People v. Edsall

CourtNew York Town Court
Writing for the CourtWALTER W. DUNBAR
Citation444 N.Y.S.2d 994,111 Misc.2d 767
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of New York v. Alan EDSALL, Defendant.
Decision Date20 November 1981

Page 994

444 N.Y.S.2d 994
111 Misc.2d 767
The PEOPLE of the State of New York
v.
Alan EDSALL, Defendant.
Dix Town Court, Schuyler County.
Nov. 20, 1981.

Stewart E. McDivitt, Dist. Atty., for plaintiff.

Raymond M. Schlather, Ithaca, Atty., for defendant.

OPINION OF THE COURT

WALTER W. DUNBAR, Justice.

The defendant moves to dismiss the informations charging the defendant with Driving While Intoxicated and Operating an Unregistered Motor Vehicle on the grounds of legal insufficiency, being the product of an illegal search and seizure, and in the interest of justice.

Page 995

A hearing was held on October 26, 1981. The following facts were adduced at the hearing:

FACTS

On the 11th of July 1981 at about 1:40 A.M. New York State Park Police Officer Henry Yaekel observed the defendant's vehicle in a gravel pull-off area next to the Whites Hollow Road. The defendant was stopped and facing westerly. Officer Yaekel was travelling easterly on regular road patrol with a police car equipped with red lights. As the officer turned into the gravel pull-off area and approached the defendant's vehicle from the rear the defendant began to move his vehicle. Officer Yaekel turned on his red lights and signalled with his horn whereupon the defendant stopped his vehicle. Officer Yaekel approached the defendant on foot, asked the defendant why he was there, observed alcohol on the defendant's breath and a can half-hidden in the vehicle. Officer Yaekel then arrested the defendant for Driving While Intoxicated.

The situs of the arrest is a gravel pull-off area in the Watkins Glen State Park readily accessible to motor vehicles using the Whites Hollow Road, a paved public thoroughfare that goes through the park. The park is a public place owned and operated by the State of New York. It is maintained and regulated by the Office of Parks and Recreation of the State of New York. Officer Yaekel's duties as a Park Police Officer include patrolling the park and enforcing the rules and regulations of the Department, one of which is to see that persons using the park after 10:00 P.M. have paid the requisite fee and obtained the required permit to be in the park after that hour and he routinely checks those persons he finds in the park.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DETERMINATION

The defendant raises two questions:

(1) Is the gravel area a highway within the meaning of the Vehicle and Traffic Law?

(2) Whether the area is a highway or not, did the arresting officer have probable cause to stop the car in the first place?

The People concede that Section 1100(a) of the Vehicle and Traffic Law applies to Section 1192 thereof (Driving While Intoxicated). To be guilty of Driving While Intoxicated a motorist must be driving on a 'public highway' as that term is defined in Section 134 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law.

The defendant urges the Court to find that once the park is 'closed' at 10:00 P.M. the public no longer has a general right of passage, a necessary element of the definition of 'public highway'.

"Section 134 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law defines a public highway as 'any highway, road, street, avenue, alley, public place, public driveway or any other public way ..' .. the language of the statute indicates that for something to be a public highway * * *; that is, it must be a way 'over which the public have a general right of passage.' " Peo. v. Thew, 44 N.Y.2d 681, 682, 405 N.Y.S.2d 433, 376 N.E.2d 906. (see also...

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2 practice notes
  • Martinez v. Hitachi Constr. Machinery Co., Ltd., 6099/2003.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • August 18, 2006
    ...Misc 2d 340, 342 [Just Ct, Tompkins County 2003]; People v Haszinger, 149 Misc 2d 856, 858-859 [Nassau Dist Ct 1991]; People v Edsall, 111 Misc 2d 767, 769 [Town Ct, Schuyler County 1981]). The area need not be open to vehicular traffic to be a "public place" or "public way&q......
  • People v. Haszinger
    • United States
    • New York District Court
    • February 2, 1991
    ...public place, public driveway or any other public way." People v. Kolinsky, 111 Misc.2d 633, 444 N.Y.S.2d 845; People v. Edsall, 111 Misc.2d 767, 444 N.Y.S.2d 994; People v. Ostermeier, 118 Misc.2d 68, 460 N.Y.S.2d Therefore, the issue to be determined here is whether the grass adjoini......
2 cases
  • Martinez v. Hitachi Constr. Machinery Co., Ltd., 6099/2003.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • August 18, 2006
    ...Misc 2d 340, 342 [Just Ct, Tompkins County 2003]; People v Haszinger, 149 Misc 2d 856, 858-859 [Nassau Dist Ct 1991]; People v Edsall, 111 Misc 2d 767, 769 [Town Ct, Schuyler County 1981]). The area need not be open to vehicular traffic to be a "public place" or "public way&q......
  • People v. Haszinger
    • United States
    • New York District Court
    • February 2, 1991
    ...public place, public driveway or any other public way." People v. Kolinsky, 111 Misc.2d 633, 444 N.Y.S.2d 845; People v. Edsall, 111 Misc.2d 767, 444 N.Y.S.2d 994; People v. Ostermeier, 118 Misc.2d 68, 460 N.Y.S.2d Therefore, the issue to be determined here is whether the grass adjoini......

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