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State v. Gerry

Supreme Court of Maine

November 8, 2016

STATE OF MAINE
v.
ADAM D. GERRY

          Submitted On Briefs: October 13, 2016

         Waldo County Unified Criminal Docket docket number CR-2015-77

          Rory A. McNamara, Esq., Drake Law, LLC, Lebanon, for appellant Adam D. Gerry

          William B. Entwisle, Asst. Dist. Atty., Prosecutorial District VI, Belfast, for appellee State of Maine

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

          ALEXANDER, J.

         [¶1] Adam D. Gerry appeals from the judgment of the trial court (Waldo County, Worth, J.) finding him guilty of operating under the influence (Class D), 29-A M.R.S. § 2411(1-A)(A), (5) (2015), following a conditional guilty plea, see M.R.U. Crim. P. 11(a)(2). On appeal, Gerry contends that the motion court (R. Murray, J.) erred in denying his motion to suppress because his detention by law enforcement, which ultimately led to the charge of operating under the influence, was not based on a reasonable, articulable suspicion. We affirm the judgment.

         I. CASE HISTORY

         [¶2] In its order denying the motion to suppress, the court found the following facts, which are supported by the record reviewed in the light most favorable to the courts order. See State v. Kierstead, 2015 ME 45, ¶ 2, 114A.3d984.

         [¶3] On April 18, 2015, an officer of the Belfast Police Department was on patrol in Belfast. At approximately 1:00 a.m., the officer observed a vehicle turn off of Main Street and into the parking lot of a drug store, which had been closed for several hours. The vehicle came to a stop and its lights were turned off. The officer thought it was unusual, at that hour, for a vehicle to pull into that parking lot, park, and have its lights turned off. Thinking that there may be a burglary in progress, and wanting to investigate further, the officer proceeded up the street a short distance, turned around, and returned to the parking lot.

         [¶4] Upon returning to the parking lot, the officer drove around the back side of the drug store looking for anything unusual. When he did not observe anything unusual behind the store, he continued around the building to where the vehicle he had seen was parked. The officer could not see anyone inside the vehicle, so he used his spotlight to illuminate the car, at which time Gerry, who apparently had been reclined in his seat, sat up so that he was visible.

          [¶5] At that point, the officer approached Gerry and asked him if he was "all right and what he was doing." Once the officer communicated with Gerry, he could smell alcohol coming from him. Due to the smell of alcohol, the officers inquiry and investigation shifted to an investigation of possible operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants.

         [¶6] Gerry was charged with operating under the influence pursuant to 29-AM.R.S. § 2411(1-A)(A). On July 15, 2015, Gerry moved to suppress evidence obtained during the detention and arrest, arguing that the police interaction with him constituted an unlawful detention that was not supported by a reasonable articulable suspicion.

         [¶7] A testimonial hearing on the motion was held on September 2, 2015. For purposes of the motion to suppress, the State conceded that the ...


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