drunk driving

In Commonwealth v. Carkhuff, a case that was reported in the Wall Street Journal, Springfield Republican, Boston Globe, and other newspapers across the country, we argued that the State Trooper that pulled our client over did so illegally. On October 2, 2001 (shortly after 9/11) David Carkhuff was driving past the Cobble Mountain Reservoir. Unknown to him, the State Police had posted a trooper in the area of the reservoir to stop all traffic. The logic was that the reservoir was a possible terrorist target. Following his orders, he pulled Mr. Carkhuff over. After speaking with him, the trooper arrested Mr. Carkhuff for drunk driving. We successfully argued that the trooper’s stop of Mr. Carkhuff’s vehicle was without reasonable suspicion and that even if terrorism is a valid reason for a roadblock, the State Police did not follow roadblock requirements (such as public notice). The Commonwealth appealed the district court judge’s allowance of our Motion. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts upheld the suppression order.

Client (a painter) charged with drunk driving second offense. Officer testified that he pulled the client over because he could not read the license plate due to paint partially covering one of the letters. We had our client bring the license plate into court. The officer agreed that the license plate was in the same condition as the night of the arrest. We walked to the farthest point of the courtroom from where the officer was testifying and asked the officer to estimate the distance (a license plate is required to be readable from 60 feet), the officer stated 100 feet. We then asked the officer to read the license plate to the judge, which he did without error. The judge found that the stop was illegal.

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