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State v. Barker

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 3, 2017

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JOHN BARKER III, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Jeffrey L. Harris, District Associate Judge.

         A defendant appeals the district court denial of his motion to suppress.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Nan N. Jennisch, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kyle P. Hanson, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., Vogel, J., and Blane, S.J. [*]

          BLANE, Senior Judge.

         Defendant John Barker III appeals the district court's denial of his motion to suppress and subsequent conviction for operating while intoxicated (OWI), second offense. Upon our review, we find the district court properly denied the motion and therefore affirm his conviction.

         I. Factual and procedural background.

         At 2:34 a.m. on October 4, 2015, Officer Chris Roberts was patrolling a residential neighborhood in Waterloo. As he drove north on Ninth Street, Roberts met a southbound car traveling at a high rate of speed, which he estimated to be fifty to sixty miles per hour. The speed limit was thirty miles per hour. He testified that based on his training and experience, it was "pretty obvious" the vehicle was "traveling a lot faster" than the speed limit.

         Officer Roberts has been a peace officer since graduating from the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in 2007. He received training on speed detection using radar and LiDAR (light and radar). That training included learning how to estimate speed "just with the naked eye, " and Roberts had to pass a test by accurately estimating the speed of moving vehicles.

         By the time Roberts had turned around, the speeding car had turned onto a side street. When he caught up, the car was stopped in the middle of the street such that it would have blocked oncoming traffic. The car stayed there for fifteen to thirty seconds, two men got out, and the car "took off." Roberts stopped to speak with the two passengers, and he broadcast his location over his patrol car's radio to other officers, requesting assistance in stopping a blue, four-door Chrysler 200 with New Jersey license plates.

         Officer Nathan Watson was in the area and heard over the police radio the suspect car's description. He observed the vehicle and initiated a traffic stop when the car stopped for a stop sign. Upon approaching the car, Watson determined defendant John Barker III was driving and observed Barker smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot, watery eyes. Officer Nicholas Weber arrived to assist with the traffic stop. He too noticed Barker smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot, watery eyes. Barker scored six of six clues on the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, but he did not perform the walk-and-turn or one-leg-stand tests due to physical limitations. He provided a breath sample for a preliminary breath test, which indicated an alcohol concentration over the legal limit. At the police station, a DataMaster breath test indicated Barker's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .104.

         On November 2, 2015, Barker was charged by trial information with OWI, second offense, in violation of Iowa Code section 321J.2 (2015). The charge was enhanced based on Barker's prior OWI conviction entered on July 31, 2012, in Black Hawk County. On December 16, 2015, Barker filed a motion to suppress, claiming the officer's stop violated his rights under the United States and Iowa Constitutions. Following a January 20, 2016 suppression hearing, the district court denied the motion to suppress.

         On February 26, 2016, Barker waived his right to a jury trial, and the case proceeded to a bench trial based upon the minutes of evidence. The court found Barker guilty of OWI, second ...


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