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Shelly v. State, A11AQ2172, November 14, 2011: Douglas County Roadblock valid when approved by Chief Deputy

Shelly v. State, A11AQ2172, November 14, 2011: Ronald Shelley was stopped a roadblock in Douglas County. Shelley contested the Roadblock before the Trial Court in Douglasville, Georgia on the basis that the roadblock was not approved by an authorized supervisor for a legitimate primary purpose.  The Court of Appeals reviewed the case de novo finding the decision of the trial court would stand if there was any evidence to support it except if the decision was clearly erroneous.  The Roadblock was approved by Deputy Chief Stan Copeland who is second in command ot the Douglas County Sheriff.  The purpose of the Roadblock was to check for driver sobriety.  The Court of Appeals found that there was not evidence that the Roadblock constituted a roving patrol of officer exercising unfettered discretion.  The Roadblock was upheld.

The Court of Appeals did not address Shelly’s arguments in their opinion  contained in his motion for reconsideration as follows:

“Although Chief Deputy Stan Copeland testified that he had approved roadblocks for March 27 and March 28, 2010, he did not designate the locations nor the times for these roadblocks.  (MT-7; 8-10-10).  He delegated these functions to four lower ranking supervisors.  (MT-7, 8; 8-10-10).  There was no testimony whatsoever that identified which of these four subordinates approved this particular roadblock.  There was no testimony that this location was approved by any of these four subordinates.  Last, there was no testimony regarding any temporal constraints on this roadblock.”

The question remains other than for the date was there any supervisory approval for the time of the roadblock, the duration of the roadblock or even the location of the roadblock? Apparently not. The extent of approval required by the Court of Appeals appears to be only Date, County and State.

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