Judge rules traffic stop illegal, vacates DUI conviction

Friday, April 17, 2009 at 3:58pm

Roger L. Hunt is now a two-time DUI offender instead of a three-time one, after a Friday ruling by Circuit Court Judge Joseph M. Tipton that questioned that legality of the original traffic stop that led to the Wayne County man's arrest.

The ruling stems from a July 12, 2007 incident when on-duty Deputy Clifford Adams of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department spotted a car at 11:39 p.m. operating on a roadway without a “tag light.” In court documents, Adams said he was unable to read the license plate from where he was parked and began following the car.

Adams said that because he was still unable to read the license plate from a safe distance, he initiated a traffic stop. He stated that he was not able to read the license plate until after he turned on his blue lights and got closer as the defendant was slowing down for the stop.

As a result of the stop, Hunt was charged with driving under the influence, drug possession, and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to documents.

Hunt, pled guilty to third offense driving under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia, and misdemeanor possession of a Schedule II controlled substance, but that was after the trial court denied his motion to suppress and question the legality of the traffic stop.

The plea agreement agreed to by Hunt preserved a certified question of law regarding the legality of the police stop before his arrest, which was based upon his not having a light illuminating his license plate.

Friday, Judge Hamilton ruled that the trial court erred in denying the motion to suppress, and therefore, his ruling vacates Hunt's conviction.

To read a full copy of the ruling, click here.


3 Comments on this post:

By: frank brown on 4/17/09 at 4:11

Finally a Judge that will not put up with the abuse of SERPAS.

By: frank brown on 4/17/09 at 4:15

i meant to type "a Judge that will not put up with the abuse of policemen like SERPAS.'

By: arkay61 on 4/19/09 at 3:41

So frank, you are pleased that a habitual drunk/impared driver was released on a technicality? Actually it wasn't really a technicality but a loose intrepretation/opinion of the law by a wishy-washy judge.

Yep. That judge rally taught him a lesson about being a menace on the roadways. I'm sure Mr. Hunt has seen the error of his ways and will never drive intoxicated again.