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Dyngus Day Delight, by Cindy Schreiner

Conviction overturned in Steuben County DWI case

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The reversal was based on an interesting technicality

The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court has reversed a man’s conviction in Steuben County Court. An attorney for Joshua L. Reedy challenged a June 2021 conviction for felony DWI.

“It is hereby ORDERED that the judgment so appealed from is unanimously reversed on the law, the plea is vacated, those parts of the omnibus motion seeking to suppress physical evidence and statements are granted, the indictment is dismissed, and the matter is remitted to Steuben County Court for proceedings pursuant to CPL 470.45.”

The two-page decision continued: “Specifically, defendant contends that the stop of defendant’s vehicle was unlawful because the evidence before the suppression court is insufficient to establish that the arresting police officer had probable cause to believe that defendant had committed a traffic violation. At the suppression hearing, the officer testified that he stopped the vehicle after he visually estimated defendant’s speed at 82 miles per hour in a 65 mph zone, and there was no testimony that the officer used a radar gun to establish defendant’s speed. While it is well-settled that a qualified police officer’s testimony that he or she visually estimated the speed of a defendant’s vehicle may be sufficient to establish that a defendant exceeded the speed limit, here, the People failed to establish the officer’s training and qualifications to support the officer’s visual estimate of the speed of defendant’s vehicle. Thus, inasmuch as the People failed to meet their burden of showing the legality of the police conduct in stopping defendant’s vehicle in the first instance, we conclude that the court erred in refusing to suppress the physical evidence and defendant’s statements obtained as a result of the traffic stop. Because our determination results in the suppression of all evidence supporting the crime charged, the indictment must be dismissed.”

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