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State v. Ordonez

Court of Appeals of Iowa

April 17, 2019

STATE OF IOWA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JOSE MANUEL CRUZ ORDONEZ, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Steven P. Van Marel, District Associate Judge.

         Jose Manuel Cruz Ordonez appeals the denial of his motion to suppress evidence of a field sobriety test and his subsequent conviction for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (first offense).

          Benjamin D. Bergmann and Alexander D. Smith of Parrish Kruidenier Dunn Boles Gribble Gentry Brown & Bergmann L.L.P., Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas E. Bakke, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vogel, C.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Carr, S.J. [*]

          VAITHESWARAN, JUDGE.

         Jose Manuel Cruz Ordonez appeals the denial of his motion to suppress evidence of a field sobriety test.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         A patrol sergeant with the Iowa State University Department of Public Safety stopped a vehicle for crossing the center line and driving at erratic speeds. After observing signs of intoxication in driver Cruz Ordonez, the officer asked him to step out of the vehicle. Within a few minutes, the officer placed him in his squad car and administered the horizontal-gaze nystagmus (HGN) test.[1] According to the officer, Cruz Ordonez failed the test. Cruz Ordonez refused to submit to further sobriety testing. The officer arrested him for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

         The State charged Cruz Ordonez with operating while intoxicated (first offense) and possession of marijuana (first offense). Cruz Ordonez agreed to plead guilty to the OWI charge in exchange for dismissal of "all companions." The district court adjudged him guilty and placed him on probation.

         Cruz Ordonez filed a postconviction-relief application, which resulted in his plea being set aside.[2] The district court scheduled the matter for trial.

         Meanwhile, Cruz Ordonez moved to suppress "evidence of his performance in or results of the HGN test, any observations by officers during that test, along with any other evidence or observations of law enforcement" after the test was administered. He alleged,

The officers' conduct in this case violated [his] privilege against self-incrimination as protected by article I, section 9 of the Iowa Constitution and/or the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Alternatively, the officers' conduct amounted to a violation of Mr. Cruz Ordonez's right against illegal searches as guaranteed ...

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