The Fair DUI Flyer has made it into the courts. We tested a checkpoint in Coral Gables, Florida (just outside Miami). You can watch a pretty good version of the events in the video below:
That incident led to a traffic court case and a federal court case. Documents from both cases are below.
At the end of the checkpoint encounter, Sgt. Escobar “unarrested” Warren and gave him a ticket for “failure to exhibit license.” They claim that § 322.15 of the Florida Statutes requires a driver to physically hand over the license. WE contend that it only requires drivers to show the license. And more important, that since this was a sobriety checkpoint, there was no need for the license at all.
On the first court date, the traffic hearing officer listened to argument from both sides and then dismissed the ticket. It is a matter of routine in Miami for them to dismiss a § 322.15 ticket if the driver has a valid license.
The City of Coral Gables then made a motion for a new hearing. Despite Warren’s objections, a new trial was held. We’re not posting those motion papers here at this time, but if someone wants a copy just let us know. We have them.
The trial was held on January 13, 2016. The transcript is below. It’s long – 126 pages.
At the end of the case (at page 124) the judge revealed his bias:
So in this particular case, what I think — you think you’re protecting and upholding some wonderful constitutional principle. I think in many ways you are endangering this society because in many ways by the actions you take in this case a whole bunch of cars and maybe some impaired drivers went right by there and could have killed someone that evening because you were trying to prove some bizarre point.
There you have it folks. The Fourth Amendment is “some bizarre point” and fighting for it endangers society.
Warren has filed his appeal. Below is the brief.
One of the interesting details from the trial is captured in video below. Sgt. Escobar repeatedly claimed the he needed to hold the license in his hand to check for a hologram. Enjoy:
That lie may be important both on the appeal and in the federal court case.
Next comes the opposition brief from the attorneys representing the city. They filed it on April 29, 2016. Among other highlights, on page 10 they accuse us of “literalism” because we think the words in the Florida Constitution actually mean what they say, and on page 11 they argue that the court is not a court.
We responded to that with our fairly short reply brief on May 12, 2016:
It is possible that the city will file one more brief. After that we will wait for the appeals court to make a decision.
On January 1, 2016, Warren filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The Complaint is below:
After some correspondence with the Florida Attorney General, Warren agreed to withdraw the claims against the county prosecutor. The case is now against only the City of Coral Gables, some of its police officers, the city attorney, and an outside law firm hired by the city that advised the police and purported to act as prosecutors in the traffic court case.
The city made a motion to dismiss. Papers from that motion are below. The motion is scheduled for a hearing on the morning of April 20, 2016.
Motion to dismiss:
The City’s reply:
The city also moved for “Rule 11” sanctions. Those motion papers are below:
Exhibit from that opposition – The Berman memo:
And the City’s reply:
The attorneys appeared in front of Magistrate Judge John J. O’Sullivan on April 20, 2016. The transcript of that is below:
And on Friday May 20th the Magistrate issued his Report and Recommendations on the motion to dismiss. It’s not pretty. In our opinion he ignored the central issue raised – whether the checkpoint failed to strictly comply with the guidelines as required by the Florida Supreme Court case Campbell v. State.