Kalamazoo, Mich. – Aug. 20, 2018: Attorney Anastase Markou of Levine & Levine won an appeal regarding an operating while intoxicated case in Kalamazoo County.
In the case, DeHaan vs. the People of the State of Michigan, Judge Gary C. Giguere Jr. ruled on Aug. 9 that a Kalamazoo Sheriff’s deputy did not have reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle and seize the driver, the defendant in the case, for operating while intoxicated in September 2017.
On Sept. 26, 2017, Kalamazoo dispatch notified law enforcement that a white minivan had hit or scraped another vehicle at the intersection of KL Avenue and Drake Road. While en route to the scene, a sheriff’s deputy came upon a white minivan at a different intersection. The deputy followed that van to determine if it had physical evidence of being in an accident, and made a traffic stop. Upon confronting the driver – the defendant — the sheriff’s deputy smelled alcohol coming from the vehicle. The defendant acknowledged he was involved in an accident at KL Avenue and Drake Road, but believed the damage was minimal so he continued to drive. At that time, the sheriff’s deputy conducted an operating while intoxicated investigation and determined the defendant was operating while intoxicated and arrested him.
The defendant was arraigned in 8th District Court in Kalamazoo for operating while intoxicated on Oct. 25, 2017. He filed a motion to suppress a month later, which the lower court denied. In February, Markou filed an interlocutory appeal on behalf of the defendant, appealing the District Court’s order.
In the 9th Circuit Court ruling, Judge Giguere Jr. overruled the District Court’s decision, concluding all statements, observations, as well as the dexterity and chemical tests administered after the deputy stopped the defendant’s vehicle, violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights and will be suppressed in court. The Aug. 9 court opinion states the deputy “did not have articulable, reasonable suspicion when he initiated the temporary stop of the defendant.”
“Every traffic stop is protected by the Fourth Amendment – prohibiting unreasonable search and seizures. This judge ruled there was not sufficient evidence for the officer to stop the defendant,” Markou said after the appeals ruling. “I believe one of our most important rights is the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. This appeals decision vindicates that right that all citizens have.”