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State v. Morrison

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

November 24, 2015

STATE OF MAINE
v.
JAMES D. MORRISON

Argued October 7, 2015

On the briefs: Ezra A. R. Willey, Esq., Willey Law Offices, Bangor, for appellant James D. Morrison.

R. Christopher Almy, District Attorney, and Tracy Collins, Asst. Dist. Atty., Prosecutorial District V, Bangor, for appellee State of Maine.

At oral argument: Ezra A. R. Willey, Esq., for appellant James D. Morrison.

Tracy Collins, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee State of Maine.

Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.

OPINION

Page 1061

GORMAN, J.

[¶1] James D. Morrison appeals from a judgment of conviction for operating under the influence (Class D), 29-A M.R.S. § 2411(1-A)(A) (2014), entered in the Unified Criminal Docket (Piscataquis County, Anderson, J. ) on his conditional plea of nolo contendere. Morrison contends that the suppression court ( Stitham, J. ) erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a stop of his vehicle and after his arrest. We affirm the judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

[¶2] On April 16, 2014, the State charged Morrison by criminal complaint with operating under the influence (Class D), 29-A M.R.S. § 2411(1-A)(A), stemming from an incident on March 9, 2014, in which police stopped Morrison's vehicle in Dover-Foxcroft. Morrison pleaded not guilty to the charge and moved to suppress evidence generated from the stop of his vehicle and his subsequent arrest and Intoxilyzer test. After a hearing, the court made the following findings of fact, which are supported by competent evidence in the suppression record.

[¶3] A police officer for the Town of Dover-Foxcroft observed a vehicle weaving back and forth and crossing the center of the road. As it neared the crest of a hill, the entire vehicle crossed the centerline and moved into the opposite lane, creating a safety issue. Although the road had potholes, the officer did not believe that they could account for all of the vehicle's irregular movements. After stopping the vehicle, the officer noticed an odor of alcohol coming from the driver, Morrison, and observed that Morrison's eyes were bloodshot and droopy and that his speech was " thick." Morrison admitted to the officer that he had had two beers earlier that night, and he also failed to correctly complete one of three field sobriety tests.

[¶4] Based on these findings, the court denied Morrison's motion to suppress. Morrison entered a conditional plea of nolo contendere pursuant to M.R.U. Crim. P. 11(a)(2), and the court ( Anderson, J. ) entered a judgment convicting him of the charge and sentencing him to forty-eight hours in ...


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