Dallas Court of Appeals Case of the Day- Deeds vs. State

Today’s case of the day is….

State of Texas vs. James Ray Deeds-
Facts- Balch Springs officer Palfreyman was working late one night when a motorist flagged the officer down. The motorist was concerned about a possible DWI driver in a red pickup.

What facts did the concerned citizen tell the officer to justify his DWI concern? Let’s ask the officer-

I don’t recall the exact statement, but led me to believe that, based on the driving patterns that he had witnessed, that he believed the driver of the pickup truck to be intoxicated.

Nothing. The officer can’t remember and didn’t bother to record anything. Who needs facts? This is DWI enforcement. Based on this rock solid investigation the officer spots a red pickup and immediately pulls the car over.

Problem- The red pickup had committed no traffic violation. The officer had no articulable facts or evidence that this driver was DWI. The defendant filed a motion to suppress the illegal arrest.
Holding- This is a DWI case so conviction affirmed. The court found plenty of “evidence” of DWI, enough to justify detaining this driver.

From the opinion-

The record shows that after receiving the informant’s report, Palfreyman witnessed appellant “weave back and forth” within his traffic lane. That weaving “gave a small additional measure of corroboration” to the informant’s report. See State v. Nelson, 228 S.W.3d 899, 904 (Tex. App.-Austin 2007, no pet.)…

How exactly do you corroborate a report that contains NO FACTS? Weaving in a lane is not illegal in Texas. You probably weaved in your lane on the way to work. Were you drunk? Should you have been pulled over if some random citizen told the police to arrest you?

Don’t Drive After 11PM

Think weaving in a lane is a stretch? The court also rules that driving late at night can be used against you. From the opinion-

Finally, Palfreyman testified the likelihood of encountering an intoxicated driver on the roadway is generally highest between the hours of 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. The record shows the events at issue occurred at approximately 2 a.m

Statistical profiling is a poor substitute for real police work. It’s a logical fallacy disguised as law enforcement.

If more drunk drivers are out late at night, that doesn’t mean any individual late night driver is drunk. Why don’t we just run credit scores to establish probable cause?

We’ve replaced the right to not be detained without cause, with the right to be arbitrarily stopped by law enforcement after 11pm. Another sacrifice of freedom at the idol of DWI enforcement. But who cares about DWI defendants?


2 responses to “Dallas Court of Appeals Case of the Day- Deeds vs. State”

  1. don foard says:

    You, being familiar with Lubbock can relate. I got stopped coming back from Tahoka, while passing the strip. I was speeding 5 miles over the limit. But it was late at night. I am a recovering alcoholic, who hasn’t had a sniff of alcohol in 22 years. Cop wanted to know “how much” I had had to drink, and I related that to him. He ran a warrant check, came up empty, and came back and repeated his question. Same answer. After asking me three times and getting the same answer, wanted to do the hop skip and jump nonsense. No thanks. Started shining the light For the HGN, which I went along with for a minute. Then I got tired, and told him we were bordering on harassment here, and could he please tell me what it was that so convinced him I was drunk. He said it’s late at night and you are at the strip. I had pissed him off but he finally gave me a warning. He wasted a lot of valuable police time for a frickin’ warning, not too mention my time. NO PC at all, just the statistical profiling that you are talking about.

  2. Robert Guest says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your experience. To expose this practice we will need a better term for profiling late night drivers. Statistical profiling isn’t sexy and won’t catch on.

    Any ideas?

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