from the Iowa District Court for Warren County, Kevin Parker,
District Associate Judge.
White appeals the denial of his motion to suppress. AFFIRMED.
G. Rehkemper of Gourley, Rehkemper, & Lindholm, P.L.C.,
West Des Moines, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Israel Kodiaga, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.
White appeals the denial of his motion to suppress the
evidence obtained following the warrantless stop of his
vehicle. Because the trooper had reasonable suspicion of an
inoperative headlamp to stop the vehicle, we affirm.
about 11:30 p.m. on June 22, 2018, Trooper Matthew Struecker
was traveling south on R-45 in Warren County when he observed
an oncoming vehicle with one of its headlights out. Trooper
Struecker turned his vehicle around and initiated a traffic
stop. Once the vehicle stopped, the trooper approached and
asked the driver, White, for his license, registration, and
insurance. White could not provide his registration. When
White asked why he was stopped, Trooper Struecker stated,
"One of the headlights [was] out." The officer could
smell alcoholic beverages and asked White to accompany him to
the patrol vehicle where the trooper issued a warning to
White for failure to carry a registration card and for the
faulty headlight. The trooper requested White perform field
sobriety tests, which he failed. The trooper arrested White.
was subsequently charged with operating a motor vehicle while
under the influence, second offense. White filed a motion to
suppress, asserting the traffic stop was without probable
cause or reasonable suspicion.
hearing was held on the motion to suppress. Trooper Struecker
testified he stopped White's vehicle because a headlight
was out. He acknowledged that it was difficult to tell if
both headlamps were working from the patrol car video, but he
was "a hundred percent positive that one of the
headlights was out."
girlfriend was a passenger in the vehicle the night of the
stop. She testified the vehicle was released to her after
White's arrest. She drove the vehicle to White's
house and did not "notice any deficiency in the lights
on my way home." She photographed the vehicle's
headlamps at about 1:15 a.m. on June 23. Photographs and
video recordings were admitted into evidence. The still shots
indicate the passenger side headlamp was much dimmer than the
driver side headlamp. She and White recorded a video on June
26 of the vehicle headlamps illuminating White as he walked
away and measured 100 feet from the vehicle. White testified
he was driving on the evening of June 22 and found oncoming
traffic was sufficiently illuminated and he had no concerns
about the vehicle's lighting.
district court denied the motion to suppress, concluding the
trooper had cause to stop White's vehicle for an
inoperative headlamp. White waived a jury trial and agreed to a
trial on the minutes. The court adjudged White guilty and
appeal, White challenges the denial of his motion to
suppress, contending the stop of his vehicle was not
supported by probable cause and consequently violated the
Fourth Amendment and article I, section 8 of the Iowa
asserts his state and federal constitutional rights to be
free from unreasonable search and seizure were violated. We
review constitutional issues de novo. State v.
Tyler, 830 N.W.2d 288, 291 (Iowa 2013). "We make an
'independent evaluation of the totality of the
circumstances as shown by the entire record.'"
State v. Scheffert, 910 N.W.2d 577, 581 (Iowa 2018)
(quoting State v. Tague, 676 N.W.2d 197, 201 (Iowa