Monday, March 1, 2021

Minneapolis DWI Lawyer F. T. Sessoms Blogs on Minnesota DWI: This Week's Featured Minnesota DWI Case

 The Minnesota DWI Case Of The Week is State v. Urratia, (Decided March 1, 2021, Minnesota Court of Appeals, Unpublished) which stands for the proposition that some appeals are just a big waste of time.

In Urratia, the Defendant was arrested and convicted of DWI. On appeal, he argued the district court committed reversible error when it failed to suppress the evidence of his crime as the arresting officer used excessive force in making the arrest.

In February 2019, a Beltrami County Deputy Sheriff was patrolling a rural area late at one night when he observed a car with a loud exhaust passing him in the opposite direction. The deputy turned his squad car around, intending to initiate a traffic stop. But the loud car stopped in the middle of the road, backed up, and pulled into a driveway. The deputy positioned his squad car in the driveway behind it.

The deputy began approaching on foot and the driver then suddenly left the car. The deputy—alone and surprised—drew his handgun and ordered the driver to the ground. He holstered his gun when he was satisfied that the driver, Jesse Urrutia, was unarmed.

During oral argument on appeal, "his counsel explained that Urrutia is challenging the level of force the sergeant used, but he does not assert that the deputy’s conduct constituted a de facto, unconstitutional arrest." 

(Why Not?)

The Court of Appeals rejected the Defendant's claim noting that the exclusionary rule applies to 4th Amendment violations not excessive force claims:

"As one federal court accurately put it, “[T]here has been no appellate decision holding that the exclusionary rule can serve as a remedy for excessive force collateral to a search or seizure.” United States v. Collins, 714 F.3d 540, 544 (7th Cir. 2013). Urrutia has cited no Minnesota or federal case holding that a seizure that is unconstitutionally excessive in force precipitates the suppression of evidence collected during the seizure and unrelated to the force. It is unlikely that such a case exists, since the exclusionary rule generally justifies suppression of evidence discovered or collected because of a Fourth Amendment violation, United States v. Calandra, 414 U.S. 338, 347, 94 S. Ct. 613, 619 (1974), not evidence that is collected with no causal relation to an alleged Fourth Amendment violation. We doubt that the sergeant’s conduct here was excessive under the circumstances of Urrutia’s suspicious behavior in the secluded driveway, but because the appeal would fail anyway, we need not consider the assertion."

I do not understand why appellate counsel did not raise the claim of an unconstitutional arrest.  In State v. Carver, 577 N.W.2d 245 (Minn.App. 1998) the Minnesota Court of Appeals held the Defendant was illegally arrested for DWI where he was ordered to the ground and handcuffed before the police developed probable cause.  

At least the Defendant in this case would have had an argument.

Moral Of The Story:  The exclusionary rule does not apply to everything.

If you or a loved one have been charged with a Minnesota DWI, feel free to contact Minneapolis DWI Lawyer, F. T. Sessoms at (612) 344-1505 for answers to all of your Minnesota DWI and DUI questions.

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