Friday, September 11, 2015

Oral Argument in State v Davis

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in the case of the Knoxville attorney, who is trying to get his traffic stop suppressed. The argument pits the statute found at TCA 55-8-123 (maintain a lane) against the Binette and other cases. Below is the report from one Knoxville tv station.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A Knoxville attorney took the stand Wednesday to argue for himself at
a Tennessee Supreme Court case that could change the way prosecutors handle DUI cases
in the future.
William Davis Jr. admitted he had been drinking and driving, but he said he shouldn’t have
been caught. Even though police had issued a BOLO or “be on the lookout” for his car and
an officer testified Davis made several traffic violations, he said there wasn’t enough
probable cause for the initial traffic stop that turned into a DUI.
“Are we to micromanage the officer is not doing a playback, an instant review playback of
the video?” asked Justice Holly Kirby. “He’s perceiving it in the moment the same way that
you perceive when you are videotaping your child’s soccer game and you think the referee
made a bad call.”
Davis said he should not have been stopped because the BOLO for his car was not checked
out before he was pulled over, but Justice Cornelia Clark pointed out that shouldn’t matter.
“If the statute says you must drive on the right side of the line or you may not cross to the
left side, then even one violation of that is an offense. Surely that rises to the level of
probable cause,” she said.
The state attorney general’s office said even without the traffic violations the BOLO for
Davis was enough of a reason for the stop, and not only was the officer able to verify the
description and location of Davis’s vehicle from the BOLO, he said he went further.
“He further verified driving consistent with being under the influence. He watched the
driver drive over the center line a couple of times before he even initiated his camera. And
then on camera caught another crossing and a touching on the line,” said Assistant
Attorney General Leslie Price. “So certainly at that point the officer had reasonable
suspicion that the defendant was driving under the influence.”

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