State v. Jones, 2003007159

CourtCourt of Common Pleas of Delaware
Writing for the CourtBRADLEY V. MANNING, J.
PartiesSTATE OF DELAWARE, v. JAMIE L. JONES, Defendant.
Decision Date06 December 2021
Docket Number2003007159

STATE OF DELAWARE,
v.

JAMIE L. JONES, Defendant.

No. 2003007159

Court of Common Pleas of Delaware

December 6, 2021


Submitted: October 14, 2021

Zach Rosen, Esq. Deputy Attorney General Attorney for the State of Delaware

Brian Rick, Esq. Assistant Public Defender Attorney for Defendant

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

BRADLEY V. MANNING, J.

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FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On March 12, 2020, Jamie L. Jones ("Defendant") was arrested by Trooper Adams of the Delaware State Police ("Adams") for the offense of Driving a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol in violation of 21 Del. C. § 4177; Failure to Have Insurance Identification in Possession in violation of 21 Del. C. § 2118; Failure to Remain in Single Lane in violation of 21 Del. C. § 4122; and Failure to Signal in violation of 21 Del. C. § 4155(b).

Adams, the sole witness to offer testimony at the hearing, described the events surrounding Defendant's arrest as follows. Adams was on a routine patrol traveling eastbound on Ogletown Stanton Road when he came upon Defendant's vehicle, also traveling east in the right lane. Adams observed Defendant activate her right turn signal, change lanes into the right turn lane, and merge onto southbound Salem Church Road. As Defendant turned, Adams observed the right wheels of Defendant's car cross the white fog line and cross into the right shoulder of the roadway. Adams continued behind Defendant and observed Defendant's car cross the white fog line two more times-both times with the right tire and one of which lasted "approximately eight seconds." Defendant then quickly activated her left turn signal, moved into the left turn lane, and made a left hand turn into the Salem Village Square parking lot. Adams then activated his emergency lights and pulled over the vehicle.

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After both vehicles pulled into the parking lot, Defendant swiftly exited the vehicle and approached Adams before Adams had the opportunity to call in the stop. Upon contact with Defendant, Adams noticed Defendant's erratic behavior and the odor of alcohol. Adams performed field sobriety tests and Defendant was ultimately placed under arrest.

On September 20, 2021, Defendant filed this Motion to Suppress ("Motion") all evidence. On October 14, 2021, the Court held a Suppression Hearing. At the hearing, the State presented the testimony of Adams and entered into evidence the motor vehicle video recording ("MVR") of the events leading up to, during, and after Defendant's traffic stop. Defendant did not present any testimony and did not enter any exhibits into evidence.

PARTIES CONTENTIONS

Here, it is undisputed that the circumstances subsequent to the initial traffic stop constituted sufficient probable cause to arrest Defendant. However, the parties differ as to whether Adams had reasonable articulable suspicion to initiate the traffic stop in the first place.

Defendant argues that to conduct a lawful traffic stop, there must be reasonable articulable suspicion that Defendant committed a traffic violation and, although Adams may have believed Defendant was not driving properly, there was no actual violation of Delaware's motor vehicle laws prior to the stop of Defendant's

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vehicle. The State disagrees with Defendant's argument and believes there was reasonable articulable suspicion for Adams to conduct the traffic stop.

LEGAL STANDARD

On a Motion to Suppress, the State bears the burden of establishing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the challenged search or seizure was. valid under the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution, the Delaware Constitution, and Delaware statutory law.[1] To justify a vehicle...

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