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State v Conner – A13A0371 – Georgia DUI Roadblocks – No Cones – No Signs – No problem

THE STATE v. CONNER, A13A0371, Court of Appeals of Georgia, July 3, 2013. On Appeal by the State after the granting of a motion to suppress an illegal, unconstitutional roadblock, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court ruling by the Cobb County Trial Court finding that the roadblock at issue was not well identified. At the hearing in the Marietta Georgia Cobb County State Court building, Officers testified that they conducted a roadblock without signs or cones and with only police cars with flashing lights, reflective vests, and flashlights. An officer testified that he did not believe that a motorist could tell if the roadblock was an accident scene or a police roadblock under the circumstances.

The appeal hinged on the “clearly identified as a police safety checkpoint” factor of the LaFountaine test set out previously by the Georgia Court of appeals. The Court found that “clearly identified” is not the subjective perception of a hypothetical motorist as testified to by a police officer on the scene but the objective determination of legal criteria as determined by the Appellate court from the court record. Reflective vests, flashlights, and flashing police lights are enough objective factors to be “clearly identified” for the LaFontaine framework. The lack of cones, roadblock signs, and subjective perceptions of police officers’ scenes do not affect the “clearly identified” test.