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State v. Connell

Court of Common Pleas of Delaware, New Castle

December 6, 2013

STATE OF DELAWARE,
v.
WILLIAM CONNELL, Defendant.

Submitted: November 5, 2013

David Holloway, Esquire Deputy Attorney General Attorney for the State of Delaware

Thomas A. Foley, Esquire Attorney for Defendant

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPPRESS

Carl C. Danberg, Judg.

Defendant William Connell ("Connell") was arrested on December 21, 2012 during a stop at a sobriety checkpoint (the "Checkpoint"), and charged with Driving Under the Influence ("DU1") in violation of 21 Del C. § 4177, and Failure to Have Insurance Identification in Possession in violation of 21 Del, C, § 2118. On May 3, 2013, Connell noticed the present Motion to Suppress, challenging, inter alia, the legality of the Checkpoint.

A hearing on the Motion was held on July 8, 2013. At the hearing, the defense stipulated that it was challenging only the issue of the Checkpoint. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court reserved decision and ordered supplemental briefing from both parties. This is the Final Decision of the Court on Defendant's Motion to Suppress.

FACTS

At the July 8, 2013 hearing on the Motion, the Court heard testimony from one witness, Corporal Jones ("Corp. Jones"), and documentary evidence was submitted by both parties. The State entered into evidence the Sobriety Checkpoint Information Memo of Lisa M. Shaw dated December 12, 2012 (the "Shaw Memo"). Connell stipulated to the admission of this document for purposes of the hearing. Connell entered into evidence a letter from Thomas A. Foley, Esquire, attorney for the defendant, addressed to Joyce Lienig (the "Discovery Request Letter").

In the Discovery Request Letter, Mr. Foley specifically requests:

Because this is a Roadblock case, please accept this letter requesting all statistical information, relied upon by the Office of Highway Safety in establishing the DUI Checkpoint, on Salem Church road, on or about December 21st, 2012.
This letter also requests a copy of the actual traffic statistics/data supplied by the respective police agency, that were forwarded to the Office of Highway Safety, along with any cover letters or e-mails accompanying the request for data by OHS, and the response by the police agency.[1]

Corp. Jones was the sole witness to testify for the State. Corp. Jones testified that he has been employed as a police officer with the Newark Police Department for over 10 years. He is currently assigned to patrol, and his duties include, investigating accidents, crimes, traffic issues, and DUI arrests, among other things.

On December 21, 2012, Corp. Jones was working an overtime assignment for Checkpoint Strikeforce, with the DUI Task Force of New Castle County. The Checkpoint was located at Salem Church Road and Adel Drive in New Castle County, Delaware. The Checkpoint was directed by Chief Capriglione of the Newport Police Department.

Shortly after 11:00 p.m., Chief Capriglione directed Corp. Jones to investigate the vehicle driven by Connell. Corp. Jones asked Connell if he had been drinking any alcohol, to which Connell responded affirmatively. Corp. Jones observed that Connell's eyes were bloodshot and glassy, and his speech was slurred. Corp. Jones also noticed a very strong odor of alcohol emanating from Connell. ...


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