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State v. Simmons

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

April 5, 2016

STATE OF MAINE
v.
HERBERT R. SIMMONS SR

         Argued February 9, 2016.

          Kent G. Murdick II, Esq., Cumler & Lynch, Waldoboro, for appellant Herbert R. Simmons Sr.

         Katie R. Hollstrom, Asst. Dist. Atty., District Attorney's Office, Wiscasset, for appellee State of Maine.

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

          OPINION

Page 825

          HUMPHREY, J.

          [¶1] This appeal raises the question of whether a game warden's uncontroverted observation of a vehicle making an " unnecessarily" wide right turn partially into the oncoming travel lane of an intersecting roadway can support the suppression court's finding that the warden had the reasonable articulable suspicion necessary to stop the vehicle.

          [¶2] Herbert R. Simmons Sr. appeals from a judgment of conviction for operating under the influence (Class D), 29-A M.R.S. § 2411(1-A)(A) (2015), entered in the District Court (Wiscasset, Billings, J. ) on his conditional guilty plea. Simmons contends that the suppression court ( Powers, J. ) erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained from the warden's stop of his vehicle. We find no error and affirm the judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

          [¶3] Simmons moved to suppress evidence stemming from the stop of his vehicle by a game warden. Following a hearing, the court found that the warden stopped Simmons's vehicle after seeing it approach " very close by" the warden's vehicle and then make a right turn, " unnecessarily wide into the approaching lane of another road." The court articulated no other specific findings for that conclusion, but because none were requested, see M.R. Crim. P. 41A(d),[1] " we will infer that the court found all the facts necessary to support its judgment if those inferred findings are supportable by the evidence in the record." State v. Jones, 2012 ME 126');">2012 ME 126, ¶ 29, 55 A.3d 432 (quotation marks omitted).[2]

          [¶4] Viewed in a light most favorable to the court's decision, competent evidence in the motion record supports the court's express and inferred findings. See State v. Bryant, 2014 ME 94, ¶ 2, 97 A.3d 595; Jones, 2012 ME 126');">2012 ME 126, ¶ 29, 55 A.3d 432.

          [¶5] The game warden, the only witness at the suppression hearing, testified to the following: At approximately 5:20 in the afternoon on Saturday, August 23, 2014, he was driving southbound on Route 220 in Waldoboro near its intersection with Finntown Road. He observed a vehicle traveling northbound toward him on the

Page 826

same road. As the warden approached the mouth of the intersection of Route 220 and Finntown Road, he observed the vehicle execute a " wide" right-hand turn onto Finntown Road, ...


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