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State v. Carey

Superior Court of Maine, Cumberland

April 16, 2019

STATE OF MAINE
v.
SAMANTHA R. CAREY

          Attorney: ALEXANDER SPADINGER, SHAHEEN & GORDON PA

          State's Attorney: STEPHANIE ANDERSON

          ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SUPRESS

          Deborah P. Cashman Judge

         This matter came before the court on March 26, 2018 for hearing on Defendant's motion to suppress. Defendant was present and represented by Attorney Alexander E. Spadinger, Esquire. The State was represented by Assistant District Attorney Deborah A. Chmielewski, Esquire.

         At the onset of the hearing, Defendant clarified the issues raised by her motion to suppress. Specifically, Defendant challenges whether the officer has sufficient reasonable, articulable suspicion to request Defendant submit to field sobriety tests, whether there was sufficient probable cause to arrest defendant, and whether the State violated Defendant's federal and state rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 348 U.S. 436 (1966).and its progeny. The court heard the testimony of Benjamin Noyes and observed Defendant's Motion Exhibit 3, a recording of the traffic stop created by the officer's WatchGuard recording system.[1]Additionally the court reviewed Defendant's Motion Exhibits 1 and 2 as well. Following the hearing, the court took the matter under advisement. Having now considered all of the evidence and arguments presented, the court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law upon which the order set forth below is based:

         Benjamin Noyes is employed by the City of Portland as a patrol sergeant with the Portland Police Department He has been with the Portland Police Department for twenty-one (21) years.

         On September 22, 2018, Sgt. Noyes was working the 4:00 pm to 2:00 am shift. He was on routine patrol in the downtown area, in a marked cruiser equipped with the WatchGuard recording system. He was in full uniform. At approximately 11: 00 p.m. Sgt. Noyes was traveling south on Union Street towards the area known as the "Old Port" area of downtown Portland. Sgt. Noyes observed a Jeep make an illegal U-turn against a red light at the intersection of Fore Street and Union Street. Sgt. Noyes waited as the traffic light cycled, and when the officer had a green light, he turned to follow the Jeep. Initially, there were two to three vehicles between Sgt. Parker's cruiser and the Jeep. As Sgt. Noyes continued to follow the Jeep, the vehicles between his cruiser and the Jeep turned off allowing Sgt. Noyes to travel directly behind the Jeep. Sgt. Noyes observed the Jeep turn onto Silver Street without using its directional light. Sgt. Noyes continued to follow the Jeep onto Silver Street. At the intersection of Silver and Commercial streets, the Jeep turned without coming to a complete stop at the stop sign. After observing the vehicle failing to stop for the stop sign, Sgt. Noyes activated his emergency lights and initiated a traffic stop. The Jeep pulled to the side of Commercial Street and stopped without incident. (See Defendant's Motion Exhibit 3 at 00:00 to 00:45.)

         Sgt. Noyes approached the driver's side door of the vehicle and asked the driver to produce her license, registration and insurance card. In addition to the driver, Sgt. Noyes observed a female passenger in the front passenger seat. While waiting for the driver to produce the requested paperwork, Sgt. Noyes asked the driver where she was coming from. The passenger attempted to answer for the driver, stating "she's just picking me up, I'm drunk.". Sgt. Noyes again asked the driver where she was coming from and again the passenger attempted to answer. The passenger was told to allow the driver to answer. Sgt. Noyes again requested the paperwork from the driver. The driver attempted to hand Sgt. Noyes some paperwork in a envelop and asked if "that was it" referring to the requested paperwork. Sgt. Noyes instructed the driver to remove the item from the envelop. The driver then handed Sgt. Noyes her driver's license and insurance paperwork.

         Sgt. Noyes identified the driver as Samantha Carey from her Maine State driver's license. Sgt. Noyes again asked where Ms. Carey was coming from, to which she answered "here." Sgt. Noyes asked Ms. Carey how much she had had to drink, to which she responded, "nothing." Ms. Carey thenpffered "I came from work." Sgt. Noyes inquired where she worked, and Ms. Carey stated "Maine Med." Sgt. Noyes again requested the registration paperwork. As Ms. Carey continued looking for the registration, Sgt. Noyes inquired where she were going. Ms. Carey stated Old Orchard Beach. At this point Ms. Carey can be heard stating "apparently" she could not find the registration. He then asked what time Ms. Carey got out of work, to which she said 7:00 pm. Sgt. Noyes then asked Ms. Carey where she went after work. Ms. Carey again answered, "here." She then informed Sgt. Noyes that she worked 7 to 7 shift, and noted that she needed to be back in the following day. Sgt. Noyes asked a third time where Ms. Carey had been after work, and again she answered "here." Her passenger then stated "the Old Port." At this point Sgt. Noyes asked Ms. Carey how much she had had to drink, and again she stated "nothing."

         In looking for her registration, Ms. Carey initially provided Sgt. Noyes with a yellow sales receipt. Although the registration paperwork was at the top of the papers in Ms. Carey's hand, she filed through the paperwork a three times before she located the registration paper. After a few minutes looking, Ms. Noyes was eventually handed her registration to Sgt. Noyes. Sgt. Noyes then informed Ms. Carey of the traffic infractions that he observed.[2] Ms. Carey offered that she was not familiar with the area. Again Sgt. Noyes asked how much Ms. Carey had had to drink, and she answered "I haven't." The officer noted that Ms. Carey was wearing a wrist band from a local brewery and asked her about it.

         During this initial contact with Ms. Carey, Sgt. Noyes noted the odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle.[3] He also noted that Ms. Carey's eyes were bloodshot and glassy, her pupils were dilated, and there was a slight slur in her speech. Sgt. Carey then returned to his cruiser. Sgt. Noyes had been with Ms. Carey for approximately four (4) minutes as this point. (See Defendant's Motion Exhibit 3, at 1:00 to 04:45.)

         The officer then returned to his cruiser. Approximately three minutes later, Sgt. Noyes, returned to Ms. Carey's window and asked her to step out of her vehicle. By this point a second officer had arrived (per department policy) to backup Sgt. Noyes who was going to conduct field sobriety tests. When Sgt. Noyes asked Ms. Carey to step out of the vehicle, both Ms. Carey and her passenger became excited, stating that she wanted to talk to her lawyer. Sgt. Noyes opened the driver's side door and said come out here. Sgt. Noyes continued to ask Ms. Carey to step out of the vehicle. The passenger began arguing with the officer, asserting that Ms. Carey had a right not to step out and to have a lawyer. Sgt. Noyes warned the passenger about obstructing the investigation, and again asked Ms. Carey to step out of the vehicle. He then stated, "One way or another you have to come out of the car." At this point Ms. Carey then said that she wanted to call her father, and she reached into the center console of her vehicle. Sgt. Noyes, who did not initially know what Ms. Carey was reaching for, grabbed her arm and asked her again to step out of the vehicle. Realizing the Ms. Carey had grabbed her phone, Sgt. Noyes took her phone out of her hand and set it on her dash board. Ms. Carey said "I'm calling my dad." The passenger continued to speak loudly. Sgt. Noyes instructed that the passenger could call the father while Ms. Carey stepped out of the car. At this point Ms. Carey said "I will." Sgt. Noyes released her arm, Ms. Carey stepped out of the vehicle and went to the back of the vehicle. (Defendant's Motion Exhibit 1, at 7:45 to 9:20.)

         Once at the back of the vehicle, the officer began instructing that Ms. Carey had two choices, that she could do field sobriety tests, whereupon, and before Sgt. Noyes indicated what the second choice might be, Ms. Carey stated "I will, I've done it before, its fine." Sgt. Noyes informed Ms. Carey that he was going to conduct field sobriety tests to determine whether or not Ms. Carey was sober enough to drive home.

         Prior to beginning the field sobriety tests, Sgt. Noyes asked Ms. Carey if she has smoked any marijuana or was taking any medications, to which she replied no. Sgt. Noyes then asked if Ms. Carey had any injuries that would affect her ability to drive a car ...


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