TN Roadblock – No Good

Tennessee – State Appeals Court Throws Out DUI Conviction From
Roadblock

July 2, 2004

CHATTANOOGA (AP) — A state appeals court says that when Dennis James
Varner pulled up at a checkpoint with an open beer, smelling like alcohol
and slurred speech, it was Hamilton County officers who made a
mistake.

The Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that Hamilton County Sheriff’s
Department officers did not set up the road block primarily to catch
drunken drivers so Varner’s conviction stemmed from an unconstitutional
search.

The appeals court in throwing out the conviction and dismissing the
charge Monday said it was significant that officers had no equipment to
test blood alcohol content.

The judges also took exception to the presence of a drug dog.

Varner’s attorney, Jerry Summers of Chattanooga, says abuses of
checkpoints by law enforcement agencies are not uncommon.

Summers says they say they are doing one thing but are using
subterfuge to determine other types of activity.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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