KSP officers present, nor did it confine the TVA officer. Moore was not the driver of the vehicle, but a passenger; therefore, the implication is that the TVA Officer was looking for evidence of ordinary criminal activity rather than looking to prevent the immediate danger posed by otherwise impaired drivers. Thus, SC held this is in contravention of Moore’s Fourth Amendment rights as condemned under
Buchanon.

Digested by Scott C. Byrd www.olginandbyrd.com

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