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State v. Zimmerman

Supreme Court of Montana

April 17, 2018

STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
v.
DAVID MICHAEL ZIMMERMAN, Defendant and Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: January 24, 2018

          District Court of the First Judicial District, In and For the County of Lewis and Clark, Cause No. DDC-2015-211 Honorable James P. Reynolds, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Greg Beebe, Beebe Law Firm, Helena, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Madison L. Mattioli, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana

          Leo J. Gallagher, Lewis and Clark County Attorney, Jeff Sealey, Deputy County Attorney, Helena, Montana

          OPINION

          James Jeremiah Shea, Justice.

         ¶1 Defendant David Michael Zimmerman ("Zimmerman") appeals the denials of his motion to suppress and motion in limine and the grant of the State's motion in limine by the First Judicial District Court, Lewis and Clark County. We address:

Issue One: Whether the District Court erred by denying Zimmerman's motion to suppress the standard field sobriety test results on the basis that the arresting officer lacked particularized suspicion to administer them.
Issue Two: Whether the District Court erred by granting the State's motion in limine to preclude Zimmerman from introducing or referencing the arresting officer's previous police reports for purposes of impeachment.
Issue Three: Whether the District Court erred by allowing evidence of Zimmerman's prior DUIs to establish the offense of Aggravated DUI.

         ¶2 We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this Opinion.

         PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         ¶3 At approximately 10:00 p.m. on June 16, 2015, while traveling northbound on North Montana Avenue in Helena, Montana, Highway Patrol Trooper Jeremy Lee ("Lee") clocked Zimmerman traveling southbound at 60 miles-per-hour where the speed limit changes from 50 to 35 miles per hour. Lee made a U-turn and stopped Zimmerman for speeding. Once Lee observed several indicators of intoxication after asking for Zimmerman's license, registration, and proof of insurance, the traffic stop ripened into a DUI investigation. Lee's report and testimony stated: Zimmerman's breath smelled of alcohol; his eyes were "pie-eyed, " bloodshot, and watery; his movement was slow and labored; and his speech was slurred. Lee asked Zimmerman to perform standardized field sobriety tests, which Lee concluded indicated that Zimmerman was intoxicated. Lee cited Zimmerman for speeding and arrested him on suspicion of DUI. Zimmerman refused a preliminary breath test at the scene, but he later consented to a blood test. The blood test indicated Zimmerman had a 0.088 blood alcohol content ("BAC").

         ¶4 On June 17, 2015, the State charged Zimmerman with DUI, fourth or subsequent offense, in violation of § 61-8-401(1)(a), MCA. On June 16, 2016, the State filed a Second Amended Information, charging Zimmerman with: Count I-Aggravated DUI, a felony, in violation of § 61-8-465(1)(e), MCA; or, in the alternative, Count II-Aggravated DUI per se (0.08 or higher BAC), a felony, in violation of § 61-8-465(1)(e), MCA.

         ¶5 On November 17, 2015, Zimmerman moved for discovery of Lee's other police reports, and the District Court ordered the State to make available Lee's reports that involved DUI arrests and investigations for six months before and six months after Zimmerman's June 15, 2015 arrest.

         ¶6 On December 23, 2015, Zimmerman filed a motion to suppress field sobriety tests based on newly discovered evidence in twenty-nine DUI reports generated by Lee between January 18, 2015, and December 5, 2015. Zimmerman argued that Lee's reports, which provided the basis for particularized suspicion for all his DUI investigations, contained nearly identical language, including the same typographical errors. Zimmerman asserted these indistinguishable reports called into question whether Lee made accurate ...


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