Random Legal Stuff

In reviewing the opinions released this morning by the Fort Worth Court of Appeals, I saw one (pdf file) which involved the reversal of a DWI case. It wasn't particularly significant in that it reaffirmed the well settled proposition that a stop of a vehicle cannot be justified based solely upon an anonymous tip. Bottom line: The court held that there was not a reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle, therefore the stop was illegal, so any evidence found as a result of the illegal stop (DWI evidence) was suppressed. But get this obscure fact that didn't play any role in the court's decision: When the officer went back and viewed his videotape after the arrest, he saw that the Defendant had failed to stop at at a stop sign. He simply hadn't notice it before he stopped the vehicle based upon the anonymous tip. If he had seen it, the stop of the vehicle would have been justified because he had observed a criminal violation. Either we've got an honest cop (since he could have simply put in his report that "I observed the defendant fail to come to a complete stop at a stop sign" and no one would have questioned him because the video would back him up) or the report had already been completed by the time he viewed the video (which, amazingly, some "big city" police departments have the officers dictate the reports over the phone immediately after an arrest.)