FROM MADISON CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE WILLIAM G. CLOUSE, JR.,
JUDGE ACTION NO. 15-CR-00529
FOR APPELLANT: Kathleen K. Schmidt Department of Public
Advocacy John Gerhart Landon Assistant Public Advocate
FOR APPELLEE: Andy Beshear Attorney General of Kentucky
Frankfort, Kentucky Megan Kleinline Assistant Attorney
General Frankfort, Kentucky.
BEFORE: KRAMER, CHIEF JUDGE; D. LAMBERT AND NICKELL, JUDGES.
LAMBERT, D., JUDGE.
Johnson, who stands convicted by virtue of a conditional
guilty plea, brings this appeal of a denial of a suppression
motion entered by the Madison Circuit Court. He asks us to
review the propriety of the detention following the traffic
stop leading to his arrest. Having reviewed the record and
finding no error, we affirm.
I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Erik Stallworth staked out a Richmond bar, the "Paddy
Wagon, " watching for criminal activity. He observed a
vehicle for several minutes, during which time an individual
exited the passenger side and walked away while the driver
remained. Stallworth followed the car as it left. After
having observed the suspicious vehicle make two turns without
signaling, Stallworth activated his light bar, in an attempt
to pull it over. Only after Stallworth "chirped"
his siren, did the vehicle eventually pull over. Johnson was
its only occupant.
noticed Johnson's bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, and
nervous demeanor, testifying in a suppression hearing that
those facts led him to believe Johnson may be under the
influence. Stallworth observed Johnson repeatedly stick his
hands into his pockets. Johnson also failed to provide his
registration and insurance information, and refused to open
the vehicle's glove compartment to look for them.
asked Johnson to step out of the vehicle for a sobriety test.
Johnson initially refused to exit the vehicle, but upon
Stallworth opening the door and asking again, he complied.
Stallworth testified that Johnson was still reaching into his
pockets, and, for officer safety, he briefly handcuffed
Johnson to pat him down for weapons. The search having
yielded no weapons, Stallworth removed the handcuffs and
proceeded with the field sobriety tests.
Stallworth directed Johnson to perform several of the most
commonly-used testing methods, and concluded that each
indicated Johnson to be intoxicated. During the horizontal
line nystagmus test, Johnson exhibited a lack of smooth
pursuit, and two of the six indicators of intoxication.
Johnson swayed while performing the one-leg-stand test.
Johnson also lost his balance during the walk-and-turn test,
and stepped off the line. At that point, Stallworth informed
Johnson that he would be placed under arrest for suspected
DUI, and Stallworth called for a K-9 unit to assist in
searching the vehicle.
unit arrived as Stallworth was still in the process of
arresting Johnson. Goku, the drug dog, indicated the presence
of controlled substances in the rear of the vehicle, and a
search of the rear bumper revealed methamphetamine and
heroin. A search of Stallworth's person revealed $3, 455
jury indicted Johnson on drug charges. He moved to suppress
the products of the search, arguing that Stallworth had
impermissibly extended the traffic stop without probable
cause or a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The
trial court conducted a hearing on the motion and denied it.
entered a conditional guilty plea, reserving his right to
this appeal. He stands convicted of two counts of trafficking
in controlled substances in the first degree, and one count
of DUI. Johnson received two concurrent five year sentences
on the felonies, and a ...