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Waldron v. State – Search and Seizure – DUI – Closed Business

On April 5th, 2013, the Court of Appeals affirmed the DeKalb County State Court’s denial of the Defendant’s Motion to Suppress in Walden v. State A13A0116, holding that the Police  Officer had a reasonable suspicion to stop the Defendant’s vehicle. The Police Officer responded to a burglary in progress after a real estate agent found several air conditioning units stacked by the door of a commercial building.  The hour was late, the businesses were closed, and there was no reason for anyone to be driving in the area.  The Defendant driver continued down a 45-yard driveway although there were multiple places to turn around in a pick-up truck a vehicle capable of carrying air conditioning units.  Finally, when the driver saw the police car, he quickly retreated. Taken as a totality of the circumstances, there existed a reasonable articulable suspicion for an investigatory stop.

This case stands in contrast to the long line of cases where both the Supreme Court of Georgia and this Court have held that an officer does not have reasonable, articulable suspicion to stop an individual who is driving near or parking near a location where crimes have been committed] See, e.g., Hughes, 269 Ga. at 261(1), 497 S.E.2d 790; Young v. State, 285 Ga.App. 214, 215-216, 645 S.E.2d 690 (2007); Lyttle v. State, 279 Ga.App. 659, 661-662, 632 S.E.2d 394 (2006); Baker v. State, 256 Ga.App. 75, 79(1), 567 S.E.2d 738 (2002); Howden v. State, 240 Ga.App. 139, 140, 522 S.E.2d 279 (1999); Attaway, 236 Ga.App. at 309, 511 S.E.2d 635. The key difference seems to be the burglary in progress.

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