The Campaign For DA

10.23.2015

I Love Legal Stuff: New Court Opinion Out Of Fort Worth

The facts are pretty simple. An officer is patrolling downtown Fort Worth and pulls up to a car where there was a passed out (asleep?) girl in the passenger seat. How many times has that ever happened in Sundance Square?  Here are the facts . . .



The officer stopped the car but there was not a traffic violation and there was no illegal conduct to justify the stop.  The officer thought she needed his help because of "alcohol poisoning". Really? Ultimately, she didn't need his help at all. But once he stopped the vehicle, he "simultaneously" conducted a DWI investigation on the driver and arrested him.

The Fort Worth Appeals Court correctly decided that the officer, uh, you can't stop a vehicle for that.

But here is the official position of the Texas District and County Attorney's Association:


So police should have the right to stop any vehicle where the passenger is asleep and the driver doesn't respond to an officer when the driver has absolutely no obligation to respond?

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good stop to me.

Anonymous said...

TDCAA is closer to right than you are. If the officer really has concerns, he absolutely can stop the car and investigate -- there just may not be a sustainable conviction from any arrest that arises from the stop. Where the only penalty for an illegal stop is evidence suppression, then there is no disincentive to making such a stop -- the officer can ignore the situation and not make an arrest but also not possibly help someone in need, or the officer can make the stop, possibly help someone, and maybe make an arrest that might not stick.

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear...you're going to be there for the next "passed out" young female in a car with the smell of booze coming from it and a dude who ignores a cop and drives away....after the report comes in that she's missing or assaulted? You good with that? Then, yeah, cops should NEVER be allowed to act on the gut instincts they've developed to spot people that might be in trouble.

Anonymous said...

It is possible that something had happened to the female passenger. If I were the officer, I might stop the male driver to ensure that no crime had been committed and to check on the females welfare. I don't think it was an illegal stop and in fact think he was doing his duty by stopping the vehicle.

Anonymous said...

I think 1:13 nailed it. I have very little problem with the arrest not sticking. But I don't think that means the cop did the wrong thing.

As a society, we violate "rights" to preserve life all the time. And while that's a slippery slope, I'd be concerned if a cop was not making the potential preservation of life a priority.

Anonymous said...

My wife used to slump over passed out in the passenger seat. I would make her lay down on the backseat so that I wouldn't get pulled over.

Anonymous said...

Let'er die I say.

DF No body's lives matter group

Anonymous said...

I'm not believing the above posts.

The cop had no legal reason to make the stop.

The cop did not know she was passed out and in fact, it was never proven she was passed out.

The individual was not alone.

The cop smelled alcohol from 10 feet away from an open window, but didn't smell puke.

There is no law against riding in a car after drinking.

Move to Russia, you'll love it there.

Anonymous said...


Typical Law BS and typical Lawyer that defends it.

Never mind the guy was driving drunk.

I guess if more peoples children die because of drunks driving -
It becomes a moot point to defend the -"the police don't have a right to stop people unless probable cause can be proved".

Maybe the letter of the law becomes less important than the intent of the law to protect innocent citizens.

Oh, but that world is being overshadowed by the left..right?

Anonymous said...

Gut instincts......is that what cops develop by eating too many What-a-burgers?

Anonymous said...

One judge wrote a dissenting opinion.....so you're telling me there's a chance.

YEAH!!!

Double Fake Lloyd Christmas, Tarrant Co. Asst. DA

Anonymous said...

Yes, I somebody who was arrested for DWI...he was sitting in his car with the key in it..he was passed out drunk at the convenience store when a cop found him...legal

Anonymous said...

The TDCAA is run by incompetent morons.

Anonymous said...

1:13 and 2:23 hit the nail on the head.
The officer performed a community caretaking role. During the course of it, he made a DWI arrest that didn't stick, but he checked on the girl.

As a cop who really likes making DWI arrests, I'm good with that.
The guy beat the rap, but didn't beat the ride, and I see no evidence that the officer was willfully and intentionally abusing his authority.

I'm pretty libertarian, though, so this is an unusually statist opinion for me.

Anonymous said...

Fine. Let all suspicious, drunken looking driving activity go unchecked. But please, YOU be the one that tells the family that their 2 year old, while watching a parade, was killed...and you are delighted that earlier that day a cop simply had to let the guy go in order to be free to kill babies.

Anonymous said...

Hello ...... Nazi Cops