Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Myers

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 24, 2018

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JEFFREY JOHN MYERS, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Floyd County, Peter B. Newell, District Associate Judge.

         Jeffrey John Myers appeals his conviction for operating while intoxicated, first offense.

          Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Vidhya K. Reddy, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Linda J. Hines, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and McDonald, JJ.

          VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         A Charles City police officer stopped a vehicle for having unilluminated taillights. He observed signs of intoxication in driver Jeffrey John Myers. After administering field sobriety tests, the officer arrested Myers for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence. Myers consented to a urine test, which screened positive for marijuana metabolites and amphetamine.

         The State charged Myers with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (first offense) in violation of Iowa Code section 321J.2(1)(a) and (c) (2016).[1] Myers moved to suppress the evidence on the ground that his taillights were actually illuminated. He asserted the stop violated his constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. See State v. Pettijohn, 899 N.W.2d 1, 14 (Iowa 2017) (citing the guarantees of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, section 8 of the Iowa Constitution to be secure from "unreasonable searches and seizures"). Following an evidentiary hearing, the district court denied the motion.

         Myers stipulated to a bench trial on the minutes of testimony. The district court found him guilty of "all the elements of operating under the influence, first offense." In its judgment and sentence, the court convicted Myers under Iowa Code section 321J.2(1)(a) and (b), but oral comments during the trial on the minutes of evidence clarified the conviction was based on section 321J. (1)(a) and (c).

         On appeal, Myers contends (1) the district court should have denied his motion to suppress evidence gained following the stop and (2) the evidence was insufficient to establish the presence of a controlled substance in his system.

         I. Suppression Ruling

         "When a peace officer observes a traffic offense, however minor, the officer has probable cause to stop the driver of the vehicle." State v. Harrison, 846 N.W.2d 362, 365 (Iowa 2014) (quoting State v. Mitchell, 498 N.W.2d 691, 693 (Iowa 1993)). The police officer observed Myers driving after dark with unilluminated taillights. See Iowa Code § 321.387.[2] He approached Myers' vehicle and "explained he didn't have any taillights." According to the officer, Myers "was like, oh, and then reached down and turned them on." When the officer was asked if "they [were] on to begin with and then brightened, " he responded, "No, they weren't on." The officer explained that on some "newer cars, " "you actually have to adjust [the taillights]."

         A dash camera video corroborated the officer's observation. Although headlights of the law enforcement vehicle initially obscured the visibility of Myers' taillights, the taillights noticeably illuminated after the officer informed Myers of the infraction. The illumination coincided with a movement by Myers to the right. On our de novo review of this constitutional issue, we agree with the district court that the officer had probable cause to stop the vehicle. We affirm the court's denial of Myers' suppression motion.

         II. Sufficiency ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.